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Visit by Vietnams's investment minister.

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The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Tim Fischer, has welcomed to Australia Vietnam’s Minister for Planning and Investment, Dr Tran Xua n Gia. Dr Gia arrives in Sydney today on a five-day visit as a Guest of the Australian Government.


He will visit Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. In Canberra on 8-9 February, he will lead the Vietnamese Government delegation to the fifth biannual Australia-Vietnam Joint Trade and Economic Cooperation Committee (JTECC) meeting. Mr Fischer will lead the Australian delegation.


The JTECC meeting will focus on a number of key bilateral trade and investment issues, including access for Australian food and beverages to the Vietnamese market, investment opportunities for Australian companies in the insurance, mining and agriculture sectors, general concerns of Australian companies about the investment climate in Vietnam, and areas of cooperation in regional and multilateral fora. A Joint Communique will be issued at the end of the meeting.


Mr Fischer said that Dr Gia’s visit coincided with impressive gains in two-way trade between Australia and Vietnam. In 1998, bilateral trade had grown by around 47 per cent and Australian exports to Vietnam had grown by 63 per cent. Last year, two-way trade had also surpassed the A$ 1 billion mark for the first time.


“These gains have come at a time when the regional economic crisis has led to declining Australian exports to a number of key East Asian markets,” Mr Fischer said.


“Vietnam is thus emerging as a small but increasingly important market for Australian goods and services with emerging opportunities in niche sectors. For example, Dr Gia’s visit also coincides with the first shipment of live cattle from Northern Australia to Vietnam.”


Mr Fischer said that other recent investment successes by Australian companies in Vietnam included last June’s launch of Fosters beer into the Vietnamese market following the purchase of two breweries in Vietnam, an announcement that Southcorp Packaging would establish a PET bottling plant, and Telstra’s decisions to increase its investment in Vietnam’s telecommunications industry by a further A$40 million and make Hanoi its regional headquarters.


Dr Gia will also attend a business forum in Sydney on 5 February, where Australian company and industry representatives can discuss trade and investment opportunities in Vietnam directly with Dr Gia and his delegation. The Forum is being organised by the Australia Vietnam Business Council in cooperation with Austrade.


Dr Gia will also visit a number of major infrastructure sites and meet a range of State and Commonwealth Government Ministers.


5 February 1999


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