Vietnam and Australia should take advantage of the free trade agreement between the latter, ASEAN and New Zealand to boost bilateral economic cooperation, especially in food safety and hygiene, natural resources and energy exploitation.

President Truong Tan Sang made the comments while receiving Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr in the capital on March 28.

He urged both sides to complete targets for the Vietnam- Australia Action Plan 2010- 2013 as well as prepare contents for the coming period.

While highly appreciating Australia ’s ODA to Vietnam , the President called on the country to continue its support of Vietnam ’s standpoints and viewpoints and help it in its confirmation as a reliable and responsible international partner.

The Australia Minister thanked Vietnam for its support at regional and international forums, additionally praising the two countries’ cooperation in public-private partnership (PPP), infrastructure construction, coping with climate change, education and training.

Carr asked Vietnam for further cooperation at ASEAN, ASEM, APEC, and United Nations events while strengthening diplomacy.

He invited the Vietnamese president to visit Australia in celebration of the 40 th year of establishing diplomatic ties next year.

The same day, Carr met with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh to discuss regional and international issues of mutual concern.

They agreed to boost exchanges and mutual support both regionally and internationally as well as cooperation in coping with natural disasters and climate change.

The two FMs affirmed to closely collaborate in specific cooperation fields within the framework of the Australia-Vietnam Action Programme in the 2010-2013 period.

FM Bob Carr reiterated that Australia considers Vietnam as one of its key partners in the Asia-Pacific and its government will continue giving priority to Vietnam in official development assistance.

For his part, FM Minh proposed an early signing of an agreement on working holiday programme soon.

On the day, the visiting Australian FM visited KOTO restaurant run by KOTO organisation, the non-profitable vocational training centre, which has to date trained restaurant and hotel services for more than 300 young people facing extreme difficulties.-VNA