Scottish Secretary Alister Jack is in Vietnam for a visit which will see him promote Scotch whisky as well as work to boost diplomatic ties with the south-east Asian nation.
With this year marking the 50th anniversary of the UK and Vietnam starting formal diplomatic relations, Jack said it was a “real honour” to promote the UK’s interests there.
He will be joined on the four-day visit by representatives from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) – with a joint whisky reception being held in Hanoi for key business leaders.
The trip to Vietnam will also see the Scottish Secretary hold talks with leading members of the Vietnamese government, including the foreign minister, Bui Thanh Son; agriculture and rural development vice minister, Phung Duc Tien; and the vice minister for industry and trade, Nguyen Sinh Nhat Tan.
In addition, Jack will visit Paisley-based, textile firm Coats’ factory in Ho Chi Minh City to learn about the firm’s operations there, and will meet students at the University Vietnam (BUV) to witness the signing of a new partnership between the BUV and Stirling University.
Speaking ahead of the visit, Jack said: “It is a real honour to promote UK interests in Vietnam – particularly this year which marks 50 years of the UK’s and Vietnam’s formal diplomatic relations.
“I look forward to building on these strong and important ties with our Vietnamese friends.”
The Scottish Secretary added: “The UK Government’s post-Brexit, free trade agreement with Vietnam offers huge opportunities for Scottish businesses, and I look forward to promoting Scotch and other important Scottish exports in this important market.”
Figures show almost 200 companies in Scotland export to Vietnam, with sales worth £83 million annually.
Exports of Scotch whisky have grown in value by 371% since 2019, with 85% of whisky drunk in Vietnam coming from Scotland.
Graeme Littlejohn, SWA director of strategy and communication, who will join the Scottish Secretary on the visit, said: “As the fastest growing economy in Asia last year, Vietnam is attracting global investment and the opportunities for Scottish exports are clear to see.
“The growth of Scotch whisky exports to Vietnam over the past few years is linked to this economic potential, coupled with the reduction in tariffs agreed as part of the UK-Vietnam trade deal, and the importance of premium tourism to the Vietnamese economy.”
He continued: “As the UK’s largest food and drink export, Scotch whisky regularly breaks new ground in emerging markets, showing the way for other Scottish exports.
“The Secretary of State’s visit is a welcome reminder of the cache that Scotland, and Scottish products, have on the world stage.”
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