Exporting guide to Vietnam
Growing demand for UK goods and services
There is growing appetite for UK goods and services. Total trade between the UK and Vietnam tripled in value from 2010 to 2019, standing at £4.8 billion for 2020 (ONS, 2021). Major UK exports to Vietnam include pharmaceuticals, machinery and equipment. Emerging sectors, including renewable energy and technology, present opportunities to UK businesses.
Increasing openness to trade
Vietnam’s trade has almost quadrupled over the last decade. The country has an extensive network of trade agreements with 15 signed Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), including the UK-Vietnam FTA which came into effect in January 2021.
Vietnam: at a glance
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Opportunities for exporters
There are growing opportunities for UK companies in Vietnam, across a range of sectors. Our trade advisers in Vietnam have identified particular opportunities in the sectors listed below.
Growing demand for English language training
There is growing demand in Vietnam to learn English in order to access higher-paid jobs, and a growing ability to afford training due to continued economic growth. The sector is receiving substantial investment and there is strong political will to upskill the labour force to support the country’s development ambitions.
Growing demand for higher education and teacher training
There is growing demand for quality higher education and Vietnam is open to international education, joint degree programmes, and transnational education partnerships. Due to a shortage of teachers and the Vietnamese government’s reform of the education system and curriculum, there are ongoing opportunities for UK companies delivering high-quality teacher training.
Growing demand for technical training and professional qualifications
Technical and vocational training is central to Vietnam’s development plans, to meet the needs of an evolving labour market. There is demand particularly in IT, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and education technology.
Ambitious energy transition strategy
With electricity demand projected to continue to rise rapidly, there is increasing need in Vietnam for policy and regulation support, technology, equipment and capacity-building for the renewable energy sector. This is creating significant opportunities for UK suppliers.
Plentiful natural resources for renewable energy
Vietnam’s significant geographical advantages include high wind speeds off the south coast, and high solar irradiance. The solar power sector is one of the fastest-growing in the region, and the offshore wind sector is similarly set to grow rapidly. This will create exciting opportunities for UK firms.
An expanding public transport network
Plans to develop metro systems in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are in the early stages. Initial steps towards building a high-speed North-South railway are expected in 2021. This will create opportunities for UK businesses who have products and services in the railway supply chain.
Opportunities to participate in regional partnerships
Many infrastructure projects in Vietnam are supported by development assistance funding from other countries or the Asian Development Bank. There are opportunities for UK businesses to participate and play a role in the supply chain for these large projects via partnerships with third countries.
Expansion of opportunities in aviation
Vietnam’s expansion of existing airlines and the entry of new operators offers possibilities for UK companies to provide equipment, training and other aviation services. Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City remains one of the busiest domestic routes worldwide.
Expansion and diversification of the healthcare sector
Vietnam’s healthcare spending continues to grow as the country aims to increase the skills of its healthcare workforce and improves its capability to deliver quality healthcare. Opportunities for UK companies are growing in health education and training, clinical services and digital health.
Demand for imported pharmaceutical products
Vietnam imports 60% of its pharmaceutical end products and 90% of its active pharmaceutical ingredients (Vietnam Foreign Investment Agency, 2019), creating significant opportunities for UK exporters.
Major developments in healthcare infrastructure
Vietnam is investing in healthcare infrastructure projects, including the construction of more hospitals. Low corporate income tax and tax exemptions are among the incentives offered to overseas healthcare investors.
Growing market for Artificial Intelligence (AI), cyber security and fintech
The government considers AI a key technology for development, with potential to add hundreds of billions of US dollars to Vietnam’s GDP. The cyber security market is growing, following the expansion of the retail market and digital transactions, which pose increasing cyber threats. With a booming finance sector, banks are increasing spending on technology.
Demand for smart technologies
Vietnam’s growing middle class offers opportunities for UK companies in connectivity technology smart electronic devices and smart cities technology. Smart manufacturing is another sector promising exciting growth as the country’s manufacturing base shifts towards higher tech solutions.
Potential for modernisation of agriculture
With a significant proportion of the population in Vietnam still employed in agriculture, there are opportunities for UK companies to offer expertise in agri-technology and modernisation of agricultural practices.