|NA Chairman Vương Đình Huệ is welcomed in New Zealand. — VNA/VNS Photo|
AUCKLAND — Chairman of the National Assembly Vương Đình Huệ and a high-ranking delegation from the Vietnamese legislature arrived at Auckland International Airport in the late afternoon of December 3 (local time), beginning their official visit to New Zealand at the invitation of Speaker of the House of Representatives Adrian Rurawhe.
The delegation was welcomed at the Auckland International Airport by Vietnamese Ambassador to New Zealand Nguyễn Văn Trung, the Vietnamese Embassy’s staff and representatives of the New Zealand government and Auckland city’s administration.
During the visit from December 3-7, NA Chairman Huệ is scheduled to hold talks with Rurawhe, meet with senior leaders of New Zealand, attend Việt Nam-New Zealand educational and economic cooperation forums and meet with the embassy’s staff and representatives of the Vietnamese community.
New Zealand is a strategic partner of Việt Nam in the South Pacific, with bilateral ties growing in different fields. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the exchange of delegations was suspended during 2021-2022, but high-level conversations were maintained and bilateral cooperation mechanisms were deployed in both online and offline forms.
The 2021-2024 Action of Plan with New Zealand to realise the bilateral strategic partnership has seen positive results.
In economic terms, Việt Nam and New Zealand are both members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP). New Zealand is now the 36th largest trading partner of Việt Nam. Two-way trade reached US$1.3 billion last year, up 26.7 per cent year-on-year. The figure increased by 13.6 per cent year-on-year to $1.1 billion in the first nine months of this year.
New Zealand also approved the supply of ODA worth NZ$26.7 million for Việt Nam during 2021-2024, equivalent to the sum in the 2018-21 period. The country also supplied 30,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses and NZ$2 million in post-pandemic relief aid to Việt Nam.
There remains ample room to boost further national defence, security, education-training, labour and agriculture coordination. In particular, the two countries are interested in new cooperation areas such as climate change response, digital transformation and energy transition.
Though few visits were paid due to COVID-19, leaders of the two legislatures still maintained all-level meetings on the sidelines of regional and international conferences.
At regional and global inter-parliamentary forums, the two countries’ delegations of lawmakers regularly discussed and supported each other on regional and national issues of mutual concern. The 15th Vietnamese NA continued the Việt Nam - New Zealand Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group and maintained information exchange with the New Zealand Embassy in Việt Nam.
Aiming to deploy the foreign policy of the 13th National Party Congress, the visit is of important significance as it is the first trip to New Zealand by a senior Vietnamese leader since the two countries fully reopened their doors following the pandemic and also the first made by NA Chairman Huệ in his capacity as Chairman of the Vietnamese NA. — VNS