Vietnam and Australia have agreed on a package of measures to comprehensively boost bilateral relations, especially through the exchange of people-to-people activities.

The consensus was reached during talks on April 11 between Australia ’s Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan, and visiting Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

They said they were both satisfied with the developments in the two countries’ comprehensive partnership in all areas, ranging from politics, diplomacy, national defence and security, to economics, trade, investment, education and training and culture and tourism.

They declared they would ensure that the Vietnam-Australia plan of action for 2010-2013 will progress on schedule and events to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their diplomatic ties in 2013 will be jointly held.

Both were upbeat about the annual increase in two-way trade, which reached 4.6 billion USD in 2011, up 12 percent over 2010.

They agreed to facilitate trade and investment promotions and to enable businesses from both countries to establish partnerships in several areas including energy, mining, processing industries and services.

Australia will work closely with Vietnam to raise economic and trade cooperation to a par equal to their political ties and potential for development, said Swan.

Both Deputy PMs welcomed the positive developments in defence and security cooperation, especially the signing of an extradition agreement and a memorandum of understanding between Vietnam ’s Ministry of Justice and Australia ’s Attorney-General Department during this visit.

Australia will consider Vietnam ’s proposal to open a direct air route between Sydney and Hanoi , which will help to facilitate tourism, said Swan.

They both also agreed to step up joint projects in health care, culture, the movement of labour and human resources training.

Both countries will continue to liaise at multilateral forums and support each other when running for regional and international organisations, including agencies under the United Nations .

Swan confirmed that Australia will continue to work closely with Vietnam during the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

Both have placed a great deal of importance on ensuring peace, stability and security, as well as safe passage throughout the East Sea . They agreed that any disputes between concerned parties should be settled peacefully by respecting international laws, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Later the same day, Vietnam ’s Deputy Minister for Science and Technology Tran Viet Thanh met with senior officials from the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

Both sides were also committed to completing the negotiations for an agreement on science and technology to be signed in the first half of this year.

Deputy PM Phuc attended a meeting of the Australian National Council on Drugs and met with AusAid Director General Peter Baxter.-VNA