Category Archives: News

Opportunity To Influence The UK-Vietnam Business Agenda In 2018

The Department for International Trade (DIT) would like to hear from UK companies about their experience of doing business in Vietnam

Business Is Great Britain

Business Is Great Britain

The UK government holds trade talks with the government of Vietnam through the Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) every year. These talks are an important forum for building new business relationships between our 2 countries and addressing business concerns. The UK government is keen to hear the views of UK companies to help us shape the agenda.

The 10th annual JETCO meeting will take place for the first time in Manchester in June 2018.

DIT Vietnam wants feedback from UK companies on doing business in Vietnam. You should indicate:

  • your experiences and concerns about doing business in and with Vietnam with examples
  • any specific recommendations that could improve the business climate and foster better relationships between Vietnam and the UK
  • examples of good business practice in Vietnam and which government policies are working well
  • what could DIT do to encourage and support you to increase your footprint in Vietnam
  • whether you be interested in attending activities around these talks or hosting the Vietnamese delegation

While it may not be possible to address all issues raised during the talks, DITwould be pleased to discuss your feedback through other channels.

Vietnamese economy

Vietnam presents an exciting opportunity for UK companies wishing to export and invest. It’s one of the world’s most promising emerging economies with annual GDP growth of 6.2% recorded by the World Bank.

Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi both feature in the top 10 cities listed in the JLL City Momentum Index. Vietnam climbed 14 places in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index for 2018.

Background on the UK-Vietnam JETCO

The UK-Vietnam JETCO was established in 2007 to identify and address issues relating to bilateral trade and investment between the UK and Vietnam. These government-to-government talks are held annually, and the location alternates between the UK and Vietnam.

The ninth round of talks took place in Hanoi in October 2016, where the UK focused on 4 themes:

  • recognition of UK qualifications and standards in Vietnam
  • pharmaceutical law and over the counter products
  • taxation and the Vietnam business environment
  • UK exports of meat to Vietnam
Feedback to DIT Vietnam

Email your feedback to, Senior Commercial Officer at DIT Vietnam team by Friday 20 April 2018.

How To Stay Safe In Japan

The British Embassy Tokyo gave a presentation at Waseda University in Tokyo on 22nd March to international students who had just arrived in Japan

Waseda University

Waseda University

The presentation covered different types of assistance that the Embassy deals with, including arrests, hospitalisations, travellers with mental health illnesses and issuing emergency travel documents when a passport is lost or stolen; these are all incidents that university students may need support with while they are abroad. It also emphasised how it is essential to get insurance before going on holiday and explained that most Asian countries need 6 months passport validity for entry so the importance of checking requirements before travel.

Rie Shibata and Chika Sawada, both Waseda University graduates who now work in the Consular Section of the Embassy, said “It was a great opportunity to speak to students who have come to spend time studying and learning more about Japan. Most travellers have a trouble free time but it is always helpful to know what assistance is available if needed. We look forward to working with Waseda University more in the future to raise awareness among international students.”

FCO Travel Advice to Japan

The British High Commission In Brunei Hosts The Great Debate Competition 2018

In partnership with the Department of Co-Curriculum Education at the Ministry of Education, the British High Commission hosted The Great Debate Competition 2018 as part of the ASEAN GREAT Education Campaign

The debate workshop and coaching session with Deputy British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Paul Rennie

The debate workshop and coaching session with Deputy British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Paul Rennie

The British High Commission in partnership with the Department of Co-Curriculum Education at the Ministry of Education organised the first ever Great Debate Competition with 6th Form Schools in Brunei. To kick off the competition, a briefing and coaching workshop was held for all participating students, teachers and judges at Sengkurong Sixth Form Centre (PTES).

The briefing covered the format of the debate competition, which was carried out by Adam Mokhtar from the Department of Co-Curriculum Education. During the briefing, His Excellency Richard Lindsay, British High Commissioner to Brunei introduced the theme for the debating competition.

H.E. Richard Lindsay said:

We have chosen ‘The Commonwealth’ as the theme for the Great Debate Competition. Both the UK and Brunei are members of this family of 52 nations, and with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting being held in UK in April this year, this is an opportunity for young students in Brunei to research into, and debate its ongoing relevance.

This competition is designed to help students to develop their debating skills – building self confidence to speak in public, forming clear arguments, and understanding and engaging with others’ perspectives. This should be very helpful preparation for students who are looking to go overseas for their university education, and I encourage any student to consider the excellent opportunities in the United Kingdom.

Following the briefing session was the coaching workshop, that was carried out by the Deputy British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Paul Rennie. Prior to his current posting in Malaysia he has had postings in India, Brazil and the United Nations New York, as well as various jobs in London. Paul began his debating career at school, where he achieved considerable success as a competitive debater. He was a member of the team that became the first Scottish School to win the British Observer Mace competition, and went on to represent Scotland at the World Schools Debating Competition where the team finished second, and he finished third in the individual speaker contest. He continued to debate and coach debating while at Edinburgh University, organising the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Scottish Schools Debating Competition where more than 150 schools took part. Since then, Paul has been involved in numerous international negotiations during his career in the Foreign Office, including at the UN and in the G7 and G20, which he views as just a continuation of his debating career.

Paul Rennie said:

The debating skills I picked up as a student have been critical tools in my career. They gave me confidence and taught me to challenge and think critically about issues that affect us all. It was also a reminder of the importance of seeing the other side to any argument.

The Great Debate Competition 2018 officially started at PTES with a full day of preliminary rounds, followed by half a day for the preliminaries and half a day for the semi finals. The theme for the competition was ‘The Commonwealth: Towards a Common Future’ reflecting the theme of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which His Majesty the Sultan will attend on the UK in April. The topics to be debated will touch on areas that are of importance to Brunei, the UK and the wider Commonwealth such as Education, Environment, Climate Change, Skilled Youth and Youth Unemployment, Women and Gender Equality, and the Economy.

This is the first Great Debate Competition, and is a new milestone in partnership between the Department of Co-Curriculum Education at the Ministry of Education and the British High Commission, supported by CfBT Education Services. There are five 6th Form Schools in Brunei participating in the competition: PTES, Duli Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah College (Maktab Duli); Hassanal Bolkiah Arabic Boys Secondary School (SMALHB); Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Science College (Maktab Sains) and Sayyidina Ali Secondary School (SMSA).

British High Commissioner to Brunei H.E. Richard Lindsay said:

We are very excited to be working with the Department of Co-Curriculum Education at the Ministry of Education to help young Bruneians develop their public speaking skills and self confidence.

The Great Debate Competition is also a means to encourage young Bruneians to get involved in a conversation about the Commonwealth, and to ensure that the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London this year will be relevant to all of its members.

The finals of The Great Debate Competition was held at Radio Television Brunei’s Dewan Raya and the Guest of Honour was the Deputy Permanent Secretary (Core Education) at the Ministry of Education, Nadia Lee Siew Hoon binti Abdullah. The two finalists of the competition were PTES as the proposition and SMSA as the opposition. The motion debated for the finals was “This House believes The Commonwealth cannot significantly influence and set the shape and pace of global trade policy.” SMSA emerged as the champions of the inaugural Great Debate Competition.

The Great Debate Competition is an opportunity to celebrate the UK and Brunei’s close educational ties supporting Brunei Vision 2035 to produce a future generation of dynamic leaders. Debating encourages students to engage across a broad range of topics, and teaches students to think quickly on their feet, and to listen critically in order to construct and explain arguments. The British High Commission facilitated a debate coaching session for participating students at Sengkurong Sixth Form Centre (PTES) on 29 January.

The Great Debate Competition is part of the ASEAN GREAT Education Campaign programme activities organised by the British High Commission. The competition aims to support the Ministry of Education’s push to cultivate an innovative and creative culture of learning; to empower, educate and provide a platform to help students to be open-minded and to develop communication and critical thinking skills that can be useful in university life and future careers; and provide recognition to participating students that exhibits excellent performance in their research and communication skills.

Hong Kong And UK Sign MOU On Investment Promotion Co-Operation

Invest Hong Kong and the Department for International Trade today signed a Memorandum of Understanding on investment promotion co-operation, with a particular focus on innovation and technology and other emerging sectors

Invest Hong Kong and the Department for International Trade

Invest Hong Kong and the Department for International Trade

The MOU was signed by the Director-General of Investment Promotion at InvestHK, Mr Stephen Phillips, and the Director General, Trade and Investment, British Consulate-General Hong Kong, Mr Paul McComb, during the GREAT Festival of Innovation, in the presence of the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, and the UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox.

Mr Yau said:

Hong Kong and the UK maintain strong and long-standing economic and investment ties. The two places have been working closely in terms of foreign direct investment exchange, sharing a wide array of business opportunities in creative industries, financial services and innovation and technology, as well as business and professional services. The MOU is another milestone in reinforcing our collaboration. The technology emphasis also reflects our increasing focus on innovation to further strengthen Hong Kong’s economic development.

Dr Fox said:

The UK and Hong Kong have strong ties because of our shared history and our close people-to-people links. This is a great step forward in our relationship with InvestHK. Getting our teams to work together to come up with innovative solutions that meet the challenges faced by small and medium enterprises seeking to set up in Hong Kong will make a huge difference to the number of companies investing in Hong Kong from the UK.

The MOU focuses on sharing of information and experiences in investment promotion, supporting each other’s investment promotion events and programmes and strengthening collaboration in promoting inward investments. It also encourages the development of businesses with a technology focus, such as artificial intelligence, financial technology, health technology, biotechnology, smart city, clean technology, the creative sector and the experience economy.

As at the end of 2016, the UK ranked eighth as a major source of inward direct investment into Hong Kong, with an IDI stock of US$36.4 billion. As at 1 June 2017, British companies had established 122 regional headquarters, 221 regional offices and 332 local offices in Hong Kong. To date, InvestHK has signed MOUs with 14 overseas investment promotion agencies.

Hong Kong And UK Announce Closer Collaboration On Trade And Economic Matters

The Secretary of State for International Trade Dr Liam Fox and the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Mr Edward Yau today reaffirmed their commitment to further enhance the deep and long standing economic and trade relations between the UK and Hong Kong

Liam Fox at the opening of the GREAT Festival of Innovation in Hong Kong

Liam Fox at the opening of the GREAT Festival of Innovation in Hong Kong

In a joint statement on closer collaboration on trade and economic matters, the 2 governments identified 3 key areas for further developing collaboration:

  • innovation
  • creative industries
  • belt and road initiatives

They also announced their intention to work together to promote the values of global free trade. The joint statement builds on the Strategic Dialogue on Trade Partnership launched in September 2017 and sets the agenda for future collaboration between UK and HK.

Dr Fox said:

The UK and Hong Kong have strong ties because of our shared history and our close people to people links. Britain’s long standing commitment to Hong Kong is as strong as ever.

But our relationship is not just based on history – it is innovative, forward looking, and dynamic, with excellent prospects for the future. As an international economic department, we want to further deepen our trade collaboration, and work together as champions of global trade.

This joint statement is an example of our shared intention to continue to move forward together.

Mr Yau said:

Hong Kong and the UK all along enjoy deep and strong economic and trade relations.

We are pleased to issue this Joint Statement with the UK today to signify our commitment to creating a more prosperous partnership to benefit Hong Kong and the UK businesses and people.

The full text of the Joint Statement: Joint statement on closer collaboration between United Kingdom and Hong Kong on trade and economic matters(PDF20.1KB4 pages)

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