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VIETNAM – AUSTRALIA RELATIONS


December 2009

1. Political Relations:  Viet Nam and Australia established diplomatic relations on 26 February 1973. The embassies were set up in each country. The bilateral relations have developed and expanded widely in many fields since 1991.

 The two countries have agreed to lift the bilateral ties to Comprehensive Partnership since September 2009 (on the occasion of the Secretary General Nong Duc Manh’s visit to Australia). 

Vietnamese leaders’ visits to Australia included those paid by  Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet (May 1993), Secretary General Do Muoi (July 1995), Chairman of National Assembly Nong Duc Manh (August 1998), Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Nguyen Manh Cam (February 1995; February 1997; September 2000), Foreign Minister Nguyen Dy Nien (February 2004), Prime Minister Phan Van Khai (May 2005), Vice President Truong My Hoa (October 2006),  President Nguyen Minh Triet (attended APEC summit, October 2007), Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan (February 2008), Chairman of National Assembly Nguyen Phu Trong (March 2008), Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong (May 2008), Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (October 2008), Secretary General Nong Duc Manh (September 2009).

Australian leaders’ visits to Viet Nam included those paid by  Prime Minister Paul Keating (April 1994), Governor-General Bill Hayden (April 1995), Prime Minister John Howard (November 2006), Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Tom Fisher (August 1996), Foreign Minister Alexander Downer (July 1996; July 1997; April 1998; May 2000; July 2001; August 2003).

2. Economic relations:

Australia officially recognized the market economic status for Viet Nam on the sidelines of ASEAN summit meeting in Hua Hin, Thailand in February 2009.

 - In terms of trade: The two way trade turnover has been increasing rapidly from 32.3 US$ million in 1990 to 5.585 US$ billion in 2008. Since 1990s, Viet Nam has always been in trade surplus (the volume of Viet Nam export in 2008 was 4.225 US$ billion and import was 1.306 US$ million). However, due to the global financial depression, the two way trade turnover has dropped off significantly; the total amount since earlier this year has not yet exceeded 3 billion US$  (2.844 billion US$). At present, Australia is the 7th biggest trade partner and the 4th largest market of Viet Nam (after US, Japan and China). Viet Nam exports to Australia crude oil, sea products, cashew nuts, timber products, lacquer ware, coffee, footwear, rice, rubber and textile. Viet Nam imports from Australia cereals, dairy products, food processing machines, medicines, metals and chemicals, etc.

 - In terms of investment: The inflow of Australian investment to Viet Nam is quite remarkable in term of capital and effectiveness. By October  2009, Australia had 224 investment projects operating in Viet Nam with a total capital of nearly 1,207 US$ billion. The projects are mainly in the form of 100% foreign capital and joint ventures, focusing on the fields of industry and service, construction, processing industries, training and education, agriculture, forestry and fishery. Most of Australian investment projects have been operated in big cities such as Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Noi, Hai Phong, Ba Ria - Vung Tau.

 - Official Development Aid - ODA: Australia resumed ODA for Viet Nam in October 1991 and started the large-scale ODA program since 1994. In the fiscal year of 2009-2010, the total amount of Australian ODA granted to Viet Nam reached the considerable number of 98,8 million US$.

Viet Nam ranks second in Australia’s ODA recipients in Asia-Pacific region (after Indonesia). Australia aid has focused on some priority fields such as human resource development, agricultural and rural development, health care, public administration and support of Viet Nam’s economic integration. The ODA has been mainly located in the Cuu Long rural areas and coastal provinces in the Central of Viet Nam

3. Signed agreements: 

- Agreement on Trade and Economics (June 1990)
- Agreement on Investment’s Promotion and Protection (March 1991)
- Agreement on Double Taxation Avoidance (April 1992)  
- Agreement on Air Services (July 1995)
- Agreement on Consulate (July 2003)

- Agreement of Partnership between the National Assembly of Viet Nam and the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Australia (March 2008)

- Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons (October 2008)

Nearly 100 MOU have been signed by the two countries; some important ones are: MOU on Development Cooperation (May 1993), MOU on Science and Technology Cooperation (September 1992), MOU on Environment (1997), MOU on Sports (1999), MOU on Education (April 1994), MOU on the re-admittance citizens who are expelled due to breaches of Australian law (June 2001), MOU on the Immigration (2001), MOU on Social Services (2002)

- MOU in the Transport Sector (March 2007), Memorendum of Cooperation in education and training (February 2008), MOU on exchange of immigration information (January 2009), MOU between the Australia Federal Police and Viet Nam Ministry of Public Security on fighting transnational crime and promoting police cooperation (August 2009), MOU between the Federal Court of Australia and the Supreme People’s Court of Viet Nam on Judicial Cooperation (September 2009), MOU on establishment of the Joint Transnational Crime Centre in Ho Chi Minh City (November 2009)

 4. Mechanisms for cooperation: 

 - Viet Nam - Australia Joint Commission on Economic and Trade was established in March 1991. Since then, 7 meetings have been held, the 7th one was held in Ha Noi in July 2009.

- Regional Security Dialogues between two Foreign Ministries at Deputy ministerial level was established in 1997. Since then, 5 meetings have been held, the 5th one was held in August 2009 in Ha Noi.

- Annual Human Rights Dialogue at departmental level between two Foreign Ministries and some relating Ministries was established in 2002. Since then, 7 meetings have been held, the 7th one was held in December 2009 in Ha noi

- Annual Consular Consultation between two Foreign Ministries at departmental level was established in 2004. Since then, 5 meetings have been held, the 5th one was held in November 2009 in Ha Noi

- Annual Bilateral Military Consultation between the two National Defense Ministries at departmental level was established in 2005. Since then, 3 meetings have been held, the 3rd one was held in Australia in September 2008./.

 
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