Vietnam, Australia explore potential of strategic pact

10:52 | 10/10/2019 Cooperation

(VEN) - At the invitation of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife paid an official visit to Vietnam from August 22-24, building on the strategic partnership between the two countries formalized in March 2018.

Vietnamese mangoes have been exported to Australia

The agreement making Australia Vietnam’s 16th strategic partner was an important milestone in bilateral relations, enabling further development in all fields, especially economic exchanges.

General Department of Vietnam Customs data showed that in the first seven months of this year, bilateral trade reached more than US$4.54 billion, up six percent from the same period last year. Excluding crude oil, the figure is US$4.48 billion, up 11 percent. Vietnam’s exports (excluding crude oil) reached almost US$1.9 billion and Australia’s exports were over US$2.6 billion.

Major trade agreements of which both countries are signatories - the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) - are also expected to promote bilateral economic cooperation.

The two governments have pledged to create the best conditions for deep and comprehensive economic relations development, and increase economic benefits in bilateral cooperation.

Although the level of economic development of the two countries is different, with their complementary strengths, Vietnam and Australia have many potential areas of mutually beneficial cooperation. Vietnam is Australia’s fastest-growth ASEAN trade partner. Specifically, Vietnam is Australia’s fifth-largest ASEAN partner, while Australia is Vietnam’s seventh biggest trade partner. Bilateral trade has grown more than seven percent per year, on average.

Australia is a potential market for Vietnam’s agricultural, forest and fishery products. Over the last three years, Vietnam has exported litchi, mangoes and dragon fruits to Australia. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Australia imports about US$1.7-2 billion worth of fruits and vegetables every year, while Vietnamese fruit and vegetable exports to Australia have reached just US$40 million plus per annum. Australia is expected to license many more fresh fruit imports from Vietnam providing Vietnamese exports meet Australia’s technical standards and quarantine regulations.

Australia has more than 400 investment projects totaling more than US$2 billion in registered capital in Vietnam, ranking 19th among 116 foreign investors in the country. Vietnamese businesses have started investing in Australia, with 50 projects worth a total of over US$500 million.

Nguyen Huong