08:34 | 22/11/2016 Cooperation
President Tran Dai Quang, his wife and a high-ranking delegation of Vietnamese officials, on November 21 began the five-day State visit to Italy and the Vatican at the invitation of Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Pope Francis.
President Tran Dai Quang, his wife and a high-ranking delegation of Vietnamese officials arrive in Rome, Italy
The visit aims to strengthen the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Italy as well as boost the co-operative relations between Vietnam and the Vatican in a positive direction.
Vietnamese people are delighted at the achievements in all areas that Italy has gained over the recent years. Italy is the world's ninth biggest economy and has an economic development model similar to Vietnam, including a system of active and effective medium and small enterprises that contribute two-thirds of the total GDP. Currently, Italy’s trade policies are associated with the EU’s general economic policy. The country has boosted foreign trade with emerging Asian economies and ASEAN countries. Its total foreign investment value reached around US$630 billion by the end of 2015. The strong development of Asia-Pacific countries, including Vietnam, in recent times has attracted greater attention from Italian investors.
It is of welcome news that the Vietnam – Italy strategic partnership has positively developed in all fields since the establishment of diplomatic ties on March 23, 1973. The political relations between the two countries have been consolidated and developed since 1990. Italy was the first western European nation to support co-operation between Vietnam and the European Union, as well as the normalisation of ties between Vietnam and international financial, trade, monetary organisations in the early 1990’s. On January 21, 2013, Vietnam and Italy signed a joint statement establishing their strategic partnership on the occasion of Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s State visit to Italy.
The two countries have carried out regular exchanges of high-ranking delegations, including visits made to Italy by the former Chairman of the National Assembly (NA) Nguyen Sinh Hung in March 2014, President of Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan in July 2015, and NA Vice Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong in May 2015. In addition, Vice President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Marina Sereni (in January 2014), Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (in June 2014), former Italian PM Enrico Letta (in January 2015) and Italian President Sergio Mattarella (in November 2015), also paid official visits to Vietnam. During the meetings, the Italian side has always affirmed their determination to enhance multi-faceted co-operation with Vietnam, considering Vietnam as a priority partner in Southeast Asia and a destination of Italian businesses from now until 2020.
Multi-faceted co-operation, particularly in economy, investment, education, training, culture and tourism, between the two countries has seen new steps in its development. The Italian Government has listed Vietnam among 10 emerging markets prioritised for trade and investment ties. Two-way trade between the two countries saw high growth in recent years, reaching US$4.3 billion in 2015. Italy ranked 31st among 112 countries and territories investing in Vietnam last year, with 77 projects worth US$360 million. Italy began its provision of official development aid (ODA) for Vietnam in the 1990s in priority co-operation fields including water works, environmental protection, human resource development and healthcare.
Every year, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs grants numerous scholarships to Vietnamese students. The two sides also regularly hold cultural weeks, enhancing the understanding and friendship between the two peoples. The overseas Vietnamese community in Italy, consisting off nearly 5,000 people, has stably resided and integrated into the host country.
The positive development between Vietnam and the Vatican have been marked by numerous high-ranking visits, including the Vatican visit made by Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in 2013, former PM Nguyen Tan Dung in 2014, former NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung in 2014 and President of the VFF Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan in 2015; as well as the Vietnam visit made by Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples of the Vatican, Cardinal Fernando Filoni in 2015 and Chairman of the German Catholic Bishops’ Conference Cardinal Reinhard Marx in 2016.
The State visit to Italy and the Vatican visit by Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and his spouse is an important political event, marking a new milestone in the relations between Vietnam and Italy and the Vatican. The visit is anticipated to bring the strategic partnership between the two countries to a new height as well as enhance the Vietnam – Vatican relations, contributing to peace, stability and development in the world./.