Her Excellency Mrs Ho Thi Kim Thoa
Her Excellency Mrs Ho Thi Kim Thoa, head of the Vietnamese delegation, addresses the audience at Leeds Castle

Kent has played host to a high-level trade delegation from Vietnam which met with local and national businesses in an effort to build business links.

Organised by Kent County Council and Locate in Kent, the county’s investment promotion agency, with the assistance of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the UK-Vietnam Networking Event, held in the beautiful surroundings of the Maiden’s Tower at Leeds Castle on Friday (November 9), was designed to highlight trade, investment and business opportunities between the two countries.

The Vietnamese delegation was led by Her Excellency Mrs Ho Thi Kim Thoa, vice-minister of Commerce and Industry, and included His Excellency Vu Quang Minh, Ambassador to the UK. They were joined by representatives of the Departments for Europe, Market Regulation, and International Cooperation, as well as a number of Vietnamese businesses.

The event was held in Kent because of Locate in Kent Deputy Chairman Warwick Morris’s links with Vietnam. A former career diplomat, he was Britain’s Ambassador there from 2000 to 2003. He is an adviser on Vietnam to Lloyd’s insurance market.

The morning was opened by Alex King, Deputy Leader of Kent County Council, before vice-minister Thoa delivered the keynote address.

Delegates also heard from Piers Craven, UKTI Deputy Director for Trade and Investment in Vietnam, on why the country offered such exciting prospects for UK companies looking to trade there.

Following presentations from Vietnam’s Foreign Investment Agency on the country’s economic and investment policies and from Jack Howell, Chief Executive Officer of Prudential in Vietnam, there was a discussion on the area’s key business sectors and the opportunities within them.

“I know from my three years spent in Vietnam and my continued work on UK-Vietnam relations, just how many excellent and varied opportunities there are for UK companies to do business and build important links with their counterparts there,” said Warwick Morris after the event.”

“The UK-Vietnam relationship is developing fast. Two-way trade and investment is increasing rapidly and I hope Friday’s event helped businesses from both countries build a better understanding of the other’s market, and that links between the two sides will grow as a result.”

Alex King added: “That this important event aimed at building trade between the two countries was held in Kent speaks volumes for the county’s vision and foresight in developing international relations and encouraging investment.

“While the focus of the event was on trade between both countries, the links and relationships established on the day will doubtless be rewarded in the future by Vietnamese investment here in Kent.”

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