Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have released a joint statement announcing an increased strategic partnership between Vietnam and New Zealand. This comes on the 45th anniversary of the two countries establishing a diplomatic relationship. New Zealand becomes the 17th strategic partner of Vietnam and Vietnam has become New Zealand's first strategic partner.
For Vietnam, the establishment of a strategic partnership with New Zealand will contribute to promoting cooperation with mid-range countries both in bilateral and multilateral frameworks, especially with ASEAN and APEC. The strategic partnership will create a new framework and impetus for cooperation between the two countries, contributing to increasing political reliability.
Trade between the two countries has quickly been increasing in recent times and reached a peak of over NZ$2 billion in the year ending March 2020. As both countries look to continue the trade growth, this partnership will support that as well as encouraging further work visas and aid programmes in Vietnam.
Some of the key points from the partnership agreement include:
- Trade and investment cooperation for the direct benefit of people and businesses is key. This includes a commitment to individual and joint actions to open markets and reduce barriers to bilateral trade, especially for agricultural, seafood, and timber products through enhancing market access, trade facilitation, information exchange, and collaboration between our customs, and agriculture, food safety, and animal health agencies. Both countries will also foster cooperation in the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), indigenous or ethnic minorities businesses, women entrepreneurs and other important areas.
- A dedication to deepening regional economic integration by resisting all forms of protectionism and promoting trade liberalization across the Asia-Pacific region. This includes reaffirming commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), signing of a modern, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement in 2020, and upgrading the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA).
- A focus on people-to-people links, particularly education and training cooperation constitutes an important element of the Strategic Partnership, and when movement of peoples can safely resume we are confident these linkages will continue. This including through increasing the number of Vietnamese students in New Zealand, joint programmes between our higher education institutions, cooperation in vocational training, scholarships granted to Vietnamese youth and officials to study in New Zealand, scholarships granted to New Zealand youth to study or intern in Viet Nam, and student and teacher exchanges.
- Reaffirming both countries commitment to closer defence cooperation as a priority.