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Viet Nam hopes for stronger trade cooperation with UK

London (VNA) - Vietnamese Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North Ireland Trinh Duc Du has talked with a London-based Viet Nam News Agency correspondent about all-round Viet Nam-UK ties ahead of National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Van An's visit to the UK from Mar. 19-22.

The following is the full text of the interview:

Q:After President Tran Duc Luong's official visit to the UK last May, there were many high-ranking visits by Vietnamese and British leaders. Do you think that the relationship between the two countries has been lifted to new heights?

A: President Tran Duc Luong's visit in May 2004 was the first official visit made by a Vietnamese Head of State to the UK since the two countries established diplomatic ties over 30 years ago. The visit brought about important outcomes that reflected the two countries' desires to raise their ties to a higher plane of development.

The exchange of visits at all levels has been increased, noteworthy of which was a visit by British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott to Viet Nam last October when he led the British government delegation to the fifth ASEM Summit Meeting in Ha Noi.

The British Government has signed with our government an agreement to provide 60 million GBP (100 million USD) in non-refundable aid for Viet Nam in 2005. Recently, the British Government has committed to pay the International Development Association of the World Bank 100 million USD Viet Nam owes the Association.

Bilateral cooperation has also been expanded to defence and security. General Sir Mike Jackson, Chief of the UK General Staff has visited Viet Nam and Vietnamese Minister of Public Security Nguyen Hong Anh has visited the UK.

Q:What is your uation of the prospect for the two countries' commercial ties?

A: Trade between Viet Nam and the UK has grown year after year over the recent past. In 2004, two-way trade value amounted to more than 855 million GBP (equivalent to 1.5 billion USD), in which Viet Nam's exports to the UK rose 17 percent and imports from the UK 4.5 percent. These figures are signs that potential for the two countries' trade ties is enormous.

The trade ties between Viet Nam and the UK are complementary. Viet Nam exports footwear, garment products, wood furniture, seafood and coffee, which are all in great demand in the UK, and imports hi-tech products, telecommunications equipment, aviation components, and medicines, which it greatly needs, from the UK.

As the British Government's policy is to facilitate trade liberation, Vietnamese products are welcomed on the British market, and their success will depend upon their quality and the dynamics of Vietnamese businesses.

Q:Could you name the area that bears the most potential for the two countries' cooperation ? What are the two countries' future projects to increase bilateral cooperation?

A: Viet Nam places special importance on boosting ties with the UK in economics, trade, investment, as well as education and training. As a developed country, the UK boasts strength in modern technology, infrastructure energy, telecommunications, the environment, financial services, banking and the legal domain. These are areas in which we need assistance in order to accelerate national industrialisation and modernisation.

Q:Do you think that National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Van An's visit to the UK from Mar. 19-22 will help broaden the two countries' cooperative ties?

A: Along with enhancing the relations between the two States and Governments, efforts have been made to strengthen the ties between the two legislatures.

The official visit of the National Assembly delegation led by NA Chairman Nguyen Van An to the UK from Mar. 19-22 aims to promote high-level political dialogues, enhance the exchange of visits and cooperation between the two legislatures contributing to the forging of the friendship and cooperation between the two countries./.

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