PM visits New Zealand to step up Comprehensive Partnership: Ambassador

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s March 19-20 visit to New Zealand will strengthen the bilateral Comprehensive Partnership, opening a new development era in friendship and cooperation between the two nations, said Vietnamese Ambassador to New Zealand Nguyen Viet Dung during his interview with the Vietnam News Agency before the visit.

The diplomat said the visit offers an opportunity for the two sides to discuss ways to enhance and deepen their Comprehensive Partnership and expand all-around cooperation, especially in priority fields such as agriculture, education, training, clean technology, environmental and disaster risk management, aviation and tourism. 

The maintenance of high-level visit exchanges, people-to-people exchanges, and the effective operation of bilateral cooperation mechanisms such as the deputy foreign minister-level political consultation, the Joint Trade and Economic Commission (JTEC), the defence consultation and the annual consultation on Vietnam-New Zealand development cooperation not only created a foundation and impetus for implementing cooperation agreements but also tightened political trust between the two countries. 

Both Vietnam and New Zealand work closely in a number of major regional and global forums and organisations such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and other bodies within the ASEAN. The two are actively working towards the conclusion of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement. 

Trade between the two countries saw an annual 15-20 percent growth over the last decade, hitting US$800 million in 2014. Vietnam is the 20 th largest trade partner of New Zealand and they aim to lift their trade value to 1 billion USD by the end of 2015. 

Agricultural cooperation significantly contributes to promoting trade links between the two countries. Vietnam mainly exports farm products to New Zealand, like tropical fruits, cashew nuts, coffee, pepper and seafood, while New Zealand primarily ships milk products, materials for textiles, fruits, wood and minerals to Vietnam. 

The two countries also saw results from their education cooperation, with increasing numbers of Vietnamese students choosing to study in New Zealand. Around 2,000 Vietnamese students are currently studying in New Zealand. 

There is great potential for fostering tourism links with the number of visitors from New Zealand to Vietnam increasing strongly in recent years and reaching over 33,000 in 2014. 

According to the diplomat, to bolster the multifaceted cooperation, it is necessary to seek ways to effectively implement and deepen the Comprehensive Partnership, especially in the fields defined in the 2013-2016 action plan focusing on economics, trade, science-technology, education-training, agriculture, transport and tourism. 

With strong determination from the leaders and people of the two nations, bilateral relations will grow substantially in the near future, stressed Ambassador Dung.