Joint Statement on advancing Comprehensive Partnership toward Strategic Partnership between VN, New Zealand
15:09 | 13/03/2018

1. At the invitation of the Right Honorable Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, His Excellency Nguyen Xuan Phuc, paid an official visit to New Zealand on 12-14 March 2018.

2. An official welcome ceremony in honor of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc took place at Government House in Auckland on 13 March, followed by official talks and an official lunch with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. On the same day, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc called on Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives, the Right Honorable Trevor Mallard. Earlier, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc gave remarks at the Viet Nam – New Zealand Business Forum and received a number of New Zealand senior business leaders. During this visit, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited University of Waikato and Plant and Food Research.

Political cooperation

3. The two sides noted recent exchanges of high-level visits, including the state visit to Viet Nam by the Governor General of New Zealand, the His Excellency Lieutenant General the Right Honorable Sir Jerry Mateparae in August 2013; the official visit to New Zealand by the Prime Minister of Viet Nam, His Excellency Nguyen Tan Dung in March 2015; the official visit to Viet Nam by the Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Right Honorable John Key in November 2015; and the visit to Viet Nam by the Right Honorable Jacinda Ardern to attend the APEC Summit in November 2017. The two Leaders agreed to further intensify frequent high-level visits in both directions, as well as to maintain bilateral cooperation mechanisms, including the Joint Commission on Trade and Economics, Bilateral Defense Dialogue and Political Consultations, to exchange views on issues of mutual concern, such as climate change, regional architecture, consular services and cooperation on human rights issues, among others.

4. Noting the positive momentum in the relationship since the establishment of the Comprehensive Partnership in 2009, the two Prime Ministers agreed to advance the Comprehensive Partnership and assigned relevant ministries and branches of both sides to actively and effectively realize the Plan of Action 2017-2020 as well as to expeditiously conclude talks and consultations by 2019 on a Strategic Partnership elevation in the near future as mutually agreed.

Defense and security

5. The two sides acknowledged the recent positive developments in bilateral defense cooperation such as the signing of the New Zealand-Viet Nam Three Year Defense Cooperation Action Plan 2018-2021 and the Peacekeeping Operations Training and Cooperation Implementing Arrangement, as well as high-level defense visits in both directions. The two leaders also welcomed further broader security and defense cooperation, including in military industries and research, cyber security, anti-terrorism, countering drug-trafficking and money laundering, and illegal migration. Both sides agreed to discuss existing and other possible legal corridors for cooperation in these areas.

Trade and investment

6. The Prime Ministers noted that trade between the two countries is now at a historic high with two-way trade in goods and services reaching a record US$1.24 billion in 2017, representing a 32% increase over 2016 and a tripling of goods trade since 2009. The two Leaders expressed confidence that the target of US$1.7 billion in two-way trade could be reached by 2020 accordingly. They welcomed the signing of the Arrangement on Economic and Trade Cooperation on this occasion, and requested the early convening of the 6th meeting of the Joint Commission on Trade and Investment.

7. Both sides committed to individual and joint actions to reduce barriers to bilateral trade, especially for agricultural products. The establishment of a dedicated Agricultural Counselor in the New Zealand Embassy later this year was noted as an important step in this regard. The announcement of the Import Health Standard Export Plan for Rambutan and the signature of a Food Safety and Quality Management Cooperation Arrangement during the visit were further signs of positive cooperation. The Leaders noted that Customs cooperation and the proposed Customs joint work program would also further facilitate trade between the two countries. 

8. The two Prime Ministers noted that investment between the two countries had yet to reach its potential. Both Leaders agreed to encourage investment, including in areas such as high-tech agriculture, green and renewable energy and infrastructure.

Development cooperation

9. The Prime Ministers welcomed the positive impact made by New Zealand’s development aid to Viet Nam, highlighting flagship projects in dragon fruit commercialization, safe vegetable production, dam safety, scholarships and English language training. Up to NZ$29 million would be invested by New Zealand in the three year period up to July 2018. The two Leaders committed to substantial cooperation in the years ahead, sharing New Zealand skills and technologies to make a practical difference in areas of Vietnamese priority such as agriculture, disaster risk management, knowledge and skills, and renewable energy; and to build stronger and lasting connections between the two countries’ government agencies, universities, research institutes, businesses and NGOs. The Prime Ministers agreed to an enhanced annual consultation mechanism on development cooperation led by the Viet Nam Ministry of Planning and Investment and its New Zealand counterpart.

10. On this occasion, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced two new projects, namely, a three-year partnership supporting Vietnamese farmers and food processors to modernize production, generate safer food and improve incomes (NZ$1.5million); and a pilot renewable energy project supporting the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Viet Nam with the tools to develop the wholesale electricity market enabling greater efficiency and renewable energy uptake (NZ$0.5 million).

11. The Leaders welcomed the newly signed Memorandum of Understanding between Plant and Food Research New Zealand and Generalexim of Viet Nam to improve avocado production in Dak Nong province and a new project to reduce pre- and post-harvest loss through safely reducing rodent damage on rice crops between Landcare Research of New Zealand and Viet Nam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Both projects were facilitated by New Zealand’s Government to Government Partnerships Office.

Education and training

12. The Prime Ministers noted that education and training cooperation between New Zealand and Viet Nam is strong, expanding rapidly and is one of the pillars of both today's relationship and future Strategic Partnership. The two Leaders appreciated the signing of the renewed Strategic Engagement Plan on Education 2018-2020, and set the target to increase the number of Vietnamese students in New Zealand by 30% by 2020 facilitating further student exchanges, university-to-university joint programs and other cooperation in both countries.

13. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc welcomed the regular promotion and operation of the Working Holiday Scheme and expressed Viet Nam's readiness to receive New Zealand citizens under this Scheme.

Connectivity and people-to-people contacts

14. The two Prime Ministers noted that tourism between both countries is growing rapidly with Viet Nam visitors to New Zealand expanding by over 32% and New Zealand tourists to Viet Nam by more than 19% in the last year, boosted by the establishment of direct flights by Air New Zealand between Auckland and Ho Chi Minh City in 2016.  Both Leaders called for the expansion of air links and to further promote travel between the two countries. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed the inclusion of New Zealand in Viet Nam’s e-visa program as a very positive step streamlining entry for New Zealand tourists, following New Zealand’s implementation in 2016 of e-visas for Viet Nam visitors.

15. The two sides recognize the success of the Vietnamese community in New Zealand and highly value their contribution to the development of Viet Nam and New Zealand as well as to the better promotion of bilateral relations.

Regional and international cooperation

16. Both countries continue to work closely in multilateral and regional forums, such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM+) process, and the East Asia Summit (EAS), in order to enhance regional prosperity, address regional security challenges and enhance cooperation on issues of mutual interest.

17. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reiterated New Zealand’s support for Viet Nam’s candidature for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2020-21 term, and extended an offer to share advice and experience gained from New Zealand’s successful term in 2015-16 with Viet Nam.

18. New Zealand and Viet Nam recognize the critical importance of deepening regional economic integration and supporting trade liberalization across the Asia-Pacific region to ensure the prosperity of both countries. Both Leaders welcomed the signature of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) on 8 March 2018 in Chile and reiterated their commitment to swift ratification and implementation of the agreement in the coming months. Both Leaders reaffirmed their interest in achieving a modern, comprehensive, high quality and mutually beneficial outcome in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement negotiations. The two sides agreed to continue cooperation to further fossil fuel subsidy reform.

19. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern conveyed congratulations to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc for Viet Nam’s successful hosting of APEC in 2017 and welcomed Viet Nam’s offer to share its experience to support New Zealand’s preparations to host APEC in 2021.

20. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc welcomed the growing cooperation between ASEAN and New Zealand, especially in areas which help ASEAN successfully build up the ASEAN Community. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reiterated New Zealand's strong support for ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional architecture. In the important year of 2020, when Viet Nam alternatively chairs ASEAN, ASEAN and New Zealand will commemorate the 45th anniversary of establishing a Dialogue Partnership and the 5th anniversary of Strategic Partnership, and Viet Nam welcomed any New Zealand initiatives to enrich these milestones.

21. Both sides emphasized the importance of maintaining peace, security and stability in the South China Sea through implementation of international legal obligations in good faith, respect for legal and diplomatic processes, peaceful resolution of disputes, and maintenance of freedom of navigation and overflight in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Both Leaders encouraged the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in its entirety as well as the swift conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct for the South China Sea.

22. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc expressed his gratitude to the Government and people of New Zealand for the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc extended an invitation for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to pay an official visit to Viet Nam at a mutually convenient time. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also forwarded the invitation of President Tran Dai Quang for the Governor General of New Zealand, Her Excellency the Right Honorable Dame Patsy Reddy to pay a state visit to Viet Nam at her convenience.

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