Vietnam, Australia aim to become each other’s top 10 trade partner

Vietnam and Australia have agreed to build a strengthened economic cooperation strategy, aiming to become each other's top 10 trade partner and double two-way investment.

The agreement was reached at the talks between Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison in Hanoi on Friday. Prime Minister Morrison is on an official visit to Vietnam until Saturday.

During the talks, both leaders expressed their satisfaction over the strong, dynamic, and effective development of Vietnam-Australia ties, saying bilateral relations have great potential. They appreciated last year's two-way trade turnover of nearly 7.8 billion USD and Australia's investment worth 2 billion USD in nearly 500 projects in Vietnam. Both agreed to increase trade turnover to 10 billion USD next year.

PM Phuc suggested that both sides expand cooperation into defense industry, cyber security, and education link. PM Morrison agreed to increase bilateral cooperation in security. They said people exchanges have become vibrant via the development of cooperation in education, culture, tourism, labor, and sports.

Exchanging ideas on East Sea situation, both leaders voiced deep concern about East Sea developments, including the militarization and reclamation of disputed structures as well as obstruction of oil and gas projects which have already been implemented in the East Sea. They underscored the importance of maritime and aviation freedom, compliance with international law, and a rule-based order. The two Prime Ministers repeated that countries must continue to settle dispute through peaceful means and not to threaten to use force or use force. They underlined the importance of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS) as a dispute settlement mechanism and called on concerned parties to honor and implement decisions promulgated by this mechanism. The Vietnamese and Australian leaders reaffirmed the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), saying the Code of Conduct between ASEAN and China must fully abide by international law, especially UNCLOS.

After the talks, Prime Minister Phuc and Prime Minister Morrison witnessed the signing of 5 cooperative agreements in e-government, finance, anti-human trafficking, and aviation services.

Prime Minister Phuc told the press conference afterwards: We agree to remove trade barriers, continue to adopt incentives for investment into each other country, and work to increase trade of goods from 8 billion USD in 2018 to 10 billion USD in 2020. I welcome the Australian government for sending delegations of leading businesses and sectors to seek investment cooperation opportunities in Vietnam. The Vietnamese government applauds Australia's prioritized provision of ODA and is committed to effective use of this valuable assistance.

Source: VOV5