Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison review the guard of honour in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo Thống Nhất
HÀ NỘI – Việt Nam and Australia today agreed to raise bilateral trade from nearly US$7.8 billion in 2018 to $10 billion next year.
The agreement was reached during talks in Hà Nội between Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison, who is paying an official visit to Việt Nam from August 22-24.
The two leaders said although Australia’s investment in Việt Nam was remarkable, with nearly 500 projects and combined investment capital exceeding $200 billion, the countries still have a lot of potential in this regard.
They decided to build an enhanced economic engagement strategy to become top 10 trade partners and double investment.
They will also push ahead with the first ministerial-level Việt Nam-Australia economic partnership meeting to boost relations in trade, investment and development co-operation.
The sides will step up two-way connectivity, expand collaboration in energy security and seize digital opportunities.
PM Phúc hailed Australia's decision to send a delegation of top businesses to Việt Nam in 2020.
The Australian PM agreed to facilitate market access for Vietnamese aquatic and agricultural products, saying Australia was considering importing live Vietnamese shrimp and fresh longan.
The leaders said they supported the rules-based multilateral trading system and co-operation to promote regional economic integration through free trade agreements, such as the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), as well as co-operation in multilateral economic frameworks.
They said they were pleased with the strong development of the Việt Nam-Australia relationship, saying the two countries hold substantial potential to strengthen ties.
The pair also spoke highly of the regular exchange of delegations and agreed to start the annual meeting mechanism of high-ranking leaders, while maintaining meeting mechanisms at the foreign affairs, national defence and economic ministerial levels.
The two sides noted the effective co-operation in national defence and security, especially Australia’s assistance to Việt Nam in joining United Nations' peacekeeping operations.
The PMs are scheduled to meet Vietnamese peacekeeping forces being trained by Australia at the Military Medical University during PM Morrison’s visit.
PM Phúc suggested the two sides expand partnerships in spheres like the defence industry, cybersecurity and training connectivity, while his counterpart agreed to enhance bilateral security co-operation, covering navigation and cyber security, and join hands in fighting cross-border crimes, human trafficking and terrorism.
The leaders shared the view that people-to-people exchange has developed strongly thanks to progress in co-operation in education, culture, tourism, labour and sport.
PM Phúc welcomed Australia’s announcement that from September 2, Australia will increase the number of Work and Holiday Maker visa places for Vietnamese nationals from 200 to 1,500.
They committed to co-operating in coping with climate change, reducing plastic waste and exploiting seafood sustainably.
Apart from bilateral ties, host and guest touched upon regional and international issues.
Australia committed to supporting Việt Nam in its role as ASEAN Chair in 2020 and as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2020-21.
Meanwhile, PM Phúc said Việt Nam backed Australia’s efforts to boost connectivity with ASEAN, expressing his hope Australia would strengthen its co-operation with countries in the Mekong sub-region in areas such as connectivity, ICT, climate change adaptation and water resource management.
Regarding the East Sea, the PMs expressed serious concerns about developments in the area, including land reclamation and militarisation of disputed features.
They also expressed concern about disruptive activities in relation to long-standing oil and gas projects in the East Sea.
The two leaders emphasised the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight, compliance with international law and maintaining a rules-based order.
They called on all parties to exercise restraint and avoid actions that may complicate the situation.
They also reaffirmed the need for states to resolve disputes peacefully, without the threat or use of force in accordance with international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The Prime Ministers underscored the importance of UNCLOS dispute settlement mechanisms and called upon the parties to respect and implement decisions rendered by these mechanisms.
They reiterated the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).
They called for any Code of Conduct between ASEAN and China to be fully consistent with international law, in particular UNCLOS.
PM Phúc said he believed Morrison’s first official visit to Việt Nam as PM would significantly contribute to consolidating the friendship between the two countries.
PM Morrison lauded Việt Nam's major achievements in national construction and development which, he said, had helped to improve role and position in the region and the world.
Australia always attached importance to enhancing relations with Việt Nam – its key strategic partner in ASEAN and the region, he said.
Following the talks, the PMs witnessed the signing of five co-operation documents in the fields of e-government, finance, human trafficking combat and aviation services. — VNS