Vietnam, New Zealand pave way for strategic partnership to boost all-round cooperation

By Khanh Lynh   March 14, 2018 | 12:48 am PT
Vietnam, New Zealand pave way for strategic partnership to boost all-round cooperation
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets with Vietnamese counterpart and his delegation. Photo by Vietnam News Agency
Leaders from both countries are backing education and trade to drive their relationship to the next level.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern agreed to upgrade the two countries’ relationship to a strategic partnership by 2019 during talks in Auckland on Tuesday.

Phuc is paying an official visit to New Zealand, and was welcomed by an official ceremony that took place at Government House the same day.

During their talks, the two leaders also agreed to enhance bilateral ties in all fields, including politics, trade, education and international cooperation between now and 2020.

The two nations have set a target of increasing bilateral trade to $1.7 billion by 2020 from $1.24 billion last year, while removing bilateral trade barriers, especially for agricultural products. The two leaders also praised the signing of an Economics and Trade Cooperation Agreement and called for increased investment in agriculture, sustainable energy and infrastructure.

In education and training, the leaders set a target of increasing the number of Vietnamese students in New Zealand by 30 per cent by 2020 by offering more student exchanges and university-to-university programs, while noting that education and training will be one of the cornerstones of their future strategic partnership. More than 2,200 Vietnamese students are currently studying in New Zealand, putting it among the top three within Southeast Asian countries and top five globally, as reported by Education New Zealand.

Regarding regional and international cooperation, both PMs pledged to ratify and execute the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), while continuing to work closely in multilateral and regional forums such as the WTO, APEC and ARF.

Vietnam and New Zealand established diplomatic relations on June 19, 1975. The Embassy of New Zealand was established in Hanoi in November 1995, and the Embassy of Vietnam followed suit in New Zealand in May 2003.

New Zealand is Vietnam's 31st largest trade partner. In 2017, the two countries’ bilateral trade rose by 32 percent from the previous year. According to New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, top exports from Vietnam to New Zealand include electronic machinery, footwear and furniture, while New Zealand’s main exports to Vietnam are dairy products, wood and fruit.

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