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Official signing ceremony
Charge d' Affaires Mac Mclachlan and Minister Tran Xuan Gia officially signed the IPPA in Hanoi on 1 August

On 1 August, 2002, Mac Mclachlan, Charge d' Affaires of the British Embassy and Vietnam's Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Xuan Gia officially signed the bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) in Hanoi. 

The official signing ceremony follows the official visit of Alan Johnson MP, Minister of State at the UK Department of Trade and Industry to Vietnam from 30 June - 2 July, during which he initialled the English text of the agreement.


Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement signed
Alan Johnson MP, Minister of State at the UK Department of Trade and Industry initialled a bilateral investment agreement with MPI Minister Tran Xuan Gia

Alan Johnson MP, Minister of State at the UK Department of Trade and Industry, concluded his first visit to Vietnam on 1 July by initialling a bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) with MPI Minister, Tran Xuan Gia.

The investment agreement between the Government of the UK and the Government of Vietnam is a bilateral treaty designed to encourage investor confidence and investment flows.  Vietnam now becomes the 95th country with which the UK has signed an IPPA. This agreement offers long-term reassurance to businesses from both the UK and Vietnam looking to invest in each others markets, guaranteeing equal treatment to investors.

Following the bp Nam Con Son gas-to-power project the UK has become the largest non-Asian investor in Vietnam. As well as bp, some of the best known businesses in Vietnam are listed on the London Stock Exchange such as Prudential, Unilever, Shell, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Reuters and Tate & Lyle. Other UK investment comes through partnerships such as the international law firm Freshfields.

In 2001, the UK was the world’s largest overseas investor committing £117 billion to international markets.  UK investment in Vietnam continues to grow and this agreement will strengthen the confidence of UK businesses looking to invest in Vietnam in the years to come. 

Commenting on the initialling Minister Johnson said, “MPI Minister Gia came to London in early June and told a packed conference of potential UK investors that their investment would be welcome and well treated in Vietnam. By initialling this agreement today he has put into action what he promised. This agreement will now act as a foundation stone on which future UK businesses can build their investment in Vietnam.”


British Sports Minister meets Vietnam's Prime Minister Phan Van Khai
British Sports Minister Richard Caborn (left) presented Vietnam's Prime Minister Phan Van Khai with a Liverpool signed ball.

On the morning of 10 June, the UK Minister for Sport, the Rt Hon Richard Caborn MP, was delighted to have an audience with H.E. Phan Van Khai, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.  

Mr Caborn congratulated the Prime Minister on Vietnam's development over the past ten years.  He was particularly impressed with Vietnam's plans to host the SEA Games 2003. He said that the UK would continue supporting Vietnam in many fields, especially poverty alleviation, education and trade & investment. 

Mr Caborn gave FA balls and sports clothes to school kids in Hanoi

Mr Caborn used the meeting to thank the Vietnamese people for their support of the English Football Premier League. He presented the Prime Minister with an original Manchester United football shirt signed by all team members as a gift from the British people to the Vietnamese people.

The UK Sports Minister’s visit from 9 – 11 June aims to promote UK expertise in leisure and sports infrastructure development and to explore scope for closer collaboration with Vietnam in the sports sector


HRH The Princess Royal attended the Queen's Golden Jubilee in Hanoi

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, daughter of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, arrived in Vietnam on Saturday 4 May at the beginning of a five-day working visit.  This is her second visit to Vietnam, her first was in 1994. 

In addition to strengthening generally the relationship between the UK and Vietnam, The Princess Royal’s visit will focused on supporting British activities in Vietnam in three areas: business, development and social issues.  Her visit culminated with a celebration in Hanoi to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s 50th year on the throne. 

The Princess Royal met Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem and visited a number of charity institutions which are helping the disadvantaged members of the community. She also had a chance to see new and well established British-funded development work in the central province of Ha Tinh where DFID have been working for five years with a number of non-governmental organisations, including Save the Children – UK, to provide some of the poorest households with the means to work their way our of poverty.

On the eve of the visit, British Ambassador to Vietnam, Warwick Morris commented: “We are delighted that The Princess Royal is coming to Vietnam in Her Majesty the Queen’s Golden Jubilee year.  It is an historic year for our Royal family and to have a senior member here with us to celebrate will be a great honour.  I am pleased that The Princess Royal has chosen to return to Vietnam eight years after her first visit.  I am sure she will be impressed with the progress the Vietnamese Government and people have been making, in partnership with others, especially in alleviating poverty and raising living standards. This visit will be another important step forward in the increasingly strong relationship between Britain and Vietnam.”


WTO seminar: (left to right) Lord Mayor of the City of London Mr Michael Oliver, Vietnam's Vice Finance Minister Le Thi Bang Tam and British Ambassador to Vietnam Warwick Morris

The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Mr Michael Oliver, ending a three-day visit to Hanoi (22-24 April), announced that he will offer a scholarship for one Vietnamese to do post graduate study in the financial services sector in the UK in 2003. During his visit, the Lord Mayor and his team met a number of Vietnamese Ministers and top-level banking and financial officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Finance Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung, Governor of the State Bank Le Duc Thuy and Vice Minister of Planning and Investment  Lai Quang Thuc.  The Lord Mayor, Lady Mayoress and party were also received by Mr Hoang Van Nghien, Chairman of Hanoi People’s Committee. 

The Lord Mayor also helped to launch the introduction of International Financial Services examinations, to be handled by Apollo Education and Training, and spoke at British Embassy workshops on Fund Management and on WTO Financial Services. These are all aimed at heightening Vietnam’s understanding of capital markets and supporting Vietnam’s bid to join the WTO. 

``It was wonderful to meet with so many Vietnamese during my three days in Hanoi,’’  said the Lord Mayor, Michael Oliver. ``I will definitely be taking the message back to the City of London that Vietnam is a country that is developing at speed. I was particularly pleased to be able to offer a Mansion House scholarship for a Vietnamese to study in the UK next year. Stronger education links and an increased understanding of each others countries lies at the heart of the future UK/Vietnam relationship.’’


British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott signed the agreement on the British Council's status in Vietnam (left DPM John Prescott, right Vietnam's Education Minister Nguyen Minh Hien)

In December 2001, The British Deputy Prime Minister, the Rt Hon John Prescott paid a landmark visit, the highest ever from the UK to Vietnam.

The Deputy PM met a range of senior Vietnamese officials including Communist Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Manh Cam and the Minister for Science, Technology and the Environment Chu Tuan Nha.

Two important agreements were signed during the visit. The first, which the Deputy Prime Minister signed with the Minister for Education and Training Nguyen Minh Hien, guarantees the status and operations of the British Council in Vietnam. The second, signed with Vice Minister of Planning and Investment Vo Hong Phuc is a commitment by the UK Department for International Development to provide a £7.5 million (US$11 million) grant contribution to a World Bank-led poverty alleviation project in six provinces in the northern mountains.

The Deputy Minister also encouraged the Vietnamese Government to work with the UK in order to make the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) a success. The WSSD will be held in Johannesburg in September 2002.

The Deputy PM's visit highlighted the continued and growing warmth in the UK/Vietnam relationship and brought a busy productive year for ``UK in Vietnam" to a close.


The British Embassy, in conjunction with the British Council in Hanoi, announces today the results of a recent public opinion survey in Vietnam entitled Through Other Eyes How the World Thinks of the UK. The poll has been carried out by MORI, one of the most reputable international opinion research institutions, in Vietnam and 13 other countries.

The survey was conducted in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City between January and March 2000. The pollsters interviewed 200 people who might be expected to become future decision makers, aged 23 to 35, with university education or higher, with middle income or above and occupying middle-management position or above.

"We want to develop the relationship between Vietnam and the UK. To do that, we must know how the Vietnamese perceive the UK and the British. That is what the survey is all about", British Ambassador David Fall says in his introductory speech.

The major findings of the public opinion survey are:

  • Image of Britain: most of the participants were aware of the fact that the UK comprises England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. They are more likely to associate England with football, the weather and the Royal family. Scotland is known for kilts, whisky and thrift. The UK is regarded as a traditional, but highly developed country with a stable economy, strong education system, good health service, well-functioning legal system, democratic government and a commitment to the environment. British people are seen as civilised and respectful but also reserved.

  • British education: the British education system is highly regarded among Vietnamese for its high standards and traditions, but thought to be less commercially valuable than the American system.

  • British business is praised for being able to build commercial relationships all over the world. British products and services are highly regarded for their quality, as are British managers and the British workforce. The UK is perceived to be ahead of Germany and France, but behind the US and Japan, in economic dynamism.

  • Science and Technology: British scientists, although acknowledged as responsible for many great scientific break-throughs, were not considered as leading in applied science. A number of important inventions, such as the World Wide Web, the television and Viagra, which in fact originated in Britain, are wrongly attributed to the Americans.

  • British Arts: most Vietnamese polled were knowledgeable about contemporary British pop music, but British arts are thought to have a strong traditional base.

  • British personalities:the Spice Girls and the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, are the most recognised British celebrities, followed by super-model Naomi Campbell. Tony Blair also stands out as a potential role model for almost half of the participants.

Overall, those interviewed had a positive opinion of the UK. "The findings show clearly that we need to modernise our image and demonstrate what we can do", says Jane Owen, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy in Hanoi. "We need to improve people-to-people contacts and work together. We can do this through getting more young Vietnamese to study in the UK, developing better arts and cultural links as well as sharing ideas on how the world should develop", she says.

British Sports Minister shares expertise with VN


Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrated in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal in VN

MORI Survey