A springboard for Vietnam-New Zealand comprehensive ties

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to New Zealand at the invitation of PM Jacinda Ardern opens a new page for bilateral ties between the two countries, providing a catalyst for their comprehensive relationship in all fields.

A springboard for Vietnam-New Zealand comprehensive ties

New Zealand has maintained a level of moderate economic growth in recent years, with an expansion of 2.8% in 2017. The country ranked first for the ease of doing business in 2016 and has Australia, China, the EU, the US, Japan, and ASEAN as its main trading partners.

New Zealand prioritises the maintenance of a peaceful and stable environment, strengthening comprehensive and deep links with the Asia-Pacific region, and promoting trade liberalisation, while actively participating in regional and global institutions and reinforcing the strategic partnership with ASEAN.

The country always values the role of ASEAN, having pledged to contribute NZ$200 million over the next three years to enact the People Strategy and Prosperity Strategy, considering them the centre of the ASEAN-New Zealand Plan of Action.

ASEAN is currently New Zealand’s fifth largest trading partner with bilateral trade reaching US$10.6 billion. New Zealand values Vietnam’s role and position in the Asia-Pacific region and wishes to expand its relations with ASEAN through Vietnam.

Vietnam and New Zealand established diplomatic relations in 1975 and have seen stronger ties develop rapidly in recent years. The two countries agreed a comprehensive partnership in 2009 and issued a joint statement in 2015 on enhancing the comprehensive partnership to the level of a strategic partnership in future. The fine relationship has been marked by high-level visits between the two sides, notably New Zealand PM John Key’s visit to Vietnam in November 2015 and Vietnamese PM Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to New Zealand in March 2015.

The two countries’ leaders frequently meet on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit and the APEC Summit. In addition, bilateral cooperative mechanisms such as political consultations, the Committee on Economic and Trade Cooperation, and defence policy dialogues are held regularly.

Vietnam and New Zealand both seek the early conclusion of negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and each other’s nomination as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. New Zealand has been steadfast in its support for Vietnam’s participation on the UN Economic and Social Council for the 2016-2018 term, on UNESCO’s Executive Board for the 2015-2019 term, and for Vietnam’s hosting of the APEC Summit 2017.

We are pleased at the favourable development of economic, trade, and investment cooperation between the two countries. Two-way trade has been increasing over the years, from US$300 million in 2009, to US$900 million in 2017. New Zealand is Vietnam’s 31st largest trading partner, while Vietnam is New Zealand’s 17th biggest. To date, New Zealand has 28 active projects in Vietnam with a total capital of US$101.94 million, ranking 41st among 120 countries and territories investing in Vietnam.

Vietnam is the 16th largest exporter to New Zealand and 19th in the list of importers. Vietnam currently has six investment projects in New Zealand with a total capital of US$25.62 million in the fields of manufacturing, hospitality, and agriculture.

New Zealand has increased its ODA for Vietnam from US$2.3 million annually throughout the 2003-2004 period, to US$7.4 million during the 2012-2013 period, mainly in the areas of human resources development, education and training, and sustainable agriculture. New Zealand has pledged to provide Vietnam with US$18.6 million during the 2015-2018 period.

Cooperation between Vietnam and New Zealand in other areas such as security-defence, education-training, labour, transport, and agriculture has also seen positive developments. There are nearly 3,000 Vietnamese students currently studying in New Zealand while the Vietnamese community in New Zealand is estimated at more than 5,000 people.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s official visit to New Zealand aims to continue to implement Vietnam’s foreign policy of diversification, multilateralisation, while actively integrating into the international community and deepening international relationships.

The visit affirms that Vietnam both values and wishes to strengthen their comprehensive partnership with New Zealand, supporting the two countries’ enterprises in exploring each other’s markets, potential, demands, and strengths.