NZ Viet Nam ties strengthened further with launch of aviation forum

18 November 2015: Strengthening bilateral ties across industries remained the prime focus of the day as NZ Prime Minster John Key’s tour marking 40 years of diplomatic relations between NZ and Viet Nam continues.

An exercise directed towards matching New Zealand’s extensive aviation capabilities with the opportunities that Viet Nam presents in the area was buoyed by the launch of an aviation forum set to reinforce and increase collaboration between the countries’ aviation sectors.

First on the agenda for theday was a visit to Vingroup, one of the largest private companies in Viet Nam. With interests in the education, healthcare, tourism and modern retail sectors, the company presents a range of opportunities for cooperation between NZ and Viet Nam across verticals and business functions. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce Prime Minster Key, Minister Joyce and his delegation to Vingroup’s business, and also to promote NZ areas of strength to the company.

Minister Joyce also met the Vietnamese Minister of Education, Minister Pham Vu Luan, along with senior Vietnamese government officials and education delegates to discuss areas of engagement that could be mutually beneficial for both countries. The discussion was followed by the signing of an MOU between the VIED (The Vietnam International Education Development) and the University of Waikato. The University of Waikato, established in 1964, is one of the most sought after universities for Law, Education, Business, Accounting and Computer Science.

Later in the afternoon, Minister Joyce met with Nguyen Nhat, the Vice-Minister of Transport, alongside a visit to Vietnam Air Traffic Management’s (VATM) Control Centre. An emphasis on understanding the state-of-the art operations of the control centre was supplemented by a discussion about New Zealand’s world-class aviation training capabilities. At the VATM Control Centre, Prime Minister Key tried out VATM’s traffic control simulator firsthand, in the presence of a New Zealand trained VATM official.

The substantial growth of Viet Nam’s international passenger traffic, third-fastest globally, projected to scale from 36 million in 2015 to 63 million in 2020, represents a significant opportunity for both commercial and civil aviation.

Viet Nam is well suited to the development of a comprehensive aviation industry, with both national road and rail systems comparatively underdeveloped. New Zealand’s rich history and strengths in aviation mean the country is well placed to support this development, through more effective aircontrol processes, staff training and best practice sharing. Awareness about New Zealand’s aviation industry in Viet Nam, however, is fairly low, and it is these government-level relationships that can create and drive the success of commercial endeavours.

Following this visit, the Aviation Forum was launched at the Civil Aviation Administration of Viet Nam (CAAV) conference room, led by Vice Minister Nhat and Minister Joyce, reinforcing the commitment and willingness of the New Zealand aviation sector to work with its Vietnamese counterparts. With a number of New Zealand aviation companies engaging with Viet Nam, a relationship at this level will create multiple new commerce-led relationships for both countries.

The last stop on the Minister Joyce’s agenda for the day was the New Zealand Connections and New Zealand-ASEAN Awards ceremony, an event that celebrates connections between New Zealand alumni in Viet Nam and also 40 years of New Zealand - ASEAN relations.

With the Education Cooperation Arrangement (ECA),first signed in 2004, refreshed earlier this year and the NZ/Viet Nam Action Plan 2013-2016 set in full force, these new agreements will see these two countries making fresh connections while strengthening existing ones on the back of greater knowledge sharing and collaboration across education and aviation.