Vietnam is recognised as a critical focus within the Northern Territory’s International Engagement Strategy 2022-26 and is noted as a high-priority market for international engagement and trade.

In February 2023, the Australia Vietnam Policy Institute (AVPI) hosted a roundtable in Darwin together with the Northern Territory Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade as part of the AVPI’s second roundtable series.

This paper summarises the roundtable discussion, which took place prior to the announcement of the Governments of Australia and Vietnam elevating the relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) on 7 March 2024. The contents of this paper reflect the anticipation of the CSP to ensure an accurate representation of the discussion.

During the roundtable, participants emphasised the importance of comprehensive engagement – beyond the immediacy of commercial transactions – to establish enduring partnerships and the need for Northern Territory-tailored investment strategies to help build stronger trade and investment in the agriculture and resources sector across Australia-Vietnam.

The summary paper presents participants’ views and recommendations for the CSP. It explores the Northern Territory’s approach to investment, the emerging sectors of focus, and the important need to bridge geographical divides through delegations, enhance business preparedness for international markets, and foster workforce development through strategic cultural exchanges.

Key takeaways

  • There is a need to transcend the ‘Berrimah Line’, for an immersive experience in the breadth of what the NT offers and the logistical realities attached to its vastness.
  • Shift from formal reception to substantial business matching for outbound trade delegations. Establishing a foundational relationship online before incountry meetings could enhance trust and facilitate deeper commercial partnerships.
  • Tapping into Vietnam’s trained labour such as specialists in tropical agriculture, feedlot operations, and aquaculture, can overcome the Territory’s  twin challenges of attraction and retention of talent.
  • Intentionally strengthening and revitalising the Vietnamese diaspora community in the NT is the first step to driving business and community cohesion and provides relational inroads to increased trade and investment into Vietnam.
  • There is a gap in market intelligence regarding Vietnam, stressing the need for a guide to inform investment and trade decisions. Conversely, an equivalent may be beneficial in Vietnam, particularly in offering a way to navigate complex regulatory requirements for particular sectors.
Publication Date
Monday 6th May, 2024
Your Authors
Nicola Gibbs
Director, Pluri