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Vietnam, Australia legislators hold talks, look to double bilateral trade

by VOV07 June 2021 Last updated at 20:00 PM

Vietnamese National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue pushes for stronger ties between the legislative bodies of Vietnam and Australia during talks with House of Representatives Speaker Tony Smith on June 7. (Photo: VNA)
Vietnamese National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue pushes for stronger ties between the legislative bodies of Vietnam and Australia during talks with House of Representatives Speaker Tony Smith on June 7. (Photo: VNA)

National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue had online talks with Australian House of Representatives Speaker Tony Smith on June 7 to promote the strategic partnership between the two countries and their legislative bodies.

They both affirmed that the strategic partnership between the two countries has developed substantially in recent times. Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides have still maintained regular exchanges and contacts, including recent phone talks between Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison.

The two countries signed an action programme to implement their Strategic Partnership for 2020 – 2023. Notably, their two-way trade turnover reached US$8.3 billion last year, an increase of nearly 5% compared to 2019. Australia pledged its support for Vietnam in the 2021-2022 fiscal year, and increased investment in Vietnam’s agriculture, infrastructure and education.

In addition, the relations between the two countries’ legislative bodies have also developed well on the basis of the new phase cooperation agreement between the National Assembly of Vietnam and the Parliament of Australia both bilaterally and multilaterally.

Hue suggested that the two sides continue to maintain exchanges and contacts at all levels, and promote cooperation in the fields of defense, military medicine, cyber security, science and technology, as well as in economics and trade in order to soon double two-way trade turnover compared to the present figure.

He also proposed that Australia continue to extend the duration of stay and reduce visa costs for Vietnamese citizens, create more favourable conditions for Vietnamese students to return to Australia, and support equitable access to vaccines and technology transfer to produce COVID-19 vaccines for countries in difficulty, including Vietnam.

Hue invited Tony Smith to visit Vietnam in the lead up to 50 years of diplomacy between Vietnam and Australia (1973-2023).

He emphasized the need for the two countries’ parliamentarian groups to increase exchanges and share experiences in legislation and oversight, as well as in implementing free trade agreements such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Speaker Tony Smith welcomed Hue’s proposals which he said will help strengthen and develop diplomatic relations in general and parliamentary relations in particular between the two countries. He announced that Australia has decided to provide Vietnam with AUD40 million to access COVID-19 vaccines.

The Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives expressed his wish that he will visit Vietnam as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic is brought under control.

During the talks, the two leaders exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concern. On the East Sea issue, the two sides affirmed their consistent view of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight in the waters, and peacefully settling disputes based on international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).

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