|Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung attends the Viet Nam-New Zealand Business Dialogue in Auckland yesterday. — VNS Photo Duc Tam
AUCKLAND (VNS) — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday told the Viet Nam-New Zealand Business Dialogue in Auckland that trade with New Zealand had huge potential.
Speaking to nearly 100 leading enterprises from both countries, the PM said Viet Nam's economic development helped create opportunities for Viet Nam and New Zealand enterprises.
New Zealand has 25 investment projects in Viet Nam with a total registered capital of US$82 million. The South Pacific nation ranks 43rd out of 101 countries and territories with direct foreign investment projects in Viet Nam.
"Viet Nam's reform and intensive international integration are opening opportunities for foreign investors, including New Zealand's ones," the PM said.
"The Vietnamese Government supports New Zealand enterprises to do business in Viet Nam in agriculture, mining, telecommunications, education and training, and infrastructure development."
The PM called for New Zealand enterprises to increase investment into agriculture, especially in technological transfer, processing farm produce, developing agricultural value chains and agricultural services to enhance the value and competitiveness of farm produce.
He said Viet Nam was accelerating economic reform and enhancing the efficiency of State-owned enterprises, adding that it was also renewing education and training and prioritising infrastructure development, especially in traffic and energy.
In addition, the PM said Viet Nam was extending space for national development through implementation of WTO commitments as well as signed Free Trade Agreements, and negotiating FTA with many important partners.
"After Viet Nam completes negotiation for FTAs in the 2015-20 period, the country will become a significant link in a large-scale economic chain with 55 partners, including 15 from the G20", PM Dung said.
In response to questions by New Zealand enterprises about barriers related to investment and business procedures and licences, the Minister of Planning and Investment, Bui Quang Vinh said Viet Nam produced numerous important codes of high competitiveness in the region in 2014, including the Law on Investment and Enterprise Law.
"The move aimed to create a more stable, equal and favourable environment for enterprises of different economic sectors," said Vinh, adding that the laws would take effect on July 1.
Additionally, the minister said, the Government boosted administrative reform to lessen the time and cost of procedures.
New Zealand Minister of Energy and Transport Simon Bridges said at the business dialogue that bilateral agreements, including protocols on amending agreements on aviation transportation and an agreement on food safety and animal and plant quarantine, would help reduce trade barriers and increase business connections between the two countries.
Viet Nam was changing quickly and there was a great convergence between what New Zealand could supply and what Viet Nam needed, Bridges said.
The minister said that he would soon lead a delegation of New Zealand enterprises to Viet Nam, seeking more co-operation and investment opportunities.
At the end of the business dialogue, PM Dung received high-ranking officials of the Air New Zealand Group and was told of plans to establish a direct flight between two countries.
Last year saw 16,000 New Zealand tourists visit Viet Nam, while 3,000 Vietnamese citizens visited New Zealand.
Also yesterday, PM Dung visited the Auckland University of Technology, which has 300 Vietnamese students at present. They are among the top five international students' contingents at the university.
Addressing the university's faculty and students, Dung said that up to 40 per cent of Viet Nam's 90 million people are in their teens, so the country's demand for higher education was huge.
"Viet Nam has developed a comprehensive education system from kindergarten to university level," said Dung, adding that with 21 million pupils and students, the country was looking to increase co-operation with countries offering advanced education towards reforming its own education and training sector.
He said leaders of both countries have agreed that co-operation in education and training was a highlight of bilateral ties, and targeted increasing the number of Vietnamese students studying in New Zealand from 2,000 to 3,000 in the coming years. — VNS