Australia and Vietnam: Toward the Future

2:12:50 PM | 6/15/2023

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese visited Vietnam on June 3-4, 2023 at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Minh Chinh. During the visit, many agreements were signed between the two countries. Strengthening the relationship with Vietnam is an important part of the determination of the Australian Government to rebuild its links with Southeast Asian nations.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese witness the exchange of cooperation instruments between the two countries

Speaking to the press, Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said, “Australia was proud to be one of the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with Vietnam, after the Paris Peace Accords in 1973. Since then, our partnership has gone from strength to strength, across our economies in education, agriculture, security, investment and trade.” 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese believed that the good relationship that has existed between the two countries needs to be enhanced and expanded further to elevate it to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

Bilateral negotiations focused on ways to develop trade and investment, based on the impressive two-way trade expansion, which grew by nearly 40% in the last financial year. Highlighting the importance of this vibrant trade relationship, Prime Ministers Pham Minh Chinh and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced the first Australia-Vietnam Ministerial Dialogue on Trade.

The two leaders discussed expanding bilateral cooperation on climate, energy and environment, including a new commitment of A$105 million from Australia for supporting sustainable infrastructure, stimulating clean energy infrastructure and updating mining laws to draw foreign investment to develop Vietnam's critical minerals sector.

The two sides agreed to further strengthen close cooperation and coordination at multilateral forums, especially the United Nations, ASEAN and APEC. They also witnessed the signing of many cooperation agreements in many fields, including a package of A$69.3 million to support Vietnam to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, agreements on intelligence sharing on money laundering and the formation of a regular meeting for trade ministers.

All of these will help build a two-way partnership that contributes to reducing global emissions and aligns with future economic opportunities.

Looking to the future, the two leaders also welcomed the growth in air cooperation between the two countries, with more direct flights and new direct routes from Vietnam to Brisbane, thereby promoting tourism and trade relations.

Educational cooperation was another focus of the visit. Marking the next phase in education cooperation, the Prime Minister opened RMIT's Hanoi Industry and Innovation Hub, and hailed RMIT's plan for A$250 million investment in its activities in Vietnam, including its upgraded Ho Chi Minh City campus.

Prime Minister Albanese witnessed a new agreement by Western Sydney University to award 60 two-year Whitlam scholarships to Vietnamese and Southeast Asian students studying business, media and data science in Vietnam and Australia.

The Prime Minister also witnessed additional agreements on enhancing cooperation in the digital economy, commercialization of science and innovation policy development, and cooperation in exchange of financial intelligence related to money laundering and terrorist financing.

The bilateral negotiations emphasized the importance of a stable, prosperous and resilient region as well as the important role of ASEAN as the main forum for cooperation in Southeast Asia.

By Giang Tu, Vietnam Business Forum