Australia attaches importance to relations with Viet Nam: expert
VGP - The official three-day visit, starting on August 21, to Viet Nam by Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong to co-chair the 5th Foreign Ministers' Meeting of the two countries shows that the Oceania nation attaches importance to the strategic partnership with the Southeast Asian country, Nguyen Hong Hai, Senior Lecturer from VinUniversity, commented.
Nguyen Hong Hai, who is an adjunct senior lecturer of policy and politics at the Faculty of Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice under Queensland University of Technology's School of Justice, said this is Wong's second official visit to Viet Nam and her 4th meeting with Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son since she became foreign minister in May last year.
The visit comes as the two countries celebrate the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations and five years of strategic partnership this year.
In 2022, two-way trade turnover between Viet Nam and Australia reached a new record of US$15.7 billion, up 26.91 percent year-on-year. Viet Nam has become Australia's 10th biggest trade partner for the first time, and Australia is currently Viet Nam's seventh largest trade partner.
Besides, more Vietnamese and Australian visitors are coming in both directions. According to the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Viet Nam welcomed 300,000 Australian visitors, and 125,000 Vietnamese tourists went to Australia.
The two countries have signed agreements and founded several mechanisms to promote trade and investment to a level that matches the potential and the strategic partnership.
Nevertheless, the expert pointed out they needed more favorable conditions and simplified customs procedures to promote more liberalized trade flows and to remove barriers that hinder citizens' traveling.
In her first visit to Viet Nam last year, the two foreign ministries agreed to step up cooperation in tourism, education, and labor in the post-pandemic era.
Currently, the two countries are finding ways to make a speedy recovery for the tourism industry, which was severely affected by the pandemic, while minimizing the impact of the conflicts in Ukraine on trade.
According to the Ambassador, Viet Nam and Australia need to strengthen security cooperation and border control with advanced identification technologies and hold constructive and candid dialogues as trusted strategic partners to address each other's concerns.
Notably, the two sides should adopt a visa exemption policy for each other's citizens. In that case, it will be a real breakthrough, further strengthening the cooperation relationship in the coming time, he said./.