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Mon, 03/11/2024 - 07:23
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Vietnam rises to become regional trade, innovation hub: New Zealand expert

Hanoi, March 11 (VNA) – Vietnam has risen to become a regional trade and innovation hub, and there is a lot New Zealand can learn from Vietnam’s experience and expertise, CEO of the Asia New Zealand Foundation Suzannah Jessep has assessed in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency (VNA)'s correspondents in Oceania.

Talking to the VNA reporters on the occasion of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s official visit to New Zealand on March 10 and 11, Jessep highlighted the significance of the trip as it provides an opportunity for both countries to further deepen their relationship at the highest levels and to exchange perspectives on a whole range of issues important to them. “Arriving with such a senior and large delegation signals the investment Vietnam is making in the relationship, and of the importance it places on this engagement,” she said.

According to the CEO, next year, Vietnam and New Zealand will mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Over the last five decades, the two sides have seen significant growth over the decades in people-to-people connections as well as growth in business, government, arts, defence and security, sports, science and other areas.

The expert held that: “There is a vibrancy to the relationship today that deserves celebration – but it also a platform from which we should look to catapult future growth.”

Recalling the upgrade of the bilateral relationship to a ‘strategic partnership’ in 2020, she said this was an acknowledgement of the closer ties the two countries have forged together and an expression of intent that they want to continue to look for ways to work together and advance mutual interests. New Zealand has teamed up with Vietnam to grow its agriculture sector, build resilience to climate change and disasters, and support the development of a highly-skilled and educated workforce. “We also have many friends in common. Our two countries have an opportunity to collaborate with others as we respond to climate change and other challenges that are impervious to geographic borders.”

Jessep said New Zealand and Vietnam are advocates for a peaceful region governed by the rule of law, respect for sovereignty and freedom of navigation. She recommended the two nations, alongside other Southeast Asian countries and regional powers, to continue to work together to protect and promote their interconnected, prosperous and stable region.

Concerning the prospects of the Vietnam - New Zealand relationship in the future, she assessed that there is great potential to grow cooperation across almost every sector. “At the Asia New Zealand Foundation, we work to help build connections between talented New Zealanders and their counterparts in Asia. This includes incredible young entrepreneurs who are designing solutions to tomorrow’s challenges – whether it be future food needs, climate adaptation, technology, green energy and so on. But we also invest in growing connections between our communities, as the basis for developing stronger, deeper country relations. Vietnamese students who study in New Zealand are thriving, and bring with them skills and cultural acumen that we need.”

According to the expert, in April, the foundation plans to take a group of young New Zealand leaders to Vietnam to learn about the country, its economy, history, and to build connections with young Vietnamese leaders. In May, it will lead a delegation of emerging art curators to Vietnam to learn about Vietnam’s burgeoning arts scene and make connections with arts practitioners. The foundation will also welcome a delegation of tourism and agribusiness entrepreneurs from Southeast Asia, including from Vietnam, to learn about New Zealand’s agricultural and tourism sectors and share ideas with their local counterparts.

“Connections such as these help us to grow trade connections, but they also help us to see the relationship beyond a trade lens and I believe this is imperative to building stronger, lasting ties,” the CEO concluded./.