UK-Vietnam fact sheet: Trade and Investment, Educational, Diplomatic

Trade and Investment

UK exports to Vietnam:

Jan-Feb 03: US$18 million (down 7%)
2002: $129 million (down 11.6% from 2002)
2001: $130 million (down 3% from 2000)
2000: $135 million (up 18% from 1999)

Main products: Power generating and industrial machinery and equipment, chemicals, packaging, pharmaceuticals. In addition, some UK products enter Vietnam via Hong Kong, Bangkok or Singapore.

UK imports from Vietnam: Jan-Feb 03: US$136 million (up 5%)

2002: $786 million (up 14% from the same period of 2001)
2001: $610 million (up 11% from 2000)
2000: $565 million (up 26% from 1999)
Major import items include footwear, textiles and apparel, and coffee.

Investment: Vietnamese official figures put UK investment at $1.2 billion. This figure does not take into account BP’s gas-to-power project which, when added, makes the UK the biggest non-Asian investor in Vietnam.

Also, other UK investment comes indirectly via Singapore, Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands.

Business Community: The British Business Group in Vietnam has chapters in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It has more than 200 members. UK businesses in Vietnam participate in many sectors including oil and gas (including lubricants), banking, legal, consultancy, light manufacturing, insurance and the media

Commercial Activities: A number of delegations sponsored by TradepartnersUK visit Vietnam every year. A number of TradePartnerUK funded Vietnamese parties have followed programmes in the UK. Priority sectors include education, energy/oil & gas, construction and financial services.

Further information on TradepartnersUK can be found on

Development Cooperation

The Department for International Development (DFID) Vietnam Programme Support Office was established in April 1999. DFID supports the efforts of the Vietnamese Government (VNG) to eliminate poverty, usually in partnership with other donors so that the impact of resources can be maximised and transaction costs reduced.

In 2002, DFID provided approximately US$30 million of assistance to Vietnam. This is due to increase to US$43.5 million by 2005. All of DFID’s assistance to Vietnam is grant aid. On-going projects include: support to rural development focusing on the development of rural roads and rural water supplies and sanitation; support for poverty alleviation in Ha Tinh Province; capacity building for improving the quality of English language teaching; a programme to provide quality poverty analysis and poverty advice to the VNG and other donors; work to improve harmonisation of donor procedures; support for the Public Expenditure Review (PER); and support to the World Bank Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC).

Small Grants Scheme

The Small Grants Scheme (SGS) is designed to provide a cost effective way for the British Embassy to fund small-scale developmental projects that are in line with the Department for International Development’s (DFID) development objectives. Please click here for more details…..

Educational and Diplomatic

Educational links

The FCO Chevening Scholarship scheme, in partnership with major UK companies, such as British Petroleum, Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, Prudential and John Swires & Son, Unilever and Glaxo SmithKline and with Leeds, Notthingham and Cambridge University, funds up to eighteen scholarships annually for Masters courses in the UK.

Over 600 Vietnamese are alumni of UK universities and colleges. UK Alumni Vietnam, an association set up by Vietnamese alumni of UK universities and colleges with assistance from the British Council and British Embassy, was established in November 2001. For more information go to the British Council’s Vietnam website.

The British Council

The British Council (BC) aims to win recognition in Vietnam for the UK’s values, ideas and achievements and to nurture lasting, mutually beneficial relationships between Vietnam and the UK. Its programmes focus upon cultural exchanges, education development, English language, learning opportunities for Vietnamese students, and partnerships between individuals and institutions in Vietnam and the UK.
For more details, please visit

Diplomatic links

The British Embassy in Hanoi (previously a Consulate General) was established in 1975. Its staff was substantially increased in the mid-1990s as Vietnam’s economic liberalisation began to take effect. It has 9 UK-based staff and 26 local staff. The Ambassador Mr Warwick Morris arrived in July 2000.

The Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City opened in 1993, moving into the former British Embassy in 1996. It has 2 UK-based staff and 11 locally engaged office staff. The Consul General Mr Adrian Stephens arrived in January 2001.

The main work of these two diplomatic posts in Vietnam is related to trade and investment, in which at least 12 staff are engaged full-time. The Embassy also issues visas for Vietnamese wishing to travel to the UK, a growing number. Applications can also be received in Ho Chi Minh City. Normal Consular services are provided and there are locally engaged Press and Public Affairs Officers in both Posts. Political, economic and management work is also carried out.

There is a non-resident Defence Attaché, Colonel Jamie Athill, based at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur. Defence links, involving bilateral visits, English language training, participation in seminars and Naval ship’s visits to Vietnam are increasing. HMS Nottingham visited Ho Chi Minh City in May 2002 and was Britain’s fourth navy ship to visit Vietnam.

High Level Visits

Minister of State at the UK Department of Trade and Industry, Nigel Griffiths, MP visited Ho Chi Minh City in April 2003

Minister of Home Affairs Do Quang Trung visited the UK in September 2002

Minister of State at the UK Department of Trade and Industry, Alan Johnson, MP visited Vietnam in July 2002

Vietnam’s Minister for Planning and Investment Tran Xuan Gia visited the UK in June 2002.

The UK Minister for Sport, the Rt Hon Richard Caborn MP visited Vietnam in June.

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visited Vietnam in May 2002.

HMS Nottingham, a class 42 destroyer visits Ho Chi Minh City in May 2002. Britain’s fourth navy ship to visit Vietnam.

The Lord Mayor of the City of London visited Vietnam in April 2002

Deputy Prime Minister, the Rt Hon John Prescott visited Vietnam in December 2001

Foreign Minister Nguyen Dy Nien visited the UK in October 2001.

Minister for Planning and Investment Tran Xuan Gia visited the UK in August 2001.

Baroness Blackstone, Minister for Education and Employment, visited Hanoi on 22-24 March 2001.

A 10 member delegation of the British Parliament’s International Development Committee visited Vietnam in February 2001.