Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan visited Vietnam from 13 to 14 July to hold talks with his counterparts, Trade and Industry Minister Nguyen Hong Dien and Planning and Investment Minister Nguyen Chi Dung. Progressing an ambitious bilateral strategy to become top ten trading partners and double bilateral investment was top of the agenda for both sides.
Minister Tehan met with State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc – who announced the commencement of work on the strategy in 2019 whilst Prime Minister – as well as Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh and Chair of the Central Economic Commission Tran Tuan Anh. Minister Tehan also took the opportunity to meet with leading Australian investors in agribusiness, financial services, mining, manufacturing and education.
“Australia’s trade relationship with Vietnam is one of our fastest growing partnerships, expanding an average 8.6 per cent a year for the last 20 years,” Minister Tehan said. “To add further momentum, we’re developing a joint Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy, which together we will make every effort to conclude in early October. The strategy will help exporters on both sides find new markets and customers, assisting our economic recovery from COVID-19.”
Initiatives discussed under the framework of the strategy included formalising bilateral trade, energy and mining cooperation talks, accelerating market access negotiations for agriculture trade, and digital economy and supply chain cooperation to support Vietnam’s Industry 4.0 agenda.
Minister Tehan met a number of Vietnamese companies looking to enter the Australian market or expand business links with Australian firms and oversaw the signing of an MOU between the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AusCham) to establish a new Business Council of leading investors from both sides to promote business cooperation.
“Australia and Vietnam’s complementary economies mean we are partners much more than competitors,” he said. “Australia is a reliable supplier of the raw materials that Vietnam’s exporters require to develop domestic value chains and our education providers are helping train Vietnam’s future workforce. Australia’s logistics, engineering, finance and design services are providing Vietnamese industry with the expertise it needs to get its products into markets around the globe.”
Minister Tehan also highlighted Australia’s commitment to share 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses with Vietnam by the end of 2021. These doses complement Australia’s $40 million package of support for Vietnam’s vaccine rollout and will make an important contribution to Vietnam’s recovery from COVID-19.
Australia is a partner with Vietnam in three Free Trade Agreements [AANZFTA, RCEP and CPTPP], demonstrating a shared commitment to upholding a strong, transparent and rules-based trading system that allows our businesses to work together and invest with certainty. The two countries upgraded diplomatic relations to a Strategic Partnership in 2018 and will mark 50 years of diplomatic relations in February 2023.