§ Viscount Hanworth
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether there have been any recent successes by British business in Vietnam. [HL307]
§ Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean
UK business has indeed achieved a series of important successes in Vietnam. UK investment in the country has risen by 50 per cent. in 1998. Foster Wheeler Energy Ltd has recently won an important contract, worth some 15 million US dollars, as front-end engineering design consultants for the planned 1.5 billion US dollar Dung Quat oil refinery in Vietnam. The award of this contract against stiff competition is a major success. We expect Foster Wheeler's involvement to lead to substantial further business—worth perhaps several hundred million pounds—in the refinery for UK suppliers. The firm has also secured a 2 million US dollar contract to run and maintain PetroVietnam Gas Corporation's operations in Vung Tau.
Cable & Wireless received a 207 million US dollar investment licence in August to install 250,000 telephone lines in Hanoi during the visit of Brian Wilson, Minister for Trade. Negotiations took four years. Earlier this year, Mitsui Babcock won the largest-ever UK export order to Vietnam to supply power station boilers worth 123 million US dollars; and Tate & Lyle has invested 85 million US dollars in a sugar refining plant.
These successes follow several years of persistent efforts in support of would-be British investors in Vietnam not only by the companies themselves but also by our diplomatic posts in Vietnam, by visiting UK Ministers and by DTI and FCO officials. Those efforts continue in support of other major potential business which could result in significant spin-off benefits for many British equipment and service providers and further enhance the commercial relationship between the UK and Vietnam.