Jakarta (ANTARA) - Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Saturday (Nov 14) called on New Zealand to open its door wider for goods and agricultural products of ASEAN countries as the sides have substantial potential for cooperation.

Addressing the online ASEAN-New Zealand Commemorative Summit, the Vietnamese prime minister suggested New Zealand share its experience in building brands and developing value chains of a number of fruits in order to help the ASEAN countries access demanding markets, as noted in a release published by ASEAN Viet Nam 2020 official website, Sunday.

ASEAN is now New Zealand’s fourth largest trade partner, with two-way trade reaching US$12.5 billion in 2019, he said.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, he proposed New Zealand strengthen cooperation with ASEAN in vaccine research and development, and support the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies and the COVID-19 Response Fund.

Prime Minister Xuan Phuc also stated that Vietnam will closely coordinate with other ASEAN countries and New Zealand to advance the ASEAN-New Zealand cooperation, thus bringing benefits to both sides, for peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said ASEAN and New Zealand share a strong legacy of working together to advance peace and prosperity in the region.

ASEAN is New Zealand’s fourth largest trading partner, a crucial defence and security partner, and a critical strategic hub that connects New Zealand to Asia and the rest of the world, Ardern affirmed.

The partnership will play an important role as the countries work together to support global efforts to manage the pandemic and ensure fair and equitable access to safe vaccines, and drive economic recovery through maintaining open markets for their exporters and resilient supply chains, Jacinda Ardern said.

The PM reaffirmed New Zealand’s commitment to strengthening its partnership with ASEAN under the themes of "Peace, Prosperity, People and Planet", which will promote cooperation in areas such as sustainability and climate change, trade facilitation and digital commerce.

As a manifestation of multilateralism, the ASEAN and New Zealand have recently strengthened regional economic integration that is mutually beneficial through New Zealand's decision to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Indonesia has warmly welcomed New Zealand’s decision to sign the RCEP to strengthen economic integration.

"As one of the manifestations of multilateralism, economic integration needs to be strengthened. The President warmly welcomes New Zealand’s decision to sign the RCEP," Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said.

At the ASEAN-New Zealand Summit, Presient Joko Widodo highlighted the importance of continuously strengthening multilateralism.

The Indonesian President told New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to continue to strengthen partnerships in the Pacific. He also extended his congratulations to Ardern over her re-election as New Zealand's prime minister.

RCEP is a comprehensive free-trade partnership between 10 ASEAN member states and five partner countries — China, South Korea, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand.

ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

RCEP member states account for almost a third of the global population and 20 percent of the world's gross domestic product.

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Reporter: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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