“From my perspective, I think that bodes very well for both countries going into 2023 and I'm pleased to see that both countries are showing strong signs of growth – Vietnam of course especially so,” the ambassador said in an interview on the occasion of the Tet (lunar New Year) festival.

New Zealand Ambassador to Vietnam Tredene Dobson

According to the diplomat, Vietnam's economic growth last year is very impressive in the context that a contraction is seen in most parts of the world. Vietnam’s growth says a lot about the government’s approach to post-COVID recovery – with a real prioritization on recovery and its policies, she said.

“Countries like New Zealand, and Vietnam’s many other trade partners have also noticed that, and as a result, responded very positively.  We’ve seen a real uptick in engagement; both business-to-business engagement and government-to-government as countries such as ours want to deepen their collaboration with Vietnam, and enjoy some of the benefits that Vietnam has with its strong economic growth,” Dobson said.

She said that Vietnam and New Zealand have an advantage of being two of the most integrated economies in the Indo-Pacific region along with some of the most high-quality FTAs that bring them together.

Both countries are members of the Comprehensive and Progress Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA). Vietnam and New Zealand have regional architectures where they work together, namely Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the East Asia Summit within ASEAN and Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). The two countries can use this advantage to help them realize the target of 2 billion USD in two-way trade by 2024.

“But we do have to be quite focused in our efforts and I think both Vietnam and New Zealand need to be really clear on how we can use that architecture and the FTAs to support our exporters and global supply chains. If we do that, I think that the 2 billion USD goal is ambitious but achievable,” Dobson said.

According to the diplomat, the visit of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to Vietnam, followed by Vietnamese National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue’s trip to New Zealand, has set the two countries up perfectly for a very successful 2023, adding that both of the two countries’ leaders have set clear directions to work towards that 2 billion USD trade goal.

Congratulating Vietnam on its election to the United Nations Human Rights Council for 2023-2025, the ambassador said Vietnam is very well known for its contribution to international peace and security with increased support for international peacekeeping operations.

She went on to say, “Domestically, Vietnam has shown that with strong policy dedicated towards economic development, you can ensure and support people’s economic, cultural and social rights.  And I really hope that Vietnam will bring that experience to the Human Rights Council.”

Tredene Dobson said that climate change is the area where the two countries will deepen their collaboration in the future. Both Vietnam and New Zealand have set some quite ambitious goals on climate change, and now is an opportunity for them to work together in that area.

The two countries have already made progress in the agricultural sector so New Zealand will enhance cooperation with Vietnam in this sector and also in carbon market – which is an area where the two countries share some interests.

The ambassador said this will be her second Tet in Vietnam and what she really loves about Tet is the feeling of warmth, the feeling of love and connectivity - particularly with families as they come together at this special time. This is very similar to the spirit of the Christmas season in New Zealand.

“I love all the different food that comes out during Tet. Last year I got to try out a lot of new Tet foods so I'm hoping to even expand that further this Tet,” she said.

Source: VNA