Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh (L) meets with New Zealand’s Speaker of the House of Representatives David Carter yesterday in Wellington. — VNA/VNS Photo Khánh Linh
WELLINGTON – Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh suggested that Việt Nam and New Zealand forge closer economic and trade ties in order to achieve their bilateral trade targets.
The official made the proposal during his meetings with New Zealand’s Speaker of the House of Representatives David Carter, and Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister Bill English in Wellington yesterday. The target of US$1.7 billion was formalised by their senior leaders in 2020.
He called on the two countries to increase connectivity and co-operation between their businesses while seeking collaboration in new areas such as banking, services and renewable energy, especially wind power, which is New Zealand’s strength.
Minh spoke highly of New Zealand’s economic achievements, which, he said, have helped it become one of the ten economies of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recording the fastest and most stable economic growth rate.
At the meetings, the two sides noted the strong developments in the Việt Nam-New Zealand relationship, especially after the two countries had established a comprehensive partnership in 2009, and issued a joint statement in March 2015, under which they agreed to enhance the partnership towards a strategic goal.
The regular exchange of high-ranking delegations, particularly in 2015, which marked the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties (1975 to 2015), has helped intensify mutual understanding between Việt Nam and New Zealand, they said.
Two-way trade expanded by 20 per cent annually over the past five years, exceeding $800 million in 2015, the officials said, while stressing on the effective and pragmatic bilateral collaboration in national defence and security, agriculture, labour, culture and people-to-people exchanges.
The New Zealand side promised to join hands with Việt Nam in speeding up the assessment of risks to Vietnamese agricultural products, thus facilitating their penetration into the New Zealand market.
Talking about the latest developments relating to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement to which Việt Nam and New Zealand are signatories, they described free trade and integration as “irreversible”.
The two sides pledged to continue their co-ordination and mutual support at regional and international forums in which they are members, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum.
The New Zealand side affirmed its backing for Việt Nam as the host of the APEC Year in 2017.
David Carter said Việt Nam is one of the priority partners with whom New Zealand has earlier established a comprehensive partnership.
While expressing his delight at the thriving legislative ties and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, the speaker said the two sides should maintain the direct air route between HCM City and Auckland in New Zealand in a bid to boost trade, tourism and delegation exchanges.
English valued Việt Nam’s encouraging achievements in economic restructuring and growth model reform, saying that New Zealand wanted to co-operate with Việt Nam in economy, finance, banking and State-owned enterprise restructuring.
New Zealand will continue to support Việt Nam’s development by providing official development assistance (ODA) to the country, he said.
Later that day, Deputy PM and FM Minh visited the Vietnamese embassy in New Zealand. – VNS