Vietnam and Australia should step up legislative relations, people exchanges and cultural and sports cooperation, along with developing cooperative ties between governments, ministries and sectors.

Party General Secretary cum National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong made these suggestions while receiving Australian Governor General Quentin Bryce in Hanoi on May 9.

Trong said Vietnam and Australia should fully tap the advantages offered by the ASEAN – Australia – New Zealand Free Trade Agreement to become one of each other’s 10 biggest economic partners.

Bryce told her host that Australia places importance on promoting the Comprehensive Partnership with Vietnam in all spheres, including politics, economics, trade, investment, science, technology, culture, education and training.

The Governor General said the two sides need to actively implement agreements signed recently between high-ranking leaders of the two nations, as well as the Plan of Action to realise the Comprehensive Partnership in the 2010-2013 period.

Bryce also reiterated Australia ’s commitment to assist Vietnam in designing and building Cao Lanh bridge in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap , as part of the Central Mekong Connectivity Project.

Also on May 9, Bryce was received by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, who hailed the Governor General’s current visit as an important contribution to bringing the bilateral relationship to a new level and further strengthening the Vietnam-Australia Comprehensive Partnership.

Having spoken highly of the results of the earlier talks between Bryce and State President Nguyen Minh Triet, PM Dung said Vietnam would work closely with Australia to carry out the signed cooperation programmes and the outcomes reached at the talks.

The PM noted with pleasure that despite the adverse impacts of the global financial crisis, bilateral economic relations have grown strongly, with two-way trade increasing sharply and many Australian-invested projects being deployed in Vietnam.

Based on fine political ties, PM Dung suggested Vietnam and Australia fully tap their own potentials and advantages to step up economic, trade and investment cooperation for mutual benefit and development.

The leader urged Australia to increase scholarships for Vietnamese students, to continue providing official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam and to create more favourable conditions for Overseas Vietnamese who are studying and working in Australia .

While affirming that Australia always attaches importance to developing its comprehensive cooperation with Vietnam , Bryce requested Vietnam create better conditions for Australian businesses to make long-term investments in the Southeast Asian country.

The Governor-General said Australia would continue to beef up educational cooperation with Vietnam and provide effective assistance to the nation in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The same day, Bryce had an informal meeting with people living with HIV at the National Women’s Museum where she shared experiences with people who are working to reduce the stigma and
discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS.

Australia is an active partner in Vietnam ’s response to HIV and has greatly contributed to national efforts to explore and implement new approaches to the matter. The country is now the co-chair of the Ambassadors/UN Heads of Agency Informal HIV Co-ordination Group./.