Australian minister who has “predestined ties” with Vietnam

VietNamNet Bridge – On the 2nd floor of the Treasury Place 4 building, Melbourne on an early day in 2013, the Minister for the Arts and Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government Simon Crean received the delegation of Vietnamese journalists. During the reception, he reiterated the landmark of the "40 meaningful years" between Australia and Vietnam.

vietnam, australia, bilateral relations, cooperation, Simon Crean 

Mr. Simon Crean.

Exactly 40 years ago, on February, 26, 1973, shortly after the Paris Agreement on Vietnam was signed, Canberra made a decision that was later considered as a "political breakthrough."

Australia signed an agreement to set up diplomatic relations with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the only true state representing the people of Vietnam, on the whole territory of Vietnam.

Calling that decision as "the political breakthrough" because Australia was a close ally of the United States.

Since the 1980s, Vietnam-Australia relations began to prosper, especially since 1983 when the ruling party in Australia pursued a policy of integration in Asia.

The young student Simon Crean of the Monash University went on the streets to protest the war in Vietnam.

His father served as the Treasury Minister in the administration of the Labor Party that won the election in 1972 and this government decided to "recognize" bilateral relations with Vietnam - the country which later becomes an important partner in the Asia decade of Canberra.

Minister Simon Crean: Vietnam plays an important role in our vision

"There has been controversy about the Vietnam War, though Australia sent troops to help the allies. But we - the Labor Party, then stood at the counter for a war against the people. Moreover, the sovereignty of a country must be respected," he said in an interview with VietNamNet.

In your opinion, what are the highlights of the positive changes and the result of 40 years of bilateral relations between Australia and Vietnam?

We can see the change. It is the continuous growth of Vietnam; the number of people who get out of poverty; the integration with the world economy as well as stable GDP growth that you have achieved. The partnership between the two countries has been enhanced on the areas of cooperation such as economics, education, exchange of high-level delegations ...

The relations between the people of the two countries are also built and developed in the fields of culture, education, economics ... To strengthen the relations, the two countries can promote cooperation on creativity, art, cultural exchange activities ...

2013 will be the year that we will focus on exploring the connections in these areas. A series of cultural and art events have been prepared for the special anniversary year of the relationship between the two countries.

When you was the Minister for Employment, Education and Training, how did you promote the cooperation in this field, to make it today one of the most successful areas of cooperation between the two countries?

In 1994, I visited Vietnam as the Minister for Employment, Education and Training. At that time, we were looking forward to developing educational relations with Vietnam. With the need of economic development and opening the door to the world, Vietnam needed an international university. And the cooperation partner to open the first international university in Vietnam was Australia.

 vietnam, australia, bilateral relations, cooperation, Simon Crean

Australia helped Vietnam to open the first international university in the late 1990s. 

Establishing an international university is not only to serve the purely educational needs, but also important for economic development, skill development and national development. It is indeed not easy for the Vietnamese Government to invite a foreign educational unit involved in the implementation of the objectives of education and training for their people.

But it is an important decision. I think Vietnam chose Australia as the partner because Australia has good education export quality which is not as expensive as Europe, or the schools that are in the top of the U.S. educational system ... One of the reasons that Vietnam respected our collaboration comes from Australia’s goodwill and early recognition of bilateral ties with Vietnam 40 years ago.

With economic relations, the core areas of bilateral cooperation, besides bilateral cooperation  mechanisms that started from 1990, with the first trade and economic cooperation agreement was signed, so far, the two sides have entered the greater regional trade areas.

The Trans-Pacific Agreement (TPP) is a general purpose, but we must mention the FTA signed between Australia, New Zealand and ASEAN in 2009, when you were the Minister forTrade. How do Vietnam and Australia have benefited from the trade agreement that is said to be the most comprehensive trade agreement that this region reached?

Indeed it is a comprehensive regional trade agreement, including trade in goods and services, investment, e-commerce, labor, intellectual property rights, competition policy and economic cooperation.

It also shows the approval of the different development of ASEAN member states when commitments and benefits not only target the "regional mechanisms," but also the interests of each country. There are challenges on a competitive environment from such multilateral trade institution but it will provide an impetus to economies to operate dynamically.

I think this is an important FTA, making ASEAN's investment environment, in which each country such as Vietnam becomes more attractive.  It is a chance for each economy to strengthen its strength and attract FDI. The economy will grow faster and the market will become broader ...

After FTA, TPP is the opportunity to further expand the multilateral trade mechanism. Obviously, Vietnam will benefit larger and to further open its economic environment. The implementation of commitments will bring about greater opportunities for businesses, especially exporters. The companies also have many opportunities to access to cheap raw materials and machinery of Australia.

Vietnam in sight

vietnam, australia, bilateral relations, cooperation, Simon Crean ]

According to Minister Simon Crean, the Vietnamese community in Australia is very dynamic, with many contributions to Australia. 

As the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, you have many chances to come into contact with different communities in Australia. How do you evaluate about the Vietnamese community?

The Vietnamese community is large, very active in life. They have many important contributions, not only to economics but also to cultural diversity of Australia.

Their knowledge about the customs, culture and Australia will help establish trade connections between the two countries.

After four decades of establishing bilateral ties, what is your assessment of the position of Vietnam in the vision of Australia today?

Vietnam has an important role in our vision.

Xuan Linh
vietnam, australia, bilateral relations, cooperation, Simon Crean