Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (L) and New Zealand’s Speaker of the House of Representatives David Carter (Source: VNA)
Wellington (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh suggested Vietnam and New Zealand forge their economic and trade ties in order to reach the bilateral trade target of 1.7 billion USD in 2020 set by their senior leaders.

The official made the proposal during his meetings with New Zealand’s Speaker of the House of Representatives David Carter, and Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister Bill English in Wellington on December 1. 

He called on the two countries to increase connectivity and cooperation between their businesses while seeking collaboration in new areas like banking, services and renewable energy, especially wind power which is the strength of New Zealand.

Minh spoke highly of New Zealand’s economic achievements, which, he said, have helped New Zealand become one of the ten economies of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recording the fastest and stable economic growth rate.

At the meetings, the two sides noted with pleasure the strong development of the Vietnam-New Zealand relationship, especially since the two countries established a comprehensive partnership in 2009 and issued a joint statement in March 2015, under which they agreed to enhance the comprehensive partnership towards a strategic partnership.
  
The regular exchange of high-ranking delegations, particularly in 2015 which marked the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties (1975-1945), has helped intensify mutual understanding between Vietnam and New Zealand, they said.

Two-way trade expanded by 20 percent annually over the past five years, exceeding 800 million USD in 2015, the officials stressed, commenting on the effective and pragmatic bilateral collaboration in national defence and security, agriculture, labour, culture and people-to-people exchanges.

The New Zealand side promised to join hands with Vietnam in speeding up the assessment of risks to Vietnamese agricultural products, thus facilitating their penetration into the New Zealand market.

Talking about the latest developments relating to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement to which Vietnam and New Zealand are signatories, they described free trade and integration as an irreversible trend.

The two sides pledged to continue their coordination and mutual support at regional and international forums to which they are members, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

The New Zealand side affirmed its backing for Vietnam as the host of the APEC Year in 2017.

David Carter said Vietnam is one of the priority partners with which New Zealand has early established the comprehensive partnership.

While expressing his delight at the thriving legislative ties and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, the speaker said the two sides should maintain the direct air route between Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City and Auckland city of New Zealand in a bid to boost trade, tourism and delegation exchanges.

For his part, Bill English highly valued Vietnam’s encouraging achievements in economic restructuring and growth model reform, saying New Zealand wants to cooperate with Vietnam in economy, finance, banking and State-owned enterprise restructuring.

New Zealand will continue to support Vietnam’s development by providing official development assistance (ODA) to the country, he said.
Later the same day, Deputy PM and FM Minh visited the Vietnamese Embassy in New Zealand. -VNA