UK firms eye investing in health care in Vietnam

The UK – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), which will take effect on May 1, is expected to open up opportunities for UK health care companies to navigate the Vietnamese market.

UK Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Emily Hamblin said 99 percent of tariff will be waived in the next six years thanks to the deal.

She added that the UK has taken advantage of digital transformation to expand public access to quality health care services in an equitable manner, in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No.3 regarding health and welfare.

In the first stage of digital transformation, Vietnam has many opportunities from making use of creative solutions from the UK, she said.

Chairman and General Director of the AstraZeneca Vietnam Nitin Kapoor spoke highly of the UKVFTA deal for helping millions of Vietnamese patients access advanced and quality medicines.

He highlighted the significance of the agreement when Vietnam and the UK are looking toward a strategic partnership in the next decade and closer cooperation in health care.

Last year, Real Capital London launched the Hong Anh Medical Campus project in Ho Chi Minh City, which is expected to serve as a modern health care system, with a 462-bed hospital, a medical training centre, general clinics, pharmacies, accommodations and a nursing home for the elderly.

The project is divided into four stages, with two final stages scheduled for completion before 2030.

To date, UK investors have poured US$3.87 billion into over 400 projects in Vietnam, becoming the 15th biggest investor in the country.

According to Hamblin, Vietnam – UK trade grew by 12 percent on average annually in the past decade. Via the UKVFTA, UK service providers are able to better access the Vietnamese market.

Sharing the same view, Executive Chairman of the Grant Thornton Vietnam and a board member of the British Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam Kenneth Atkinson noted that the UKVFTA is one of the first deals signed and joined by the UK following its Brexit last year.

He also hoped that less barriers will attract more UK firms to Vietnam, especially in health care.