Warm welcome for new Ambassador of Vietnam by UK members and peers
On 6 July, BGIPU and the APPG for Vietnam hosted an introductory meeting with the new Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK, HE Mr Nguyen Hoang Long. The meeting was chaired by Wayne David MP, BGIPU Exco Member and Chair of the APPG for Vietnam, who was joined by Sir Mark Hendrick MP, Yvonne Fovargue MP, The Rt Hon Lord Dholakia, Lord Waverley and Lord Vaux of Harrowden.
Wayne David MP opened the meeting, noting the strong links between the UK and Vietnam, and the ongoing dialogue which has been happening regularly since the BGIPU visit to Vietnam in 2018. The Ambassador welcomed the continued exchanges and emphasised the strength and importance of the UK-Vietnam relationship, as one of mutual admiration and respect. Ambassador Long highlighted that with the pandemic starting to come under control in the UK and with Brexit, the relationship between the UK and Vietnam has never been better.
The Ambassador noted that the UK Foreign Secretary, The Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP, had visited Vietnam twice in the last eight months, demonstrating the value of the relationship for both parties. Ambassador Long reaffirmed the position of the UK as not only a best friend to Vietnam, but as a key trading and strategic partner. With the UK looking to tilt towards the Indo-Pacific, the Ambassador noted the potential for UK businesses in Vietnam and with Vietnamese partners. Furthermore, with the new Free Trade Agreement signed last December, the level of trade continues to increase. The Ambassador pointed out to parliamentarians that a key area for collaboration with UK partners was green finance and development, given the UK’s expertise in these areas. Finally, as a strategic partner, Vietnam was grateful for the UK’s support in the South China Sea.
UK Members were extremely engaged on all the issues covered by the Ambassador in his extensive presentation and the mention of the South China sea brought about questions from Members around the Vietnam-China relationship and geopolitical dynamics in the region. The discussion moved on to cover a wide range of areas, including ASEAN, education, business opportunities, COP26 and tourism. Ambassador Long emphasised the importance of the educational connection between the UK and Vietnam with more than 13,000 students currently studying in UK institutions, making it the top international destination for Vietnamese students. UK Members were pleased to hear about the success of so many of the students who, on return, had taken up top positions in companies in Vietnam. In addition to this, UK parliamentarians were pleased to hear about the Vietnamese Government’s pilot programme for reopening the country to fully vaccinated tourists, with the aim of rebuilding the tourism sector which has suffered so much as a result of the global pandemic.
This initial meeting between UK parliamentarians and Ambassador Long was extremely productive and served as a great marker for the relationship to continue to grow. BGIPU would like to thank the Vietnamese Embassy in the UK for its continued support of BGIPU activities and for its help in facilitating this dialogue.