Vietnam and New Zealand sign agreements as they aim to double trade

HANOI, Vietnam – Vietnam and New Zealand have signed several co-operation agreements during a visit by Prime Minister John Key to Hanoi as they seek to double bilateral trade in the next five years.

Key is on his first visit to the Southeast Asian country since 2010. He said Sunday that the agreements covering education, aviation and health care will facilitate companies from both countries to do more business.

“Today we’ve signed a number of agreements which will see greater opportunities for New Zealand and Vietnamese companies to do more business together, for more students to be educated both in New Zealand and through New Zealand universities here in Vietnam and also see greater exchange of people-to-people links through tourist visits,” Key told reporters at a joint news conference with his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Tan Dung.

The two countries seek to bring their bilateral trade to $1.7 billion by 2020. The two-way trade stood at $800 million last year.

Both leaders strongly condemned Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Paris,” Key said. “We know that the pain and suffering that they going through is a tremendous burden to carry and we stand shoulder to shoulder with them as they fight the evil of terrorist attack that took place in their country.”

Dung said: “Together with the international community, Vietnam would like to express its condolences to the government and the people of France, especially to the families of the victims of the attack. We believe that with the strong effort of the French government and people, the perpetrators will be duly punished.”