The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade released Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2024 on 1 September 2023.
The Strategy oversees Australia’s economic relationship with ten Southeast Asian countries and highlights Vietnam as one of the countries projected for continued growth over the next two decades. The Strategy defines general and sector-specific recommendations and recognises the significant opportunities and importance of Vietnam’s role in boosting economic engagement and two-way trade and investment in Southeast Asia and Australia.
Australia and Vietnam are strong partners with converging strategic interests, fast-growing trade, expanding education links and a long-term, constructive development partnership. Vietnam has demonstrated impressive growth (averaging 6.7 per cent annually over the past 30 years), with projections indicating maintenance at this level for the next five years before falling to 4 per cent by 2040 (pg. 172).
To increase Australia’s trade and investment in Vietnam, the Strategy lists four key sectors to watch:
Agriculture and food
As the economy expands, demand for premium food and beverages will grow. Two-way trade in agriculture, fisheries and forestry surpassed A$6 billion in 2022. Australia and Vietnam have committed to expand market access, including on fresh fruits. Opportunities exist for investors to expand food production and add value to downstream processing industries.
Energy and resources exports make up over half of Australia’s merchandise exports to Vietnam. Coal is the top export and Australian iron ore exports have also increased. Demand for Australia’s resources exports will grow further, including in aluminium, copper, zinc and lead. Australia’s mining sector could also assist with resources exploration, new innovations and supply of critical minerals.
Green energy transition
Opportunities exist for investors in renewable energy (solar, wind and battery storage). Australian capabilities in clean energy supply chains and services will find viable markets. Vietnam’s regulatory and investment framework and complicated approval processes remain obstacles.
Education and skills
Competition for international students is strong. Australia needs to focus on marketing, promotion and alumni support. There is potential for universities to cooperate in program delivery, staff and student exchanges, and research. Opportunities also exist in VET and for Australian schools.
Significant progress has already been achieved in strengthening the relationship between Australia and Vietnam as work continues towards the goal of establishing a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2024, recommends in a Vietnam action plan, the need to continue raising awareness, removing blockages, building capability, and deepening investments in the region to foster a robust partnership.
The AVPI will continue to work with Government agencies, organisations and individuals to support the work of this strategy, facilitate two-way trade and investment, and raise awareness of sectors critical to Australia and Vietnam’s economic development and sustainable future.
This summary article references information directly from Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040, originally released here via the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For further information on the full report please visit the original site.