The Hon. Warren Truss, MP
The Hon. Warren Truss, MP

Media release

17 July, 2007

Australia-Vietnam Joint Trade and Economic Cooperation Committee

Joint Communique

The Australian Minister for Trade, the Hon Warren Truss MP, and the Vietnamese Minister of Planning and Investment, His Excellency Mr Vo Hong Phuc, met as co-chairs on 16-17 July 2007 at the seventh meeting of the Australia-Vietnam Joint Trade and Economic Cooperation Committee (JTECC).  The JTECC was established in 1990 to review progress in trade and economic cooperation and to identify ways to enhance cooperation.

The seventh JTECC meeting covered bilateral, regional and multilateral issues. This included developments in the WTO Doha round and Vietnam’s recent accession to the WTO, and regional issues, including a discussion concerning the FTA negotiation between Australia and New Zealand, and ASEAN, and Australia’s hosting of APEC.  Bilateral discussions focused on key areas of potential growth in the bilateral commercial relationship, including financial services, education and training, and mining and related industries.  For the first time, the meeting involved representatives of the business communities in Australia and Vietnam.  Ministers welcomed the opportunity to hear directly from key business representatives on ways to develop the trade and economic relationship between the two countries.

Ministers reviewed developments in the bilateral trade and investment relationship, noting the substantial growth of trade in recent years.  Ministers were pleased to note that two-way goods and services trade had more than doubled since the last  JTECC meeting in 2003 to A$7.3 billion in 2006.  Ministers discussed the growing interest of Australian investors in Vietnam.  Mr Phuc welcomed Australia’s significant contribution to the assessment of Vietnam’s investment climate under the OECD’s Policy Framework for Investment (PFI).  Ministers agreed that the PFI assessment would be an important step in identifying ways to enhance Vietnam’s attractiveness as an investment destination.

The JTECC meeting provided an opportunity to discuss how to build on the important gains offered by Vietnam’s accession to the WTO which occurred in January 2007.  Ministers acknowledged the importance of continued global and regional economic integration as a driver for prosperity.  Mr Truss underlined the importance of continued market-based reform in Vietnam. Mr Phuc welcomed Australia’s support for Vietnam’s implementation of its WTO accession package and ongoing reform through the multi-donor initiative Beyond WTO

Ministers noted that Australia and Vietnam are involved in the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement negotiations which have been underway for two years.  They emphasised the need for this work to intensify in the remaining three rounds of the negotiations to be held this year.  Ministers welcomed progress in APEC under Australia’s chairmanship in 2007, building on the good work by Vietnam as host in 2006.  Ministers reaffirmed both countries’ commitment to the outcomes of the recent APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting and exchanged views on priorities for the upcoming APEC Economic Leaders Meeting.

Ministers noted that as agricultural exporters both countries shared an interest in the liberalisation of agricultural trade.  Mr Truss welcomed Vietnam’s recent participation as an observer in the Cairns Group Ministerial Meeting in Lahore, Pakistan.  The Ministers agreed Vietnam and the Cairns Group would continue their cooperation in the Doha Round negotiations.

In discussing bilateral issues, Ministers acknowledged Australia’s long-term presence in the financial sector in Vietnam and discussed ways to ensure this engagement continues to grow. 

Ministers also noted the important role of Australian education providers, both in Australia and in Vietnam, in helping Vietnam meet the needs of its fast-developing economy through the provision of education and training services to the growing workforce. 

Mr Truss highlighted the depth of Australia’s experience in the mining sector and the economic benefits that can be derived from a productive and internationally competitive mining sector.  He sought Vietnam’s cooperation in allowing Australian investment in the Vietnamese mining sector and drew attention to the scope for development in this aspect of the commercial relationship.  Mr Phuc welcomed the interest of experienced Australian companies.

As a means to develop greater cooperation in the  mining industry, Mr Truss offered support for Vietnam to participate in the  upcoming workshop on 'Life of Mine Planning for Improved Sustainable  Development Outcomes' in Jakarta in November 2007. Mr Phuc welcomed the opportunity to draw on Australia's experience in this area. 

Ministers agreed on a plan of action to continue to progress the JTECC’s objectives intersessionally, noting the contribution made by the seventh JTECC, particularly in the focus areas of financial services, education and training, and mining and related industries, and through the inaugural business dialogue.

Ministers resolved that the next meeting would be held in Vietnam on a date to be agreed.

THE HON WARREN TRUSS MP                            MR VO HONG PHUC

(signed)                                                                        (signed)

AUSTRALIAN MINISTER                                                VIETNAMESE MINISTER
FOR TRADE                                                            OF PLANNING AND INVESTMENT

Media Inquiries: Minister Truss' office 02 6277 7420 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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