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NZ–Viet Nam relations in strong shape says Speaker

Speaker Of The House Of Representatives
The Hon Dr Lockwood Smith
Media Statement From Hanoi
17 April 2009

New Zealand – Viet Nam relations in strong shape says Speaker

The growing importance of a deeper relationship with Viet Nam has been strongly reinforced with the Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives, Hon Dr Lockwood Smith, and his delegation during a series of high-level meetings in Hanoi this week.

“New Zealand is a trusted partner of Viet Nam and relations are in strong shape” said Dr Smith. “I have heard a clear, consistent, message that Viet Nam wants to work more closely with New Zealand on trade, education and food security matters.

“Even in the current economic climate, the government of Viet Nam is committed to increasing its competitiveness and using education to increase its productive capacity. It sees New Zealand as a core partner in this process”.

Discussions also focused on the recently signed ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free-Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and Viet Nam’s intention to consider membership of the expanded Trans-Pacific Strategic Partnership, with both countries sharing a vision of a more open trade regime in the Asia-Pacific.

“I was reassured that protectionism is not on the agenda and that New Zealand goods will continue to be valued by Vietnamese consumers. Like us, Viet Nam acknowledges the importance of trading our way out of the current economic downturn.”

“ Viet Nam has a clear strategic vision of where it is heading and the message I received from the President and the two Deputy Prime Ministers whom I met is that Viet Nam wants to work more closely with New Zealand business interests,” Dr Smith said.

“Viet Nam Deputy Prime Minister Nhan believes that New Zealand education providers have a lot to offer as Viet Nam lifts its education standards, particularly in the area of industry skills training which enables industry to set curriculum and standards in that regard. I assured him that we stood ready to assist, whether through training staff, students, here and in New Zealand, and indeed through distance education methods as set out under AANZFTA.”

“We had an excellent meeting with the President of the National Assembly during which time I extended to him an invitation to visit New Zealand.” Dr Smith said that, with the emerging influence of the National Assembly in the decision-making process, the delegation was able to have a positive engagement on a range on opportunities for future parliamentary cooperation.

Dr Smith and his delegation are now in Ho Chi Minh City to meet members of the New Zealand business community and visit New Zealand investments in education and food and beverage.

Note:

Dr Smith was visiting Viet Nam at the invitation of the Chairman of the National Assembly. During his visit to Hanoi the delegation met also met President Nguyen Minh Triet, the Deputy Prime Minister/Education Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister, the Vice-Minister of Trade and the Chairman of the Ethnic Minorities Council.

ENDS

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