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Australia and Vietnam perfect partners for trade opportunities: report
The Saigon Times
Thursday,  Jan 7, 2021,12:50 (GMT+7)

Australia and Vietnam perfect partners for trade opportunities: report

The Saigon Times

My Thuan Bridge, one of the iconic symbols of the Australia-Vietnam relationship - PHOTO: VNA

HCMC - The bilateral economic engagement between Vietnam and Australia is well established, with trade and investment flows seeing an upward trend, offering a favorable environment for businesses in both nations to engage and generate commercial outcomes, a new report produced by RMIT’s Australian APEC Study Center and Asia Society Australia indicated.

Vietnam is one of Australia’s fastest-growing trade partners. Australia's total two-way trade with Vietnam in 2019-2020 was valued at US$15.5 billion, according to the “A Path to Vietnam: Opportunities and market insights for Australian business” report.

The two countries have committed to enhancing their economic engagement and have elevated their political and strategic relationship.

Vietnam is a densely populated, developing and urbanizing country, rapidly transitioning to an industrial and market-based economy through trade and investment and making strides to position itself to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Therefore, the country is a standout option for Australian businesses to consider as a market for goods and services and business investment.

“Vietnam has emerged as a new powerhouse of Asia. With its burgeoning economy which has doubled since 2010, a large, young and educated population and complementary industries, Vietnam is a perfect partner for Australia, and Australian businesses will be well advised to make Vietnam a cornerstone of their Asia growth strategy,” said Asia Society Australia CEO Phillip Ivanov.

There is a long and solid history of Australian aid to Vietnam, marked by large early projects such as the Telstra role in providing the country’s first satellite for HCMC television from 1991-1993.

Australian funding for major infrastructure projects such as the My Thuan and Cao Lanh Bridges are integral to the Australia-Vietnam relationship. Besides this, grants for public and private sector organizations, assistance to help water management or agricultural development and, more recently, women’s economic empowerment have built goodwill across the country.

Australia and Vietnam both seek to reduce their economic over-reliance on China as a dominant trading partner. They are equally open about their support for a rules-based security and economic order in Asia, continued trade liberalization and the centrality of ASEAN in maintaining regional stability.

Both governments have outward looking foreign policies and emphasize strengthening regional relations and multilateral coalitions of like-minded states such as Japan, India and South Korea based on shared economic and security interests.

While the report did not suggest that Vietnam would replace China as Australia’s primary trade partner in Asia, it found the two countries had complementary economic systems and that both were seeking to diversify their trading partnerships amid a weakening global economy and geopolitical tensions.

The drivers of growth in Vietnam have created attractive conditions and opportunities for Australian businesses in the post Covid-19 environment. There is scope for manufacturing, agriculture, resources and services firms to expand their engagement with Vietnam. The country’s rapid evolution will continue creating further opportunities as the economy and consumption mature.

There are opportunities to increase trade in certain goods where Australia has proven its export capacity and readiness to meet the demand in Vietnam.

Besides, there are opportunities to expand Australia’s export of services in the education, information and communications technology, insurance, environmental and health sectors. Both governments have prioritized these sectors under the expanding bilateral economic framework.

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