Seminar Promotes Vietnam-Australia's Northern Territory Investment Cooperation

Several complementarities between Vietnam and Australia’s Northern Territory present significant investment and cooperation potential in multiple sectors.
April 01, 2024 | 11:54

The Northern Territory is the third-largest Australian federal division and is Australia's closest trade gateway with the Asia Pacific region and ASEAN. This is a place with a lot of development potential, and strengths, as well as very good similarities and complementarity with Vietnam, but has not been properly evaluated and developed, The Investor reported.

This is an opinion made at the seminar titled "Vietnam - Australia’s Northern Territory Investment Cooperation in 2024" taking place on March 28 in Hanoi. The conference was organized by The Investor magazine in collaboration with the Northern Territor - Vietnam Business Council (NT-VBC) with the sponsorship of the Vietnam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises (VAFIE).

Great potential for investment cooperation

At the seminar, delegates exchanged and discussed specific potential and investment cooperation opportunities between Vietnam and Australia’s Northern Territory; advantages and challenges; proposing solutions to realize investment cooperation projects between Vietnam and Australia’s Northern Territory in various fields.

Seminar Promotes Vietnam-Australia's Northern Territory Investment Cooperation

At the seminar in Hanoi, on March 28, 2024. Photo by The Investor/Trong Hieu.

In his remarks, Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, VAFIE standing vice chairman and editor-in-chief of The Investor, noted Vietnam and Australia had established diplomatic relations in 1973 and steadily elevated them to comprehensive (2009), strategic (2018) and the maximum level of comprehensive strategic partnership earlier this month.

In line with the development of bilateral ties, bilateral trade had doubled in 10 years to $13.8 billion in 2023.

Meanwhile, Australia has invested $2.04 billion in 631 projects in Vietnam; and Vietnamese businesses have made 94 investments in Australia worth $584 million, Tuan said.

Recent working sessions that VAFIE has had with the Northern Territory have revealed great potential for investment cooperation, especially in vocational training and sending Vietnamese workers to Australia.

Other potential areas include agriculture, particularly livestock farming and meat processing; logistics, construction materials, consumer goods; and solar energy. Northern Territory authorities have already expressed their support for such investments, Tuan said.

In September 2021, VAFIE and the NTVBC signed a strategic agreement to enhance business cooperation between the two sides, despite some issues triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic pushing back expected progress.

Nguyen Ngoc My, VAFIE vice chairman and head of the NTVBC, proposed that both sides focus their investments on prefab and modular construction materials sectors to exploit the complementarity of affordable labor costs in Vietnam and high demand in Australia.

The same applies to the breeding of cows and buffalos, meat processing in Australia for export to Vietnam; tourism; vocational training, and the export of Vietnamese labor to Australia, he said.

My further said that this year, the two sides should facilitate investments in vocational training; red meat production in collaboration with Australia's CAG Group; establishment of a Vietnamese center to display products such as construction materials, consumer goods, and handmade goods; tourism, including golf tourism; and logistics, including direct flights between Vietnam and the Northern Territory’s Darwin city.

Seminar Promotes Vietnam-Australia's Northern Territory Investment Cooperation

Jason Hanna, NTVBC vice chairman. Photo by The Investor/Trong Hieu

Meanwhile, NTVBC Chairman Jason Hanna highlighted advantages for the economic cooperation between the two sides, including the minor time-zone difference of two hours, the Northern Territory's high demand for lucrative hospitality jobs and Australia's development policies for the province providing opportunities for foreign students.

Hope for a direct flight from Vietnam to the Northern Territory soon

However, according to experts, there are still many barriers affecting the investment activities of Vietnamese businesses in the Northern Territory. The lack of direct flights and transport routes from Vietnam to Northern Australia, but having to go around to Melbourne, Sydney, and then back to the Northern Territory makes the process of transportation, economic, trade and educational exchange difficult.

In addition, the Northern Territory leaders value Vietnam, but businesses from both sides do not know much about each other. Recently, Australia has also tightened visa policies for international students, tourists, and foreign workers.

To promote investment activities between the two sides, Hanna hopes to soon have a direct flight from Vietnam to the Northern Territory. Meanwhile, Nguyen Thanh Ha, Vietnamese Consul General to Perth, said that businesses of the two countries need to organize more frequent delegation and exchange activities.

"The future exchange between Northern Territory and Vabis needs to have a long-term vision, a 3-year program, not just one year. In addition, when businesses invest in a certain area, they can continue to approach representatives abroad to be able to support finding more suitable partners, but first, each business itself needs to proactively find a suitable representative agency to meet its needs," Ha recommended.

She added that the success of many Vietnamese people in Australia, making significant tax payments, was a welcome development that would generate positive sentiments in the Australian government towards Vietnamese immigrants.

Besides, many Vietnamese students in Australia have been granted visas and citizenships, while many Vietnamese businesspersons have done very well in the Northern Territory, she stressed.

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