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Int'l Cooperation

Last updated: Thursday, June 21, 2018

 

Vietnam – Australia: New Strategic Partnership - New Chapter in Bilateral Relationship

Posted: Monday, February 12, 2018


“Looking ahead, Australia and Vietnam have a bright future. In March this year we will enter a new chapter in the bilateral relationship when a new Strategic Partnership is agreed. The new Strategic Partnership will lay the foundation for our two countries to work together to secure peace and prosperity for our people and for the broader Indo-Pacific region. The new Partnership will deepen cooperation in existing areas and open up new opportunities,” said Mr Craig Chittick, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, when asked about the prospect of cooperation between the two countries in coming time. Ha Vu reports.

The year 2018 is a key milestone for Australia and Vietnam as it is the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. What would you say about the relationship between the two countries for the past 45 years?
Over the past 45 years, Australia and Vietnam have built a strong relationship which brings benefits to the people of both our countries. It is a relationship that has grown significantly in recent years. We have deepened ties in traditional areas such as education, and expanded cooperation into new areas such as innovation. Cooperation now spans areas as diverse as security, trade, investment, education, law, finance and information.

Strong political will and support of the leaders of both countries have contributed to the strength of the relationship. Last year saw an unprecedented number of high-level visits between the two countries including by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Looking ahead, this trend will continue, with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to visit Australia in 2018.

The strong friendship between our two peoples lies at the heart of the relationship. The 300,000 Vietnamese who have chosen to make Australia home have helped forge rich cultural and social ties. So too have the 60,000 alumni of Australian education in Vietnam and the nearly 23,000 Vietnamese students studying in Australia. I am also pleased to see record numbers of Australian University students studying in Vietnam under Australia’s New Colombo Plan.

Would you please tell us what areas of cooperation Australian enterprises are interested in?
Over the past five years, Vietnam has become one of Australia’s fastest growing trade partners in ASEAN with two-way trade growing by an average of 12 per cent per year. This growth is a result of a range of factors, including reforms introduced in the ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand Free Trade Agreement, which is making it cheaper and easier for companies to do business between Australia and Vietnam. In the future, Australian trade and investment is only likely to increase with a recent survey showing that Vietnam is one of the top destinations in ASEAN for Australian companies looking to expand their business.

Australia is already well-known in Vietnam for our top quality education institutions and agricultural products, particularly Aussie beef. However, Australian companies have a strong record for innovation and we are keen to develop new business opportunities in technology related fields, including fintech, renewable energy and agribusiness. This will carry benefits for Vietnam too. By applying new Australian technologies, Vietnamese business can boost productivity and improve their own competitiveness. The partnership between Viet Uc seafood and the Australian research organisation, CSIRO, is a great example of this in action. Through this partnership, CSIRO are supporting new feed technologies to deliver higher quality and therefore more valuable, prawns for Viet Uc. There are numerous other opportunities to share technologies between Australia and Vietnam.

Vietnam successfully hosted APEC 2017. What do you think about this event, as well as the priorities proposed by Vietnam for APEC 2017?
Hosting an APEC year is a huge challenge for any country; there are nine ministerial meetings, five senior officials meetings and countless other working level meetings throughout the year. Vietnam did a fantastic job, even with a few extra challenges thrown in such as a typhoon arriving in Da Nang at the start of Leaders’ Week. A highlight for me was the hosting of meetings throughout the country, showing off both Vietnam’s spectacular natural beauty and unique culture to leaders from around the region.

Vietnam did an exceptional job in defining the overall priorities for 2017: promoting inclusive growth and jobs; increasing regional integration; promoting food security; and human resource development. These are important issues for both developing and developed economies, and align well with APEC’s core business. Australia had its own priorities and we were pleased to see progress continue on reducing barriers to trade and investment in services and in the Free Trade Agreement for the Asia Pacific.

Importantly, the APEC meetings also delivered on a Leaders Statement that stressed the importance of a multilateral, rules-based trading system. APEC remains an important vehicle to highlight the benefits of free trade and counter the rising tide of protectionism in different parts of the world. This will ensure that Australia and Vietnam can continue to benefit from deepening economic integration.

Given the context that Vietnam and Australia are undergoing important developments, what is the prospect of cooperation between the two countries in coming time?
Looking ahead, Australia and Vietnam have a bright future. In March this year we will enter a new chapter in the bilateral relationship when a new Strategic Partnership is agreed. The new Strategic Partnership will lay the foundation for our two countries to work together to secure peace and prosperity for our people and for the broader Indo-Pacific region. The new Partnership will deepen cooperation in existing areas and open up new opportunities.

During his recent visit to Vietnam, Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull observed that Australia and Vietnam’s futures are linked — our futures depend on free trade, strong investment and innovation; on furthering economic integration in our region; and on regional security and stability. I have every confidence that cooperation will continue to grow as we work together towards these common goals to deliver a safe and prosperous future for both our countries.

On the occasion of Lunar New Year, what messages would you like to deliver to Vietnamese enterprises and Vietnamese people?
For Vietnamese people, I would like to wish you happiness and success in the Year of the Dog. Vietnam has achieved remarkable economic success in recent years — success made possible through the contributions of local and foreign companies, the private sector and hard working individuals. I hope that you maintain this momentum, gain more success and take full advantage of the opportunities in the New Year. As we mark the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations, I look forward to seeing many of you at our anniversary events so we can together celebrate our enduring friendship.

Chúc mừng năm mới! [happy new year]








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