UK businesses are gearing up to be a part of the 2019 Asian Games
Being Conservative Party chairman can be a stressful business. Overseeing Conservative Central Office and running the party machine no doubt requires the utmost attention and carries with it all manner of stress.
However, sometimes it does have its perks. These thoughts will have been running through the mind of Grant Shapps as he visited Vietnam for the 7th annual meeting of the UK-Vietnam Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO).
But it’s not all sightseeing for the Welwyn Hatfield MP. Mr Shapps was invited to the Southeast Asian nation in order to co-chair the event with Vietnam’s vice minister of industry and trade, Mdm Ho Thi Kim Thoa.
The trip is the latest in a long line of moves by the Government to support British companies in their efforts to do business in emerging markets around the world.
Mr Shapps said: “We want to strengthen our partnership for prosperity. While in Hanoi, I will sign an agreement for the UK and Vietnam to cooperate more closely on preparations for the 2019 Asian Games. This is a great opportunity to both sides, especially in light of the UK’s recent experience of hosting the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. The agreement will open the door for UK companies – including small and medium-sized businesses involved in London 2012 – to find out more about how they can help Vietnam deliver a world class event in 2019.”
It is not the first time in recent years that Britain has reached out to Vietnam in order to create trading ties. In 2007 the two nations signed an Agreement on Cooperation against Smuggling and Cross Border Customs Violations in a bid to tackle illicit trade.
The latest trip has seen Mr Shapps cement previous goodwill by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Vietnam’s vice minister of culture, sports and tourism, Ho Tuan Anh.
This will allow Vietnam to benefit from Britain’s past experience in hosting the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games as the country gears up for the Asian Games in 2017.
The Asian Games, also known as Asiad, were originally scheduled for 2018, but at a meeting in 2009 the Olympic Council of Asia’s general decided to move the Games to the year before the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Though the event is still five years away, UK businesses thinking about capitalising on the marketing opportunities surrounding the games need to start jostling for pole position. Think what about what your business can offer and how you deliver the bid. Though English is a ubiquitous language in the business world, it never hurts to look into translation services in order to show commitment.
Liaising with business contacts at home can be a good thing, especially if they have direct experience with similar projects. Taking on outside assistance can seem like a backwards move at first, but it will only strengthen your business if it leads on to bigger and better contracts.
The UK attaches great importance to trade cooperation with Vietnam. Reports from online newspaper Vietnam Plus, part of Vietnam’s state-run news agency, reported that the two-way trade turnover between UK and Vietnam in 2013 reached 4.3 billion US dollars, 7.5% higher than the set target.
Some of the major commodities exported from Vietnam into the UK include television equipment, mobile phones, coffee and footwear.
During the visit with Vietnamese deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, Mr Shapps also said a variety of UK firms are interested in investing in Vietnam in areas of architecture, construction, education services and machinery manufacturing.