Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern agreed on major directions to boost future Vietnam-New Zealand cooperation in all fields during their talks in Auckland on March 13, the Vietnam News Agency reports.

In politics, the two sides agreed to maintain exchanges of delegations, especially high-level delegations, while strengthening people-to-people exchanges.

In the spirit of the occasion, Prime Minister Phuc invited Prime Minister Ardern to visit Vietnam at an appropriate time and conveyed State President Tran Dai Quang’s invitation to New Zealand’s Governor-General to pay a State visit to Vietnam.

The two sides also agreed to implement the Action Programme for the 2017-2020 period in an effective manner and to soon organize the sixth meeting of the Joint Committee on economic and trade cooperation in Hanoi and the 11th Political Consultation in New Zealand.

The two sides expressed their delight at the bilateral friendship and comprehensive partnership between the two countries, as the 10th anniversary of the Comprehensive Partnership approaches in 2019 and the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations in 2020.

In defense-security, Prime Minister Ardern agreed that the two sides should implement specific cooperation within the newly-signed Action Programme on defense cooperation in the 2018-2021 period. The two need to promote affiliation in defense industry and research while strengthening collaboration in fighting transnational crime, terrorism and drug trafficking amid the changing security situation in the region.

In terms of economics and trade, both sides are satisfied with bilateral trade growth, which hit $1.24 billion last year for a year-on-year increase of more than 30 per cent. They agreed on numerous trade promotion activities, including the facilitation of farm produce exports, in order to bring bilateral trade to $1.7-2 billion by 2020.

Prime Minister Phuc asked New Zealand to continue facilitating the export of Vietnamese tropical fruit such as mango, dragon fruit, rambutan, star apple, grapefruit and longan and expand investment in Vietnam in fields where it holds strengths and Vietnam has demand, such as mining, energy, infrastructure, high-tech agriculture, education and finance.

Regarding official development assistance (ODA), the Vietnamese leader said he is satisfied with the efficiency of New Zealand’s ODA projects in Vietnam. He called for its increased provision with a focus on agriculture and rural development, human resources development, disaster risk management, and climate change.

The New Zealand Prime Minister took the occasion to announce two new ODA projects: a three-year program worth NZD1.5 million ($1.09 million) to help Vietnamese farmers increase their incomes, and a pilot project on renewable energy worth NZD500,000 ($365,000).

The two sides reached consensus on intensifying collaboration in areas of potential such as education and labor.

They acknowledged that cooperation in education and training is growing strongly and is one of the pillars of bilateral relations.

They set a target to raise the number of Vietnamese students by 30 per cent by 2020 through encouraging the exchange of students between the two countries’ universities.

Prime Minister Ardern expressed her delight at the positive growth in bilateral tourism cooperation, reflected through New Zealand welcoming 17,000 Vietnamese tourists last year.

Assistance to Vietnam will be maintained in human resources training and support given to the opening of direct air routes linking the two countries and facilitating tourism and trade cooperation.

The two Prime Ministers affirmed they would push ahead with their cooperation and mutual support at regional and international forums such as the WTO, the East Asia Summit (EAS), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

Prime Minister Phuc thanked New Zealand for supporting Vietnam in its hosting of the APEC 2017 meetings and in becoming a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 tenure.

The New Zealand Prime Minister will support and work closely with Vietnam in 2020 when it will take up the role of ASEAN Chair and the bloc and New Zealand will mark the 45th anniversary of the dialogue partnership and the fifth anniversary of the strategic partnership.

New Zealand will host APEC Year 2021 and hopes to learn from Vietnam’s experience, she added.

The two countries agreed to jointly implement the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and advocated negotiations over the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Both Prime Ministers have entrusted ministries and relevant agencies to promote the two countries’ relations in a deep and pragmatic manner across different fields in addition to promoting the exchange of a roadmap for the bilateral strategic partnership and soon elevating bilateral relations as agreed upon by the two sides.

At the end of the talks, the two Prime Ministers witnessed the signing of three important documents: an agreement between the Ministry of Industry and Trade and New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on economic and trade cooperation, a deal between the Ministry of Industry and Trade and New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries on cooperation in food safety and quality management, and a strategic cooperation plan between the Ministry of Education and Training and New Zealand educational agencies on education and training in 2018-2020.