New Zealand Embassy Ha Noi, Viet Nam

New Zealand Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade holds talks in Hanoi

Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade and NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade CEO Mr John Allen visited Hanoi on 18-19 April for talks with Vietnamese counterparts.

A primary aim of the visit was to participate in Foreign Ministry Consultations with a delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs led by Vice Minister H.E. Mr Dao Viet Trung.

The purpose of these biennial talks is to take the pulse of the bilateral relationship between New Zealand and Viet Nam; and to discuss regional and global issues of mutual interest. Both sides assessed progress over the last year to implement a wide range of initiatives launched when New Zealand established a Comprehensive Partnership with Viet Nam in 2009 and a similar partnership with ASEAN in 2010.

Substantial progress to implement these activities has been made, including through regular reciprocal high-level visits, the signing of three new bilateral cooperative arrangements (customs, police and science and technology), the launch of new NZ aid projects, the establishment of a new Joint Education Commission, and a healthy 38% increase in two-way trade.

But Mr Allen and Vice Minister Trung concluded that more would be done in 2011 and beyond to ensure the relationship continued to strengthen and deepen.

On a regional level both sides discussed current ‘hot’ topics such as the engagement of the United States and Russia in the East Asia Summit, the establishment of the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus process and the South China Sea. Global issues included the G20, climate change, counter-terrorism, food security and human rights.

Separately, Mr Allen also met Vice Minister of Industry and Trade H.E. Mr Tran Quoc Khanh to discuss bilateral trade issues, implementation of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and progress in negotiating the new Trans Pacific Partnership of which both countries are members.

Mr Allen also called on Vice Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs H.E. Mr Nguyen Thanh Hoa to discuss a proposed bilateral Working Holiday Scheme that will allow young people from each country to travel to the other for extended periods of time, to holiday, work and study.

He also visited the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam to speak to current students and staff about New Zealand foreign policies and views of ASEAN and the wider Asia-Pacific region.

Mr Allen described the bilateral relationship as progressing very well, with many initiatives and activities in a wide range of sectors that were fully demonstrated during his short stay.

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