Vietnam-Australia to double down on economic cooperation

October 09, 2021 | 09:00
The Vietnam-Australia Economic Partnership Meeting has just approved the key content of the Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy (EEES) and its implementation plans for the 2021-2025 period.
Vietnam-Australia to double down on economic cooperation
Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung speaking at the Vietnam-Australia Economic Partnership Meeting

The meeting was co-chaired by Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung and Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism, and Investment Dan Tehan in the afternoon of October 8. This is an important step for the two governments to approve and sign the EEES soon.

At the meeting, Minister Nguyen Chi Dung said Vietnam had faced a lot of challenges in 2020 and the first nine months of 2021. The world economy was forecast to have the most severe recession in history, with the growth of key economies brought low by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the Vietnamese economy has reported several positive outcomes. GDP growth in 2020 was 2.91 per cent and in the first nine months was 1.42 per cent, making it one of the best performing countries in the world. Vietnam is trying to control the coronavirus to grow rapidly in the last quarter and reach 3-3.5 per cent GDP growth in the whole year.

Of this, the Vietnam-Australia strategy on strengthening economic cooperation plays an important role in implementing the 5-year socioeconomic development in 2021-2025. Vietnam targets to be a modern-industrial country by 2025, overcome the low middle-income trap, and improve the competitiveness of the economy, while synchronously carrying out various solutions to recover the economy after the pandemic.

Minister Dung said that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vietnam-Australia economic partnership has been developing well. As of the end of August, Australia was Vietnam's 10th-biggest trade partner, its 18th-largest export market, and the eighth-largest import market. Australia ranks 19th among 141 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, and 10th of the 78 investment destinations for Vietnamese enterprises.

Regarding development cooperation, Australia is one of the largest non-refundable official development assistance (ODA) providers to Vietnam. "ODA projects of Australia in Vietnam have contributed to the development of Vietnam and helped Vietnam to overcome challenges," said Dung.

The MPI minister also said that there is great potential for increased bilateral cooperation. Especially, the implementation of the EEES of the two countries will promote all the strength of the two countries and contribute to implementing the socioeconomic development goals set forth, maximising benefits for the two sides and their businesses communities.

Vietnam-Australia going to sign the strategy on strengthening economic cooperation
Vietnam and Australia will sign a strategy on strengthening economic cooperation

Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism, and Investment Dan Tehan said that the meeting has significantly contributed to the bilateral partnership on trade and investment to be commensurate with the strategic partnership of the two countries.

Meanwhile, Minister Dan Tehan pledged to provide more support to Vietnam. "We will give Vietnam 3.7 million of additional vaccine doses, in addition to the 1.5 million doses that I confirmed when I arrived in Vietnam in July. These 5.2 million doses in total and medical devices will contribute to increasing the coverage of vaccination in Vietnam and fighting against the coronavirus in the time coming," said the Australian minister.

Moreover, Australia has raised some more activities in Southeast Asia and Pacific to help other countries overcome the challenges of the pandemic, and improve the performance and transparency of the investment and trade system. The Australian minister pledged to support Vietnam in national security and technologies.

The implementation of the EEES is one of the important priorities of Australia, a foundation for bilateral economic cooperation in the future. "We are doing our utmost to become one of Vietnam's top ten leading trade partners," said Dan Tehan.

The two ministers expected the EEES to be approved by the two governments soon.

Highly appreciating the work of the two countries' working groups on investment, trade, and development cooperation, Minister Dung said that the MPI and other related agencies will collaborate with Australian counterparts to carry out agreements.

Also at the meeting, businesses like Hoa Phat Group, Vietcombank, and TH True Milk from Vietnam, and Aurecon, Sunrice, and The Bean Centre from Australia that are pioneering investment and trade cooperation, pledged long-term commitment in the partner country. "These businesses are assigned an important mission, not only to bring benefits to themselves but also lead and encourage other businesses to cooperate on investment, benefiting both countries," emphasised Dung.

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