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Australia – Viet Nam Comprehensive Partnership

Since establishment of diplomatic relations in February 1973, Australia and Viet Nam have developed a positive economic, political and security relationship, reinforced by warm and expanding people-to-people links.

On this basis, on the occasion of the visit to Australia of the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Viet Nam His Excellency Mr Nong Duc Manh from 6-9 September 2009, the two countries have decided to establish a Comprehensive Partnership between Australia and Viet Nam according to the understandings set out in this document.

This Comprehensive Partnership has been developed to reinforce the strong relations between Australia and Viet Nam, and to provide a framework around which to focus, and measure bilateral effort. This Comprehensive Partnership also represents a strong mutual commitment to the future of Australia-Viet Nam relations. More specifically it provides a framework for strengthening and deepening cooperation across these key areas:

Expanding political ties and public policy exchanges

Australia and Viet Nam will further expand exchanges of high-level visits and contacts.

Encouraged by Viet Nam’s ambition to become an industrialised country by 2020, Australia and Viet Nam resolve to deepen and expand cooperation on public policy planning and development through a range of activities including information exchanges, exchanges of personnel, training and human resource development.

Australia and Viet Nam will strive to improve dialogue and enhance engagement at officials’ level across all sectors of the relationship as mutually agreed. Sharing of experiences on public sector management, social policy, and legislative and regulatory processes will contribute to mutual understanding and development of best practice. Exchanges on economic planning including public finance, budget management, economic reform and taxation, investment policy, competition policy and infrastructure, as well as policy dialogue in areas of HIV/AIDs, education, science and technology management, gender equality, social welfare and services, especially for women and children, will assist closer cooperation and will help contribute to strengthening growth in key sectors. Australia will assist Viet Nam in formulating an appropriate policy on the management of foreign workers in Viet Nam and the management of foreign workers migration to Viet Nam.

Acknowledging the importance of the vocational education sector for Viet Nam’s future economic development needs, Australia and Viet Nam will examine options for a policy dialogue aimed at addressing educational management and vocational and technical training needs and capacity.

Noting the role of the Communist Party of Viet Nam in policy planning, including its commitment to economic development and to anti-corruption efforts, Australia and Viet Nam will facilitate development of closer links between agencies of the Communist Party of Viet Nam and Australian Government agencies and academic and strategic policy institutions.

In the context of a shared commitment to multilateral forums and the rule of law, and building on recent visits by delegations from the Australian Parliament to Viet Nam and from the National Assembly of Viet Nam to Australia, closer and more frequent contacts and linkages between all agencies of the two institutions will be encouraged on the basis of the Agreement of Partnership between the National Assembly of Viet Nam and the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Australia.

Australia and Viet Nam reaffirm their shared interest in maintaining the annual Human Rights Dialogue and associated program of technical cooperation as providing an opportunity for frank and constructive discussion.

Promoting economic growth and trade development

Acknowledging that unpredictable and profound changes in the global economy pose both challenges and opportunities, Australia and Viet Nam commit to support international cooperation and coordination efforts in responding to the global economic crisis. Australia and Viet Nam both believe that concerted global and regional efforts are needed to re-establish confidence and build platforms for sustainable development. Both countries share a resolve to work for the reform of the global financial and monetary system, especially institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, and will work towards deeper regional economic integration.

Australia and Viet Nam have shared interests in promoting trade liberalisation through the establishment of the global trade framework, by combating protectionism and concluding the WTO Doha Round. Australia and Viet Nam will increase their efforts to accelerate trade cooperation in the region through prompt and effective implementation of the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area. Both sides will work to strengthen regional forums such as APEC and the East Asia Summit, and enhance cooperation and coordination within the framework of agreements such as the Trans Pacific Partnership.

The Viet Nam Australia Joint Trade and Economic Cooperation Committee will continue to provide a forum for regular bilateral engagement focused on delivering increased trade and investment. Australia will continue its support for the Beyond WTO program of technical assistance to help Viet Nam meet its commitments, strengthen the institutions of the market economy and its ongoing integration into the international economy. Both Australia and Viet Nam will explore prospects to enhance and diversify commercial engagement through more cooperative ventures and by facilitating business and industry contacts.

Both sides will maximise opportunities for investors from both countries, including by ensuring transparency and competitiveness of their respective markets. Australia and Viet Nam will continue to develop and promote bilateral trade and investment in such key sectors as infrastructure and urban development, mining and energy, manufacturing, agriculture, and financial, education and other services.

Conscious of the vast potential of the Mekong Sub-region, Viet Nam values the support and partnership of Australia in its development objectives for the region, including the Mekong River Commission Programs, the Viet Nam Rural Energy Distribution Program, the Cross Border Transport Agreement, the GMS Southern Coastal Corridor and the Central Mekong Region Connectivity Project to create economic and social infrastructure for investment, growth, sustainable development and environmental protection.

Ongoing development assistance and technical cooperation

Australia recognises Viet Nam’s achievements in poverty reduction and aid effectiveness and reaffirms its continuing support for Viet Nam’s development aspirations. By boosting growth and employment and supporting the delivery of basic services, notably in water and sanitation, and natural resources management, Australia is committed to ensuring its official development assistance will continue to support Viet Nam’s progress towards achieving its development goals, including those set out in the Millennium Development Goals.

Australia and Viet Nam recognise the valuable contribution made by Australia’s scholarships and education programs for Vietnamese students. Australia will continue to place a high priority on providing these scholarships as a means of helping Viet Nam to build the human resource foundation it needs for its future prosperity.

Australia remains committed to sustainable and inclusive economic growth in Viet Nam and will continue to assist Viet Nam to make the most of opportunities from integration into the world economy. Through new and ongoing infrastructure initiatives, including cooperation on the Cao Lanh bridge project as part of the wider Central Mekong Region Connectivity Project, Australia will support major transport projects and regional road building to connect poor rural areas to key regional transport and economic corridors.

Facing the global challenge of climate change, Australia and Viet Nam affirm their support for the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate and express a commitment to explore prospects for cooperation in the use of clean and renewable energy. A new bilateral treaty-level agreement is intended to be concluded in 2010 to lay the foundation for collaboration in science and technology research.

Development of Viet Nam’s energy sector will be crucial to its economic growth and prosperity. As Viet Nam considers its options, including proposals to develop a nuclear energy program, Australia will provide opportunities for increased dialogue and cooperation activities in the field of radiation and nuclear safety between the Viet Nam Agency for Radiation and Nuclear Safety and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office.

As major agricultural producers, Australia and Viet Nam commit to contributing to the world’s food security and to increasing cooperation on agricultural, forestry and fisheries research and productivity improvement and food safety.

Building defence and security ties

Australia and Viet Nam recognise that the security and prosperity of both countries is linked to a secure future for the Asia-Pacific region. Reaffirming their respect for national independence and sovereignty, Australia and Viet Nam will work together in regional forums to develop credible security architecture and promote regional confidence-building measures to minimise the risk of conflict in the region.

Australia and Viet Nam will foster greater openness and cooperation in the defence relationship by continued personnel exchanges and human resources training, ships visits and by strengthening the exchange of views on regional and security issues of mutual concern through an annual dialogue between officials from the foreign and defence ministries.

Australia and Viet Nam are committed to fighting transnational crime and countering terrorism. Enhanced cooperation to combat human trafficking, narcotics and money laundering and to counter terrorism and other forms of cooperation will be supported by increased information exchange and intelligence sharing, training and capacity building, and practical cooperation, as appropriate, between police forces, customs, immigration, border control and security officials. A Joint Transnational Crime Centre in Ho Chi Minh City and the Memoranda of Understanding between Vietnamese relevant agencies and the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship will form the basis for ongoing consultation and cooperation.

Australia and Viet Nam welcome conclusion of negotiations on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Agreement and agree to finalise bilateral treaties on extradition and mutual assistance. Australia will maintain its community outreach efforts in Australia aimed at reducing the number of people caught up in the narcotics trade.

Australia and Viet Nam have a common interest in maritime and aviation security, and in ensuring our borders as well as national sovereignty and territorial integrity are protected. We signal our commitment to tackling these concerns, including in combating people smuggling and piracy, by building practical cooperation including through coordinated activities and support for the Bali Process and the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia.

Australia and Viet Nam recognise the need for collective effort to prevent the development and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Affirming their common purpose in working to achieve a successful outcome of the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, Viet Nam welcomes Australia’s contribution to the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament.

Australia and Viet Nam will continue their close cooperation in dealing with MIA cases.

Supporting people-to-people links

Australia and Viet Nam welcome the fact that strong and growing people-to-people links already exist between our countries. These links exist across all levels of society and across a broad spread of business, academic, media, cultural, non-government agencies, friendly and sporting organisations. We commit to work to strengthen these links including through further cooperation in the fields of culture, sports and tourism.

Australia already provides significant opportunity to Vietnamese people to work in Australia under the temporary skilled migration program. Australia and Viet Nam will finalise a work and holiday arrangement to provide the opportunity for some young people of both countries to have short term work experience in the other.

Australia and Viet Nam will also seek to enhance their consular services. Australia welcomes the prospect of Vietnamese consular posts being established in Perth and Melbourne and looks to the early agreement of Viet Nam to the expansion of the consular district of the Australian Consulate-General in Ho Chi Minh City.

Australia and Viet Nam value the contribution of the Vietnamese community in Australia to the social and economic development of Australia and Viet Nam, and in promoting friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

Australia will continue to support and strengthen the Australia Network television service to Viet Nam including the delivery of selected programming with sub-titling in the Vietnamese language and the provision of on-line English language education materials. Australia and Viet Nam will both look to increase exchanges of media representatives with a view to encouraging high quality reporting and greater public interest and mutual understanding of each country. The growing alumni network reinforces such public interest and mutual understanding.

Advancing the global and regional agenda

Australia and Viet Nam recognise there remain significant challenges to achievement of a stable, peaceful and prosperous international environment. We share the objective of reinforcing, and developing international and regional institutions able to promote our shared political, economic and security interests. In particular, we recognise the value of working in partnership to shape the future of our shared regional and global environment.

Australia and Viet Nam declare that collective action is needed to respond to the global economic crisis, climate change and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as to strengthen the protections and put in place the frameworks for dealing with natural disasters, pandemics, poverty and food security.

Australia and Viet Nam commit to cooperating closely in the United Nations to advance issues of mutual concern and to promote the effectiveness of the UN institution. We reaffirm our support for reform of the UN Security Council. Australia congratulates Viet Nam on its successful first term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and welcomes Viet Nam’s positive consideration of Australia’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council in 2013-14.

Australia and Viet Nam affirm the importance of working together and with other countries through inter-regional forums such as ASEM and regional forums such as APEC, the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the ASEAN Regional Forum to achieve a stable and prosperous Asia-Pacific region. Australia and Viet Nam recognise the need to be ambitious for the future, and the importance of suitable regional architecture and practical cooperation to address issues affecting the region. Viet Nam welcomes further discussion on Australia’s initiative for an Asia Pacific community. Viet Nam’s role in 2010 as chair of ASEAN and the EAS provides an opportunity to strengthen cooperation in these forums. Australia commits to support Viet Nam in its role as chair of ASEAN and looks with Viet Nam to find opportunities for greater consultation and cooperation between Australia and Viet Nam in coming years.

Signed in Canberra on the Seventh day of September of the year two thousand and nine in duplicate, in English and Vietnamese, all texts being equally authentic.

For the Government of Australia: For the Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam:
………………………………….
The Hon Julia Gillard
Deputy Prime Minister,
Minister for Education,
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and
Minister for Social Inclusion
………………………………….
H.E. Dr Pham Gia Khiem
Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister of Foreign Affairs

7 September 2009