Vietnam and New Zealand Collaborate to Maximize Benefits of Free Trade Agreements

Vietnam and New Zealand are two of the most well-connected economies in the Indo-Pacific region, and have some of the most comprehensive free trade agreements in place, providing a great deal of mutual economic benefit.

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New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Deputy Secretary, Vangelis Vitalis, met with his Vietnamese counterpart, Ministry of Industry and Trade Deputy Minister, Phan Thi Thang, to traverse the broad range of issues that connect the two countries, from free trade agreements to regional and multilateral cooperation. Source: New Zealand's embassy in Hanoi
New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Deputy Secretary, Vangelis Vitalis, met with his Vietnamese counterpart, Ministry of Industry and Trade Deputy Minister, Phan Thi Thang, to traverse the broad range of issues that connect the two countries, from free trade agreements to regional and multilateral cooperation. Source: New Zealand’s embassy in Hanoi

On Tuesday, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Phan Thi Thang expressed her belief that there is great potential for Vietnam and New Zealand to further strengthen cooperation in terms of trade, industry, and investment at the 8th meeting of the Vietnam-New Zealand Joint Trade and Economic Commission (JTEC) held in Hanoi on May 23, according to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

Co-chaired by Thang and Deputy Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand Vangelis Vitalis, the meeting focused on reviewing collaborative efforts in trade, investment, agriculture, education and training, tourism, aviation, and labor.

The two sides heartily applauded the efforts and close collaboration between ministries and sectors of both sides in implementing agreements on economic and trade cooperation signed by the two countries’ leaders.

Trade between Vietnam and New Zealand has experienced a significant rise since the two countries established their comprehensive partnership in 2009, exhibiting an average annual growth rate of 14.2%.

Deputy Secretary Vitalis and Deputy Minister Thang agreed, at the conclusion of the Joint Trade and Economic Commission (JTEC) meeting, that in the context of challenging economic trends, partnerships like ours really matter.
Deputy Secretary Vitalis and Deputy Minister Thang agreed, at the conclusion of the Joint Trade and Economic Commission (JTEC) meeting, that in the context of challenging economic trends, partnerships really matter. Source: New Zealand’s embassy in Hanoi

Vietnam is now the 13th largest trade partner of New Zealand. In 2022, the two-way trade between them reached USD 1.2 billion, registering a year-on-year growth of 14%.

New Zealand has so far had 39 valid direct investment projects in Vietnam with a total registered capital of over USD 209.7 million, ranking 39th among 143 countries and territories investing in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Vietnam has invested 11 projects worth USD 38.4 million in New Zealand, mainly in the fields of processing and manufacturing, wholesale and retail, and accommodation services.

The two sides agreed to fortify bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, and economy, including multilateral trade negotiations, agriculture and agribusiness, green technology, development of agricultural supply chain, education, aviation, and tourism.

Vietnam and New Zealand have ambitious plans to increase their trade turnover to USD 2 billion by the year 2024. This goal is ambitious yet achievable, and both countries are looking forward to strengthening their economic ties.

Both sides welcomed the successful completion of the market opening process for Vietnam’s lime and pomelo, as well as New Zealand’s squash and strawberry, in late last year.

The two sides sign a document approving bilateral commitments at the meeting. Photo: VNA
The two sides sign a document approving bilateral commitments at the meeting. Photo: VNA

The Vietnamese side proposed that relevant ministries, sectors, and agencies of New Zealand closely collaborate and provide explicit instructions on procedures to enable businesses from both countries to capitalize on the new import-export opportunity.

The two sides discussed furthering cooperation in multilateral frameworks, expressing agreement to coordinate and support each other in cooperation mechanisms and frameworks such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

Hannah Nguyen