Vietnam, Australia utilise FTAs to boost economic and trade co-operation

Vietnamese and Australian businesses have been advised to maximise incentives of free trade agreement (FTAs) in a bid to increase investment and ramp up economic and trade co-operation moving forward, according to insiders.

Statistics compiled from the Ministry of Industry and Trade indicate that two-way trade between both nations during the two-month period reached US$2 billion, of which Vietnamese exports and imports stood at US$769.4 million and US$1.2 billion, respectively.

Currently, Vietnam and Australia are common members of at least three FTAs, including the ASEAN - Australia - New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Most notably, the CPTPP trade pact has given fresh impetus to increasing investment between the two countries.

Australia has invested in about 550 projects in the nation with a total value of nearly US$2 billion by the end of 2021, making it the 19th biggest foreign investor in the Vietnamese market

Vietnamese Ambassador to Australia Nguyen Tat Thanh outlined that joint economic and trade relations have developed impressively on the basis of prioritising eight areas of co-operation under the terms of Australia – Vietnam Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy (EEES).

The impressive developments recorded is reflected via strong growth in two-way trade turnover, increasing from US$8.3 billion in 2020 to US$12.4 billion in 2021 before reaching US$15.7 billion in 2022, marking an annual average growth rate of 38%, the highest figure among the country’s trading partners.

In fact, FTAs have made an important contribution to helping Australian consumers gain greater insights into Vietnamese products such as garments and textiles, footwear, hats and purses, timber, wooden and aquatic products, and processed foods.

Furthermore, the majority of Australian states have established strategic co-operation with Southeast Asian nations by sending trade representatives to ASEAN member states.

Moreover, Vietnamese representative offices in Australia have effectively supported the two countries as they seek to strengthen economic and trade exchanges, a factor which has provided a basis for bright prospects for both economic and trade co-operation.

Moreover, Australia is expected to unveil its economic strategy with Southeast Asia until 2040 in the near future. It is expected that large Australian businesses will pour further investment into the nation, especially when Australia and Vietnam celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations, economic, and trade co-operation this year.

With regard to the State visit to Vietnam made by Australian Governor-General David Hurley, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Andrew Goledzinowski emphasised that this is the third time an Australian head of state has visited the country. It comes as part of activities being held to celebrate the 50th anniversary since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The Australian diplomat expressed his hope that the visit will serve to step up bilateral co-operation across multiple fields between the two countries moving forward.