Vietnam, New Zealand enhance ties in education, weather intelligence, sustainable timber trade

09:02 | 02/11/2019 Cooperation

(VEN) - During his October 28-30 Vietnam visit, the New Zealand Finance Minister witnessed the signing of three agreements towards stepping up bilateral multifaceted cooperation.

Grant Robertson, who is the Minister of Finance, Sports and Recreation, first witnessed on October 29 the signing of a Collaboration Arrangement between Education New Zealand (ENZ) and Hanoi Department of Education and Training (DOET).

Under the new arrangement, ENZ and Hanoi DOET will develop a capacity building framework across a variety of areas; including training and development for students in Hanoi, scholarships offered by New Zealand institutions. It will also include industry engagement, improving institution to institution partnerships, as well as assessment and training for the city’s teachers and education leaders. The purpose of the capacity building framework is to help prepare the future workforce of Vietnam with the skills needed to boost Hanoi’s impressive economic growth.

The number of Vietnamese student in New Zealand grew 30 per cent in 2016 – 2018, with 2,772 Vietnamese students studying in New Zealand in the last academic year.

John Laxon, Education New Zealand’s Regional Director for Asia, said: “Vietnamese students are increasingly choosing to study in New Zealand, recognising that New Zealand’s education system equips them with the independent thinking, problem solving, and collaboration skills required to have a successful career.

“New Zealand has been consistently ranked as the best English-speaking education system in the world in preparing students for the future of work by the Economist Intelligence Unit's Educating for the Future Index. Vietnamese families can be confident that their children will become better students and better leaders by experiencing a world-class New Zealand education.”

Next month, ENZ will host student workshops in both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi on “Sustainable Business” and “Skills for Future of Work.” Students and families can find out more about the New Zealand study experience at www.studyinnewzealand.govt.nz.

Also on October 29, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in Hanoi between the Meteorological Service of New Zealand (MetService, trading as MetraWeather) and HYMETEC (Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Technology Applications) of Vietnam Meteorological and Hydrological Administration (VNMHA).

The MoU would form a foundation for both sides to work more closely on providing timely weather-related information for broadcast and online applications in Vietnam, ensuring rapid updates and timely warnings. This partnership will bring MetraWeather’s state-of-the-art Weatherscape XT solution to local broadcasters in Vietnam and provide more accurate forecasting and severe weather warning information.

Thomas Sutherland, General Manager Asia of MetraWeather, said: “MetraWeather has always recognised the importance of accurate and timely presentation of weather and environmental information. This is at the heart of our philosophy and we feel privileged to have been selected by Vietnam Meteorological and Hydrological Administration to contribute to the realisation of this vision.”

On October 30, Sequal Holdings Limited of New Zealand and VinaFor Saigon signed a distribution agreement.

Under the agreement the New Zealand firm will provide custom cut Radiata pine wood to VinaFor’s manufacturers, helping reduce waste and inventory build-up.

Radiata pine wood from New Zealand is a sustainable plantation timber. It is versatile and used across a range of applications from paper, construction, panelling and flooring to timber frames for furniture.

Radiata pine’s dimensional stability is a crucial wood property for interior fittings and joinery uses and it has low shrinkage, which contributes to its stability. With good resistance to splitting, it can be nailed or jointed efficiently which is another important attribute.

New Zealand’s ambassador to Vietnam, Wendy Matthews, said the deal highlights the potential for Sequal Holdings Limited and other New Zealand wood companies to increase exports of Radiata pine wood to Vietnam.

"Forestry is an important sector for New Zealand and it is a significant contributor to our trade relationship with Vietnam. New Zealand’s timber exports to Vietnam were valued at NS$80 million in the year ending 2018, making this our second largest goods export sector,” she said.

Rhys Arrowsmith, Sequal Holdings Limited’s Head of Sales and Marketing Asia said: "The foundation of this agreement is to give more by challenging and transforming the traditional supplier-customer model and to work together to help meet Vietnam’s furniture industry’s bold 2025 export aspirations.

“We’re committed to providing our partners in Vietnam with high-quality Radiata pine that meets their needs for quality, sustainability and value. This agreement represents an important milestone by providing 100% Forest Sustainability Council certified wood to help our partners grow their business sustainably,” he said.

To Ngoc Ngoi, VinaFor Saigon General Director, said: "We have imported New Zealand Radiata pine since 2001. Over 19 years, we have seen that this wood species provides a sustainable and reliable source of timber material for Vietnamese furniture manufacturers. Beyond this agreement, we would like to improve market awareness for sourcing legal wood to take advantage of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership – CPTPP."

Vietnam-New Zealand trade has grown strongly in recent years, with bilateral trade more than tripling since 2009, when the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) Agreement was signed.

New Zealand and Vietnam will celebrate 45 years of diplomatic relations next year.

My Phung