Vietnam looks towards strategic partnership with New Zealand hinh anh 1Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (L) presents a special gift to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during their meeting in Vietnam's central Da Nang city in November 2017. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to New Zealand from March 12-14 is a reiteration of Vietnam’s policy of attaching importance to its diplomatic ties with the country, looking towards a strategic partnership and enhanced cooperation in major spheres.

Vietnam and New Zealand officially set up diplomatic ties on June 19, 1975.

They established comprehensive partnership in September 2009, which created a new momentum for the bilateral cooperation in all fields, both bilaterally and multilaterally, for the sake of the two countries’ people, as well as for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world at large.

The relationship has developed strongly in recent years, as reflected through high-level visits and meetings, along with the exchange of delegations and citizens of the two countries. 

New Zealand always treasures ties with Vietnam and considers the country an important factor in its policy towards Asia-Pacific.

During the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in Vietnam’s central Da Nang city in November 2017, the two countries signed an action programme for 2017-2020, aiming to deepen the bilateral relations more firmly and stably in the time ahead.

The programme has charted orientations for the relationship in the next four years, focusing on collaboration in politics, national defence and security, economy and trade, and development support and people-to-people exchange.

Trade between Vietnam and New Zealand has expanded by about 20 percent annually, from 707 million USD in 2016 to 907.5 million USD last year. The figure is expected to reach 1.7 billion USD in 2020, making economic cooperation a pillar of the bilateral ties.

Currently, Vietnam is New Zealand’s 16th largest import market and the country’s19th biggest export market.

In the field of agriculture, Vietnam ships fruits, cashew nuts, coffee, pepper and seafood to New Zealand. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s agricultural exports to Vietnam make up more than 60 percent of the country’s total export revenue to the Southeast Asian nation, mainly dairy products, garment-textile materials, fruits, wood materials and minerals.

Thanks to close and effective collaboration between Vietnamese and New Zealand agricultural agencies in terms of quarantine, other agricultural products of Vietnam have been sold in NZ, such as tra fish, Hoa Loc mango and dragon fruit.

In the realm of investment, as of the end of December 2017, New Zealand had run 29 valid projects in Vietnam with total registered capital of some 102.4 million USD, ranking 45th among 125 countries and territories investing in the country.

New Zealand has increased its investments in such sectors as agriculture, renewable energy and infrastructure in Vietnam, while helping the country improve capacity and technology for the production, manufacturing and preservation of farm produce in order to meet high standards of the international market.

New Zealand always offers stable and annually increasing official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam, focusing on social welfare, agriculture and rural development, human resources development, and natural disaster and climate change management and combat.

The country has committed 26.66 million NZD (18.6 million USD) to Vietnam between July 2015 and June 2018.

The affiliation in culture-education has also created a firm foundation for the relationship, with about 2,500 Vietnamese students studying in New Zealand.

At regional and international forums, Vietnam and New Zealand have maintained their close coordination and mutual support, particularly within ASEAN mechanisms, the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the UN.

Vietnam highly values New Zealand’s stance on the East Sea issue in the spirit of respect for international law and wishes that the country will continue to support the stance and viewpoints of Vietnam as well as ASEAN on this issue.

New Zealand Ambassador to Vietnam Wendy Matthews said the connectivity between Vietnamese and New Zealanders is developing and the year 2018 is expected to witness more hallmarks in the bilateral ties.

The diplomat held that the two countries still have a lot of potential for cooperation in trade, economy, education and tourism.-VNA