Hanoi and Canberra have made efforts to support the mutual goal of becoming top 10 trading partners and doubling two-way investment in the strategy which is due for completion in late 2021.
|Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Australia's Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie. Photo: VGP|
The two countries have made impressive progress preparing the Australia-Vietnam Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy (EEES), which focused on key sectors of current and future economic importance to both nations, reported at the meeting in Hanoi on Oct 15 between Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie.
In the first eight months this year, the two-way trade surpassed US$8 billion, up 50.7% on-year, according to Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).
Economic engagement is one of three pillars in bilateral relations since they upgraded the relationship to Strategic Partnership in 2018.
The EEES, which in 2019 Vietnam’s Former Prime Minister Phuc and Australia’s Prime Minister Morrison agreed to develop, will not only reinforce the two countries’ shared commitment to trade liberalization and economic connectivity but also assist with economic recovery given the economic challenges and uncertainty posed by Covid-19.
Australia and Vietnam have the advantage of highly complementary economies and a mutually beneficial economic partnership that helps leverage existing partnerships and foster engagement with key stakeholders.
At the meeting, the PM and the Ambassador discussed the depth and breadth of engagement between the two countries under the Australia-Vietnam Strategic Partnership.
As a close friend and partner of Vietnam, Ambassador Mudie reaffirmed Australia’s strong support for Vietnam’s response to Covid-19 and its economic recovery.
The Ambassador discussed Australia’s recent announcement that it would increase its vaccine support to Vietnam to 5.2 million doses and its total support for Covid-19 response to AUD60 million (US$44.5 million). The first batch of 700,000 doses had been delivered to Vietnam with more deliveries expected in the coming weeks and months.
PM Chinh thanked the Government of Australia’s donations that include vaccines and medical equipment after his phone talk with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison.
He emphasized the need to promote trade and investment in the EEES, including the Plan of Action for 2020-2023, and expected Australia to open doors to Vietnam’s farm produce and seafood, increase official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam, support the Vietnamese community in Australia, and provide more scholarship to Vietnamese students.
During the meeting, the two sides also exchanged views on regional and security issues, including Indo-Pacific region and both countries’ shared interest based on rules, norms, and international law.
In 2018, the strategic partnership also spanned strategic defense and security cooperation; knowledge and innovation partnerships to continue providing momentum to the relationship.
Reflecting the deepening of defense and security cooperation, in March this year Australia transported personnel and equipment for Vietnam’s Level 2 Field Hospital in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) for a third time using Australian strategic lift aircraft.
In September, Vietnam hosted Australia’s Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2021 Task Group comprising three Royal Australian Navy vessels and approximately 700 Australian Defense Force personnel.
Meanwhile, the Australia-Vietnam Innovation Partnership (Aus4Innovation) continues to build linkages between Australian and Vietnamese universities, research agencies, high-tech businesses, and policymakers to help strengthen Vietnam’s innovation ecosystem.
Through this program, Australian and Vietnamese experts are working together to deliver sustainable socio-economic development and support Covid-19 recovery efforts.