Vietnam calls for Australia’s help in obtaining AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on May 25 asked his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison to help obtain AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine manufactured in Australia.
May 26, 2021 | 09:31
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Vietnam calls for Australia’s help in obtaining AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine
Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh holds online talks with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison on May 25. Photo: VGP News

Speaking to Morrison over the phone, Chinh expressed thanks for Australia’s commitment to grant AUD 40 million (US$31.04 million) to support Vietnam’s Covid-19 vaccine procurement, the VGP News reported.

Regarding bilateral ties, Chinh affirmed that he stands ready to work closely with Morrison to deepen the strategic partnership with Australia in an increasingly effective and practical manner.

He suggested the Australian side continue technical assistance and open up its market for Vietnamese farm produce, and encourage Australian investors to expand investment in the Southeast Asian country.

Chinh called for Australia’s official development assistance to infrastructure, agriculture, poverty reduction, climate change adaptation, and high-quality human resource development as well as its continued support for Vietnamese peacekeeping forces.

A container of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine distributed via Covax facility arrive at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, May 16, 2021. Photo courtesy of UNICEF.
A container of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine distributed via Covax facility arrive at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, May 16, 2021. Photo courtesy of UNICEF

Meanwhile, Morrison reassured that Australia attaches importance to further promoting the strategic partnership with Vietnam.

Morrison expressed his hope that both sides will lift up the bilateral ties to comprehensive strategic partnership.

The two leaders agreed to soon finalize and sign a strategy on enhancing bilateral economic cooperation as well as collaboration at regional and international mechanisms and forums.

Pham spoke highly of Australia’s active role in cooperation with ASEAN and Mekong Sub-region mechanisms.

Both sides also compared notes on regional and international issues of shared concerns.

On South China Sea (Bien Dong Sea) issue, the two leaders underlined the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of aviation and navigation, peacefully settling disputes on the basis of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, and working towards conclusion of an effective and practical Code of Conduct in the East Sea.

Vietnam- Australia trade revenue surges nearly 34%

Two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and Australia topped US$3.63 billion in the first four months of this year, a year-on-year rise of 33.85%, according to Vietnamese Consul General to Australia Nguyen Dang Thang.

Speaking at a recent business cooperation conference held by the Vietnamese Entrepreneurs Association in Sydney (VEAS) on May 21, Thang said that exports of both nations to each other’s market increased in the period.

He described this as significant in the context that the Covid-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented disruption to the global economy and several nations, including those in Southeast Asia.

Trade turnover between Vietnam and Australia tops 3.63 billion USD during January-April. (Photo: VNA)
Trade turnover between Vietnam and Australia tops US$3.63 billion during January-April. Photo: VNA

However, Thang said the trade value did not reflect the economic potential between the two nations, adding Vietnamese and Australian enterprises should not only trade traditional products like seafood, farm produce, minerals, garment and textiles, footwear and building materials, but also capitalise on the products that both sides have gained competitive edge in the global market.

He also called on the Australian businesses to invest more in the Vietnamese market, particularly in the fields they hold considerable experience and advantages such as processing, manufacturing, high-tech agriculture, and logistics.

Meanwhile, Chairwoman of the Export Council of Australia Dianne Tipping affirmed Vietnam and Australia have enjoyed the fastest trade growth in recent years, and the Southeast Asian country has become a more important trade partner of Australia.

Besides goods, they have seen an impressive growth in their trade in services, including fintech, health care and education, she said.

Boasting fast economic growth, expansion of middle-class population, young and dynamic workforce, stable socio-political environment, and better business climate, Vietnam is truly an ideal destination for Australia firms, she said, adding the Vietnam – Australia ties have been deepened across the fields of economy, security, defence, culture, education and people diplomacy.

Tipping affirmed that the two countries have many opportunities to branch out their economic-trade relations in the post-pandemic era.

The Export Council of Australia encourages Australian businesses to expand their business in Vietnam, particularly in the fields that have good growth in the future such as information technology, digital transformation, finance-banking, environmental services, health care, and beauty.

Tipping said her council has advised the Australian government to back trade promotion with Vietnam, especially giving supports to small- and medium-sized companies who are interested in investing in the Vietnamese market, as well as consider establishing a travel corridor between the two countries, according to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA)./.

The second batch of nearly 1.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine under the Covax facility reached Hanoi on May 16, VnExpress said.

The doses were transferred to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) for storage, awaiting the Health Ministry's instructions on distribution to localities for the third phase of vaccination.

The shipment is part of the 4.1 million doses committed in free support for Vietnam under the Covax facility.

Vietnam began its inoculation programme in March using the vaccine produced by British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca, secured either through contracts or under Covax.

In February, Vietnam received about 117,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses of the 30 million it has ordered from the producer. A month later, the country received its first batch of the same vaccine under the Covax facility.

The health ministry said around 110 million doses will be supplied for Vietnam this year – 38.9 million under Covax, 30 million from AstraZeneca and 31 million from Pfizer/BioNTech. It has also registered to buy about 10 million additional doses through Covax under a cost-sharing scheme with lower prices.

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