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UK And Vietnam To Increase Cooperation

UK and Vietnam to increase cooperation

The UK and Vietnam have pledged to increase cooperation on a range of issues including trade, development and international crime.

In a joint statement, Gordon Brown and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said that they would work closely together on pushing for reform of the United Nations as well as ways to enhance bilateral trade and investment.

The two leaders also promised to look at ways to improve English language learning and teacher training in Vietnam, the impact of climate change on the country and to minimise the impact of illegal people trafficking and organised crime.

Mr Brown congratulated Vietnam for the progress made on its Millennium Development Goals, including the halving of the number of people in extreme poverty.

The first meeting between the two Prime Ministers came as the UK and Vietnam celebrate 35 years of renewed diplomatic relations.

***

UK-VIETNAM JOINT STATEMENT

Political, diplomatic and development co-operation

The two sides emphasized the importance of close and constructive political cooperation. The Prime Ministers discussed current international issues and welcomed the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding underlining the key elements of the bilateral relationship. With Vietnam's recent election to the UN Security Council, the two countries are now working together on issues central to global peace and security. The Prime Ministers discussed a number of issues on the United Nations Security Council agenda, as well as measures to jointly maximise the positive impact of globalisation while managing the negative consequences on both countries.

The Prime Ministers agreed to strengthen co-operation and discussions in international and regional fora; reaffirmed Vietnam's support to the UK in accelerating co-operation with ASEAN, and vice versa, the UK's support to Vietnam in enhancing comprehensive co-operation with the EU.

The Prime Ministers agreed on the urgent need for UN reform, to increase its effectiveness, building on the recommendations of the High Level Panel. As a pilot country for the "One UN" reform process, Vietnam is again leading by example. Mr Brown and Mr Dung also committed their governments to support a high-level conference in Vietnam later this year on the "One UN" country pilots to push forward the global UN reform process.

The Prime Ministers agreed on the urgent need to tackle climate change globally and achieve a satisfactory agreement post-Kyoto, but also to work together on the urgent priority of adaptation in Vietnam, as one of the countries likely to be most affected by climate change. The UK is supporting a regional study, based on the "Stern Review", to improve understanding of the economic impacts of climate change in Vietnam.

The Prime Ministers emphasised their countries' joint efforts to tackle corruption. Prime Minister Brown welcomed Prime Minister Dung's announcement that Vietnam will pilot the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative. The Prime Ministers agreed to work together to further good governance, accountability and rule of law issues.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown expressed his admiration of Vietnam's achievement after 20 years of reforms and integration to the world, in particular, on the reduction in poverty from approximately 60% (1993) to 15% (2007) - the fastest reduction in recorded history. The UK is helping to ensure more people are lifted out of poverty in Vietnam by contributing at least £250 million in aid between 2006-2011. The UK is the EU's biggest grant donor to Vietnam. Prime Minister Brown agreed that the UK would give £100 million directly to Vietnam's poverty reduction strategy up to 2011, as part of its total commitment of £250 million under DFID's new Country Assistance Plan over the same period.

The Prime Ministers emphasised their determination to achieve all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - in Vietnam and globally. Vietnam is leading by example and has already achieved most MDGs, including by reducing extreme poverty by half. By signing the Call to Action, they have committed their governments to work together in partnership with businesses, NGOs and others to make 2008 a turning point in the fight against global poverty.

Trade and Investment Co-operation

The Prime Ministers welcomed the strong development of trade and investment between the UK and Vietnam. The UK continues to be one of the largest European investors in Vietnam, with FDI over USD $1.5 billion. Vietnam is one of the UK's 17 priority markets around the world. In 2007, bilateral trade was around USD $1.7 billion, the highest yet. The Prime Ministers discussed ways to enhance trade and investment relations, to encourage and support effective business between enterprises of the two countries and to facilitate markets for products of both sides. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung informed Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the Vietnamese Government's decision to grant licenses to HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank to establish 100% foreign-owned banks in Vietnam in line with WTO commitments.

In the run up to and during Prime Minister Dung's visit, commercial contracts of over USD 5 billion have been agreed or progressed. These include business for UK companies such as BP, International Power, Salamander, Premier Oil, Mott McDonald, Tesco, SOCO and BHP Billiton.

Vocational and Education Co-operation

More effective education links have led to an increase in the number of students from Vietnam studying in the UK from around 2000 in 2002 to more than 6,000 today. The Prime Ministers welcomed the signature of a country to country agreement fostering international exchanges and capacity building in education. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung informed Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the Vietnamese Government's decision to permit the establishment of the Apollo University in Vietnam in association with University of London to provide science and technology training.

In Vocational Education and Training and in Higher Education, the British Prime Minister's Second Initiative will effectively support bilateral institutional partnerships, with a view to developing long term relationships.

In secondary education, the Prime Ministers agreed to strengthen co-operation at the policy, local authority, school leadership, and teacher levels. Over the next 3 years, between 40 and 60 new school links between UK and Vietnam will be established. The Prime Ministers welcomed the agreement that 7 leading research universities will support the Vietnamese government's objective of improving university level education through increasing Vietnamese lecturers studying PhDs in the UK.

The Prime Ministers agreed joint efforts to help raise the standard of English language in Vietnam. The Prime Ministers also agreed to improve teacher training, with a three year programme focussed on improving the skills of the existing 6,500 primary school English language teachers in Vietnam, and supporting the training of 13,000 new teachers needed in preparation for English teaching in primary schools.

In primary education, the UK agreed to continue to support Vietnam improve education access and quality teaching for disadvantaged children. The UK provides over £8 million per year for the training of 50,000 primary teachers, the building of 14,000 classrooms and providing over 1 million poor children with textbooks.

Co-operation on migration, organised crime and people smuggling

The Prime Ministers emphasized the importance of facilitating and encouraging legal migration to increase business, education and tourism ties between the two countries.

In parallel, the Prime Ministers pledged that Vietnam and the UK will increase the already strong joint work to minimise the harm caused to both countries by illegal migration, trafficking, people smuggling and organised crime. The Prime Ministers agreed to review progress on the MOU on migration issues and then extend it for a further 5 years. The Prime Ministers instructed the relevant agencies to work in detail and sign the agreement on the UK package of further measures to combat illegal migration.

The Prime Ministers also agreed to launch negotiations on a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty which would facilitate the formal exchange of evidence relating to criminal investigations and proceedings, with a view to increasing the number of serious offenders brought to trial as a result of co-operation between the two countries.

The Prime Ministers agreed that Vietnam and the UK would facilitate urgent signature of a Prisoner Transfer Agreement to allow prisoners to serve their sentences in their home communities.

The two Prime Ministers warmly appreciated the opportunity Prime Minister Dung's visit to the United Kingdom had provided to make real progress on issues of shared importance. They undertook to ensure that such substantial, constructive and high level dialogue continued for mutual interests, contributing to peace, co-operation and development in the region and in the world.

ENDS

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