Chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong (R) welcomes Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – Ho Chi Minh City wants to enhance cooperation with Australia in the fields of education, hi-tech agriculture, start-up ecosystem development, and smart urban building.

The statement was made by Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong at his meeting in the city on May 25 with Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove.

Phong expressed his delight at strong development of the two countries’ relations, especially in the context of the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties and the 20th anniversary of defence ties.

In a local angle, as of April, Australia had run 182 investment projects in Ho Chi Minh City with a total capital of 188 million USD. Two-way trade reached 915 million USD last year. Australia was ranked among top ten in terms of the number of tourists to the city with 273,000 arrivals in 2017.

According to Phong, last year, low-cost carrier Jetstar launched two direct air routes linking Ho Chi Minh City with Australia’s Melbourne and Sydney. Another low-cost carrier Vietjet Air also has a plan to open an air route connecting the city with Australia’s Brisbane in early 2019.

This will be a driving force for the development of the two sides’ relations, not only in tourism, but also in other fields, he added.

He took the occasion to show his hope that the Governor-General will maintain his back for Vietnam, including Ho Chi Minh City, during its renewal, international integration and nation building process.

Cosgrove said that Australia treasures its ties with Ho Chi Minh City, a dynamic city in terms of economic development in the world.

According to him, Australia’s investment in Vietnam, including Ho Chi Minh City, will increase in the time to come, particularly in the fields of innovation and education.

During his visit this time, he will discuss with Vietnamese students at RMIT University about innovation, and with young entrepreneurs about the Australia-Vietnam relations.

He also suggested the two countries boost tourism cooperation through the opening of direct air routes.-VNA