Italian rep urges Vietnam to re-open gates to accelerate recovery

06:00 | 31/12/2021 Economy

(VEN) - Reopening doors to the outside world will help Vietnam recover quickly, Michele D'Ercole, Chairman of the Italian Chamber of Commerce (ICHAM) in Vietnam told Vietnam Economic News’ Ngoc Quynh.

italian rep urges vietnam to re open gates to accelerate recovery
Michele D'Ercole, Chairman of the Italian Chamber of Commerce (ICHAM) in Vietnam

What are your assessments of Vietnam’s economic situation, pandemic control and socioeconomic development policies in 2021?

The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged Vietnam's economy. Vietnam set a target of reaching a gross domestic product (GDP) of over six percent in 2021 but it obtained a growth of about three percent due to the pandemic’s fourth outbreak in the country. Prolonged social distancing in numerous localities seriously affected production and trading activities, especially in the fields of hotels, manufacturing, logistics, supply chains, and transport.

The Vietnamese government promptly issued efficient pandemic control and socioeconomic development policies, which help Vietnamese businesses turn challenges into opportunities, maintain operations, and find ways to recover and grow in the post-pandemic period. Vietnamese enterprises have seen difficulties as opportunities to re-evaluate their governance capacity, ability to respond to market changes and implement digital transformation and human resource restructuring on a more sustainable basis.

I would like to send my congratulation to the Government of Vietnam for making businesses feel optimistic and offering them the opportunity to restore production and trading in the new normal circumstance as well as seek new opportunities.

italian rep urges vietnam to re open gates to accelerate recovery

How has the pandemic impacted economic, trade and investment relations between Vietnam and Italy?

The pandemic of course is affecting bilateral economic, trade and investment cooperation. However, despite difficulties, bilateral trade reached more than US$4.5 billion in the first 10 months of 2021, an increase of 20 percent plus over the same period last year. This shows the huge potential for development of bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

Italy is one of Vietnam’s most important European trade partners. Italy can satisfy Vietnam’s demand for imported machinery, pharmaceuticals, food, furniture, leather, smart farm produce, and education, renewable energy, digital services and chemical products. About 30 percent of Vietnam's machinery imports come from Italy.

Vietnam's economy is developing, and product quality and sustainability standards need to be improved to serve consumption and production markets. Italy has become an European leader in terms of the circular economy, renewable energy, green technology and products, yacht design and manufacturing, and wooden furniture. Italy is a leading agricultural economy in the “old continent” in terms of sustainability while topping EU countries in terms of pharmaceutical production and being strong at fashion and automobile industries. Businesses in the fields in which Italy is strong are expected to help Vietnamese enterprises improve quality and become more competitive.

What recommendations do you have for the Vietnamese government on socioeconomic development, as well as bilateral cooperation in 2022 and the post-Covid-19 period?

Any government now faces a daunting task of maintaining sustainable economic recovery and at the same time controlling the unpredictable developments of the Covid-19 pandemic. In such a situation, I still have a positive outlook about Vietnam's economy that is showing growth prospects in different areas including infrastructure, seaports, highways, financial services, logistics, agriculture, renewable energy, ecological sustainability, digital transformation, e-commerce, and tourism.

Vietnam’s business environment is becoming more and more attractive. Vietnam signed many new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs), including the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) that will provide it with an opportunity to strengthen its position by eliminating almost all barriers in trade with the EU. Vietnam is providing foreign investors with opportunities in the fields of industry and high technology. New-generation FTAs, ​​such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), EVFTA and the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) with comprehensive commitments in different economic and trade areas will create conditions for Vietnam to expand its markets, attract investment, and improve its exports’ competitiveness.

Vietnam continues to be considered one of the most dynamic and attractive markets in the world. Actually, the Covid-19 pandemic has not changed that, because in the first 11 months of 2021, registered foreign direct investment (FDI) capital in Vietnam reached about US$26.46 billion. This is a clear sign of foreign investors’ confidence in the prospect of Vietnam's rapid economic recovery.

In order to promote economic, trade and investment cooperation in general and with Italy in particular, I think that Vietnam should reopen its doors to the outside world following the motto of safe, flexible adaptation to new circumstance and efficient pandemic control.

Simplifying entry procedures will be a very effective measure to promote trade, restore economic growth and attract foreign investment.

As the representative of Italian businesses in Vietnam, we will continue to promote Vietnam as a great investment destination. However, business on both sides need opportunities to meet. I am sure that Italy and Vietnam, in 2022 and the post-Covid-19 period, will still strengthen cooperation and bring bilateral trade to a higher level through close friendship and strategic partnership. The two complementary economies are the foundation for a harmonious, mutually beneficial relationship and a long-term commercial relationship in the future.