Australia Pledges to Continue Supporting Vietnam in Economic Reform

Australian Ambassador to Vietnam together with the Vice Minister of Ministry of Planning and Investment, shared insights from Australia about its journey of decades supporting Vietnam’s economic reform at an Aus4Reform Conference this week.

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At the conference in Hanoi. Source: Aus4Reform Program
At the conference in Hanoi. Source: Aus4Reform Program

The Aus4Reform Program, funded by the Australian Government, aims to support Vietnamese agencies in implementing their plans to restructure the economy, renovate growth paradigms, and improve the business and investment environment towards improving labor productivity, quality and competitiveness of the economy towards rapid and sustainable development. The program is implemented from November 2017 to November 2022 with a grant of AUD 6.5 million.

To review the results of the program in the past 5 years, on November 15, the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and the Aus4Reform Program Coordinating Committee in collaboration with the Australian Embassy in Hanoi co-host a final conference themed “Australia – Vietnam economic reform progress (Aus4Reform): Results, lesson leanred and future directions”.

Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Andrew Goledzinowski, together with MPI Deputy Minister Tran Quoc Phuong, shared insights from Australia about its journey of decades supporting Vietnam’s economic reform at the conference, baoquocte reported.

The workshop successfully concluded the Aus4Reform Program – a AUD-6.5-million investment from the Australian Government to Vietnam to support the development of quality policies, laws and institutions through advocacy and consultation and by strengthening the evidence base for economic policies, drawing on international experience and expertise, especially from Australia.

The program consists of four components implemented by four institutions including the Central Institute for Economic Management (under the Ministry of Planning and Investment), the Department of Competition and Consumer Protection (under the Ministry of Industry and Trade), the Institute for Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as a flexible fund to support urgent priority issues arising during the course of implementation.

The Aus4Reform Program has assisted the government of Vietnam through fostering research and analysis of issues related to economic reform by Vietnamese agencies; enhancing dialogue among policy makers, the public, academia and politicians; and strengthening cooperation and learning experiences and exchanging information between agencies of Vietnam and other countries, especially agencies of Australia.

Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Planning and Investment Tran Quoc Phuong delivers his speech at the event. Source: Aus4Reform Program
Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Planning and Investment Tran Quoc Phuong delivers his speech at the event. Source: Aus4Reform Program

At the workshop, the MPI Deputy Minister highly appreciated the contributions of the program: “Australia’s technical assistance to Vietnamese agencies in general and the Ministry of Planning and Investment in particular has always been given special attention, because the support has directly contributed to changing mindsets and improving the capacity of local agencies, Vietnamese agencies and officials”.

To recognise the outcomes of the program, Ambassador Goledzinowski stated “Australia and Vietnam have cooperated closely on economic reform since shortly after the opening of Vietnam’s economy in the early 1990s, including during important periods such as when Vietnam joined the WTO, commenced participation in free trade agreements and most recently during the its economic response and recovery from Covid-19”.

“Although today’s conference marks the conclusion of the current phase of the Aus4Reform Program, our economic reform and cooperation journey continues. This is underpinned by the trust that exists between our governments, and our common goals to enhance our economic relationship, increase investment flows and strengthen regional prosperity and stability”, Goledzinowski said.

Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Andrew Goledzinowski
Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Andrew Goledzinowski speaks at the event. Source: Aus4Reform Program

The outcomes of the Aus4Reform Program are used as a basis for implementing reforms aimed at improving the business and investment environment, enhancing market economy institutions, developing the private sector, and strengthening competition and consumer protection institutions, accelerating the restructure of the rural economy and increasing added value in agriculture; thereby contributing to improving labour productivity and competitiveness of the economy.

Along with the process of economic reform and transformation of the country’s growth paradigm, the need for technical assistance in this field will be enormous in the coming years.

The outcomes achieved from this program will serve as the basis for building the next of Australia’s support programs for economic reform in Vietnam.

Aus4Reform is the third program in a series of projects led by the Australian Government to support Vietnam’s economic reform, including the WTO Post-Accession Technical Assistance Program (2008-2014), a project to support Economic Restructure Towards Enhancing Vietnam’s Competitiveness (2014-2017) and the program Australia supports Economic Reform in Vietnam (2017-2022).

Hannah Nguyen