Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce at a graduation ceremony of a joint Bachelor program of the Auckland University of Technology and the University of Science in HCMC in 2015. Photo: Ha Anh.
New Zealand looks forward to expanding tourism and trade with Vietnam after direct flights between the two countries are established, according to Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce.
Minister Joyce will be in Vietnam this week for the launch of Air New Zealand’s first direct flights between Auckland and Ho Chi Minh City on June 4.
The direct flights will make it easier for businesspeople, students and tourists to travel between the two countries, Joyce said in an email to Thanh Nien.
They will “strengthen existing connections… and enable new ones to grow” between the two countries, he said.
More than 2,000 Vietnamese students are studying in New Zealand, and more than 70,000 New Zealanders visited Vietnam in the last three years. “Tourism is the main sector that we expect to grow as a result of the direct flights,” Joyce said.
He pointed out that the new direct flights will enable businesspeople to connect and facilitates effective use of free trade agreements of which the two countries are members, namely the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA).
They will “make access to goods and services of our two countries much easier,” he said.
Vietnam emerged as the fastest growing Southeast Asian trade partner of New Zealand in the past five years and two-way trade reached more than NZD1 billion, Trade Minister Todd McClay said in February.
Last year recorded the first surplus in trade with New Zealand, and the gap “is only going to expand” as Vietnamese producers become more export-oriented and improve to meet stricter market demands, Joyce said.
Trade will further improve after the two countries became members of the TPP, which will “benefit exporters by offering much better access to large and important markets,” according to the minister.
He hailed the trade agreement, which covers a region that accounts for 36 percent of the global economy, and has a population of over 800 million, as one that will shape trade and investment flows in the Asia Pacific region.
He said New Zealand and Vietnam have carried out a number of programs to facilitate the latter’s ability to benefit from trade agreements, including the TPP.
The visit will be Joyce’s third to Vietnam in a year. He will visit some of Vietnam’s new leaders during the trip.
(Repoted by Kieu Oanh)