Vietnam is currently New Zealand’s 16th biggest trade partner and the fastest growing economy among the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which have trade relations with New Zealand.
According to Vietnam’s General Department of Customs, trade in goods between the two countries reached about US$906 million in 2017, a 26.6 percent increase from 2016, including US$425 million worth of Vietnamese exports to New Zealand and US$401 million worth of Vietnamese imports.
Including trade in services, bilateral trade revenues increased to US$1.2 billion in 2017, a 37 percent increase from 2016. The figure stood at US$779 million in the first nine months of this year, a 10.8 percent increase from a year ago, including US$357.8 million worth of Vietnamese exports and US$421.2 million worth of Vietnamese imports.
In terms of investment, New Zealand currently has 32 direct investment projects in Vietnam with total registered capital of US$102.8 million, taking 45th place among the 128 countries and territories investing in Vietnam. New Zealand’s investments in Vietnam focus on manufacturing & processing, education & training, agriculture, forestry & fisheries, construction, information & communications, hotels & restaurants, arts, and entertainment.
Vietnam currently has eight investment projects in New Zealand with total registered capital of more than US$30 million, focusing on manufacturing & processing, wholesale & retail, automobile and motorbike repair, restaurants, and farming.
According to experts, given the recent growth and economic cooperation advantages, the two countries are likely to achieve the goal of NZD2.5 billion or US$1.7 billion in two-way trade in goods and services by 2020.
Trade and investment facilitation
The achievements are the result of efforts by the governments and businesses of the two countries, including the effective cooperation mechanism applied by the Joint Trade and Economic Commission between Vietnam and New Zealand.
At the Sixth Meeting of the Joint Trade and Economic Commission between Vietnam and New Zealand held recently in Hanoi and chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh and the New Zealand Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade Vangelis Vitalis, the two sides agreed to enhance cooperation in major fields.
The two parties shared their top concerns about cooperation in trade and economics in the context of unpredictable changes in trade in the region and the world at large. They also agreed to continue close coordination in order to improve facilitation in trade, investment, agricultural marketing and prioritized areas such as high-tech farming, trade in agricultural products, human resource training, tourism, e-government, and promotion of trade, investment and tourism.
Tran Quoc Khanh said Vietnam asked New Zealand to continue its support for localities in Vietnam to help them develop export value chains for fruits, pepper, coffee, cashew and more, establish brand names, set up origin verification systems, apply farming technology, and build capacity in agriculture. Localities also seek help from New Zealand in implementing food safety, coping with natural calamities and climate change, expanding e-government, and teaching English to state officials.
New Zealand addressed opportunities for cooperation in trade and services, like aviation, tourism and education, while asking Vietnam to facilitate investment in education and tourism, and bilateral cooperation in food safety.
In addition, the two sides agreed to continue association and mutual support in cooperation frameworks, such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
Apart from the advantages of the AANZFTA, which took effect in January 2010, the CPTPP, which was inked on March 8, 2018 in Chile, is expected to deepen relations between the two countries and related countries by enabling trade in goods and services, boosting investment flows and tightening ties.
Vietnam and New Zealand are joining negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with nine ASEAN countries and ASEAN’s five partners including Australia, Japan, China, the Republic of Korea, and India. The agreement is expected to be the biggest of its kind in the world, helping create ample jobs and a huge export market for both Vietnam and New Zealand.
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