Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province: A vanguard for advancing the Australia-Vietnam economic relationship

By Kyle Springer

Ba Ria-Vung Tau (BRVT) province is an emerging economic hub in Vietnam. It is the gateway for international trade for the greater Ho Chi Minh City Metropolitan region, an area with a population of 21 million. BRVT is the fourth-most popular destination in Vietnam for foreign investment.

New developments in and around BRVT make it a competitive destination for Australian investment. Seaport infrastructure and a new international airport under construction in a neighbouring province promise to boost its international connectivity. The province is also the location of national LNG import infrastructure, which is likely to expand as Vietnam’s energy system is modernised.

Australian businesses have an established footprint in BRVT.Australian companies were among the first foreign firms to invest in the province after Vietnam’s economic reforms began in the late 1980s. These businesses understand the province’s regulatory environment, and are a resource for other Australian businesses seeking to enter the province.

BRVT is an ideal focal point for efforts to upgrade Australia-Vietnam economic ties. Australia has established policy frameworks to build trade and investment links with Vietnam, including the CPTPP and RCEP. BRVT’s features make it an ideal geographic gateway to realise this agenda.

The Western Australia government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with BRVT province in September 2020. The MoU establishes three pillars of cooperation between the two governments: economic cooperation, education, and culture and the arts. The MoU aims to develop trade and build closer links between government and business.

A clear understanding of BRVT’s economic environment is key to unlocking deeper connections. An opportunity exists to gather together the expertise of Australian entities in BRVT, and to develop a “roadmap” program for building stronger bilateral economies ties using BRVT as a base.

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