Press Release – New Zealand Government

Joint statement on enhancing the Comprehensive Partnership between the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and New ZealandJohn Key

19 MARCH, 2015

Joint statement on enhancing the Comprehensive Partnership between the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and New Zealand

1. At the invitation of the Rt Hon John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam His Excellency Nguyen Tan Dung paid an official visit to New Zealand during 19-20 March 2015.

2. An official welcoming ceremony in honour of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung took place at Government House in Auckland on 19 March, which was followed by official talks with Prime Minister John Key and an official lunch, involving senior Ministers and leaders from both New Zealand and Viet Nam. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung also called on the Governor General of New Zealand, His Excellency Lt General the Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, the Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives, the Rt Hon David Carter, and the Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Little. On 20 March, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung presided over a business breakfast with representation from senior New Zealand business leaders, and visited Auckland University of Technology to meet with Vietnamese and New Zealand students.

3. Both leaders welcomed the remarkable progress in the bilateral relationship since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Viet Nam and New Zealand on 19 June 1975, and welcomed the programme of activities and events planned in both countries to mark the important milestone of 40 years of diplomatic relations during 2015. Both sides also noted the commemoration of 40 years of relations between New Zealand and ASEAN during 2015, and recognised the strength of the existing Comprehensive Partnership between New Zealand and ASEAN.

4. The two leaders reviewed progress in the relationship since the establishment of the Comprehensive Partnership between New Zealand and Viet Nam in 2009. The two sides welcomed efforts to implement the Comprehensive Partnership Action Plans of 2010-2013 and 2013-2016, and noted the value of existing coordination mechanisms between the two countries, including the Joint Trade and Economic Commission which had met most recently in November 2014, the Political Consultations between the two Foreign Ministries (with the next meeting scheduled during 2015), the 2015 high-level Strategic Defence Dialogue and the annual bilateral Defence Talks, and the valuable Track II dialogue between the Diplomatic Academy of Viet Nam and the Asia NZ Foundation, which had met in February 2015.

5. The two sides noted recent high level visits in both directions, including the Head of State visit to Viet Nam by the Governor General of New Zealand, His Excellency Lt General the Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, in August 2013. The two leaders welcomed important new agreements between the two countries, including the Double Taxation Agreement (2013) and the Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation (2013), and on 19 March witnessed the signing of two new agreements: the Arrangement on Food Safety and other Sanitary and Phytosanitary Issues, and the new Protocol to amend the bilateral Air Services Agreement between New Zealand and Viet Nam.

6. The two leaders noted the level of two-way goods trade at June 2014 at over US$800 million, representing 120% growth in the five years since the Comprehensive Partnership was signed, as well as increased balance in trade. The two leaders further expressed confidence that the aspirational target of US$1 billion in annual two way goods and services trade by the end of 2015 would be achieved. The two sides agreed to continue to encourage maximum uptake of all available opportunities and benefits available under the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) by the respective business communities.

7. The two sides reaffirmed the importance of sectoral strategic engagement in the five focus areas identified in the 2013-2016 Action Plan which offer particular potential for bilateral benefit, namely: agriculture and agribusiness; education; aviation; clean technology, environmental management and disaster risk management; and tourism.

8. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung highly appreciated the effective development assistance provided by the New Zealand Government to Viet Nam, with a focus on agriculture, skills and knowledge, and disaster risk management. Prime Minister John Key highlighted New Zealand’s intention to continue to provide development assistance to Viet Nam, noting the transition in New Zealand’s approach towards funding strategic partnerships between Vietnamese and New Zealand organisations focused on transferring New Zealand knowledge and technology to address critical development issues. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung also noted New Zealand’s introduction to a proposed new mode of cooperation with Viet Nam, named Government-to-Government Commercial Partnerships, which provide an opportunity for Viet Nam to access world-class New Zealand Government Intellectual Property.

9. The two sides reiterated with appreciation the excellent and close coordination between the two countries in regional fora such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM+) process, and the East Asia Summit, recognising the importance of these fora in enhancing and maintaining regional prosperity and in addressing regional security challenges. The two leaders reiterated their commitment to concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in the coming months, resulting in a high-quality, comprehensive 21st century Agreement, and reaffirmed their interest in concluding negotiations for a modern, comprehensive, high quality Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement which significantly builds on existing ASEAN+1 FTAs.

10. The two sides agreed to continue to consult and work closely together, wherever possible, on key international issues such as multilateral trade initiatives, global peace and security, including through cooperation on climate change and other environmental issues. New Zealand and Viet Nam expressed a commitment to further enhance cooperation with peacekeeping training. Both sides welcomed the support provided for their respective candidacies in multilateral bodies, and expressed a commitment to continue such support wherever possible. Prime Minister John Key again expressed New Zealand’s gratitude for Viet Nam’s strong support for New Zealand’s candidature for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2015-16 term and expressed its support for Viet Nam’s successful hosting of APEC in 2017. New Zealand and Viet Nam emphasized the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the region and peaceful resolution of maritime disputes in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

11. Recognising the considerable progress in the relationship since the signing of the Comprehensive Partnership in 2009, and following the success of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to New Zealand during 19-20 March, the two leaders agreed to further deepen and intensify the existing Comprehensive Partnership toward the establishment of a Strategic Partnership in the coming time, with the following components:

• Increase the frequency of Leader level visits, with the goal of exchanging Leader level visits in each direction on average once every three years;

• An aspirational target to double bilateral goods and services trade from the current level of US$860 million to US$1.7 billion by 2020;

• The development and implementation of ‘strategic engagement plans’ in two key areas of mutual benefit, agriculture/agribusiness and education;

• Jointly pursue the goal of increasing the number of Vietnamese students studying in New Zealand from the current average level of 2000 students per year;

• Continued strengthening of air linkages between the two countries, including through regular review of the bilateral Air Services Agreement, and the goal of direct air links by 2017;

• Development of a ‘connectivity’ plan between the two countries, designed to raise awareness and interest of the public in New Zealand and Viet Nam respectively, including enhancements to the promotion and operation of the Working Holiday Scheme, development of practical mechanisms such as young business and political leaders’ exchange programmes, as well as other mechanisms to enhance education, tourism and cultural linkages;

• Jointly review the level of the partnership by 2020 with a view to elevating the relationship to a Strategic Partnership.

12. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung expressed his gratitude to the Government and the people of New Zealand for the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung also extended an invitation for Prime Minister John Key to visit Viet Nam as soon as possible. Prime Minister John Key accepted the invitation with pleasure. Dates for the visit will be finalised through the diplomatic channel.

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