Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung arrived in Auckland city of New Zealand on March 19, beginning his two-day official visit to the country at the invitation of New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key.

The two PMs held talks immediately after the welcome ceremony for the Vietnamese government head.

Prime Minister Dung’s visit aims to consolidate and further deepen the bilateral Comprehensive Partnership, thus expanding all-around cooperation.

Vietnam and New Zealand established diplomatic relations in June 1975 and upgraded their relations to the Comprehensive Partnership level in September 2009.

The two nations maintain high-level visit exchange, while effectively operating mechanisms such as the Deputy Foreign Minister-level political consultation, the Joint Trade and Economic Commission (JTEC), the defence consultation and the annual consultation on Vietnam-New Zealand development cooperation.

Two-way trade saw an annual 20-percent growth, hitting 750 million USD in 2013 from only 300 million USD in 2009. This figure during the first nine months of last year was 590 million USD, up 14 percent against the same period of 2013.

New Zealand ranks 42nd amongst the 101 countries and territories investing in Vietnam. Meanwhile, Vietnam is the 20th largest trade partner of New Zealand.

New Zealand’s official development assistance (ODA) provision for Vietnam surged to over 7.7 million USD in 2012-2013 from only 2.4 million USD in 2003-2004.

At present, around 2,000 Vietnamese students are studying in New Zealand. The two governments inked a cooperation agreement on education and training in the 2012-2015 period during Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to New Zealand in 2012. The New Zealand side continues to run scholarship programmes for Vietnamese students to study in its universities.

The number of overseas Vietnamese living in New Zealand is about 5,000.-VNA