New Zealand-VN relations still growing after 43 years

March 10, 2018 - 09:00

Relations between New Zealand and Việt Nam are developing from strength to strength and there is significant potential to grow the relationship further, said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

New Zealand Ambassador to Việt Nam Wendy Matthews visited a dragon fruit farm in the Mekong Delta Province of Tiền Giang. — Photo Vietnamese Embassy in New Zealand
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Relations between New Zealand and Việt Nam are developing from strength to strength and there is significant potential to grow the relationship further, said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. — VNA/VNS Photo Khánh Linh

She particularly mentioned increasing co-operation between the two countries in the fields of trade, education and training and tourism during an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency earlier this week on the occasion of the upcoming official visit to the country by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, scheduled for March 11-14.

“New Zealand is a natural partner for Việt Nam with our world class reputation for innovation, particularly in areas like high quality food and beverage, high-tech agriculture and international education,” she said.

“Trade co-operation is increasing significantly. Exports and imports between Việt Nam and New Zealand grew by more than a third in the last year alone,” she added.

Trade relations

Việt Nam is New Zealand’s 16th largest trade partner, with two-way trade enjoying an annual growth of 15-20 per cent over the past five years. Two-way trade turnover hit about US$1.2 billion in 2017. The figure is expected to increase to $1.7 billion by 2020, according to Vietnamese Ambassador to New Zealand, Nguyễn Việt Dũng.

A business forum will be organised in Auckland during PM Phúc’s visit to New Zealand with interest already registered from many big corporations of the two countries, Dũng said during an interview with the Vietnam News Agency.

“As well as the ASEAN, Australia - New Zealand FTA, which has been facilitating trade since 2010, the signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement in Chile on Thursday is expected to help deepen the relations between the two countries and participating countries,” he said.

Additionally, Việt Nam and New Zealand are participating in negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with nine ASEAN countries and five other partners of ASEAN, including Australia, Japan, China, South Korea and India, according to the ambassador.

Agriculture is also a sector that has made significant contributions to bilateral relations between the two countries.

Việt Nam exports many products to New Zealand such as fruit, cashews, coffee, pepper and seafood. Meanwhile, agricultural products of New Zealand account for more than 50 per cent of export turnover of New Zealand to Việt Nam, including milk products, fruit, wood materials, minerals and materials for the garment and textile sector.

Education and tourism links

PM Ardern also highlighted that bilateral links through education and tourism were growing fast, and the introduction of Air NZ’s seasonal direct flights between Auckland and HCM City made it much easier for Vietnamese and New Zealanders to experience and explore the two countries. 

Vietnamese tourists travelling to New Zealand have increased 32 per cent while tourists from New Zealand to Việt Nam have risen by 41 per cent, according to Dũng.

Regarding education, PM Ardern said education was a real success story in the New Zealand-Việt Nam relationship with more and more Vietnamese taking up the opportunity of a world class education in New Zealand.

She added that New Zealand had also invested in the future leaders of Việt Nam by providing 30 post graduate scholarships per annum, English language training for officials, and other targeted short term training opportunities. 

According to the PM, there are significant opportunities for further co-operation in education between the two countries. A number of New Zealand universities have developed strong partnerships with Vietnamese institutions, for example, delivering joint university degrees that provide more flexibility for Vietnamese students to study both in New Zealand and Việt Nam. “Việt Nam has a young population with many keen to move up the education and skills ladder. New Zealand has the education institutions to help cater to that aspiration,” she said. 

During the visit by PM Phúc, the two PMs will witness the signing of related agreements in education co-operation between the two sides, including a strategic education co-operation plan for the 2018-20 period and agreements between universities of the two countries with the aim of increasing the number of Vietnamese students studying in New Zealand by 30 per cent by 2020, according to Ambassador Dũng. More than 2,000 Vietnamese students are currently studying in New Zealand.

International co-operation

Speaking on the relationship between New Zealand and Việt Nam in terms of international mechanisms and forums on economic co-operation that the two countries have joined, such as Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the CPTPP, PM Ardern said both countries worked closely in international and regional forums such as the World Trade Organisation and APEC. “These organisations and agreements are important for ensuring the region’s ongoing prosperity, mainly because they embody our shared commitment to a more open and interconnected Asia-Pacific region,” she said.

 Việt Nam and New Zealand set up diplomatic relations in 1975.  — VNS