17:11 | 11/05/2015 Cooperation
(VEN) - With a huge consumer market in Vietnam, Italian businesses want to step up their long-term presence here and share their development experience with Vietnamese businesses. In particular, Italian businesses are especially interested in creating new cooperation opportunities with small and medium-sized companies. Vietnam Economic News’ Ngoc Thao spoke with Bruna Santarelli, Chief Representative of the Italian Trade Commission (ICE) Office under the Italian Embassy in Vietnam.
What are your views on bilateral trade between Vietnam and Italy in the recent period?
Statistics show that bilateral trade between Vietnam and Italy has grown well in recent years, reaching US$2.53 billion in 2011, US$2.8 billion in 2012, US$3.5 billion in 2013, US$4.1 billion in 2014, while the figure for this year is expected to reach US$5 billion. To promote bilateral trade relations, the two countries have established a joint commission on economic cooperation between the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, with its first meeting taking place last November. Vietnam is a large market with more than 90 million consumers and growing consumer demands. Vietnamese consumers like made-in-Italy products. These facts offer favorable conditions for Italian businesses to invest in Vietnam.
How has ICE assisted Italian businesses in exploring investment opportunities and implementing their investment projects in Vietnam?
In recent times, the ICE has organized many workshops and meetings for Italian businesses to discuss doing business in Vietnam, creating opportunities for them to meet and cooperate with members of other trade offices. We also organized and participated in fairs to increase the visual presence of Italian businesses here. Through specialized promotion activities, we have helped businesses access market information as well as new partners.
Our activities are all aimed at creating opportunities for Italian and Vietnamese businesses to explore each other’s markets and seek investment opportunities. Italy and Vietnam share many similarities in terms of culture and lifestyle as well as family and social connections. Therefore, we want to promote bilateral relations in a wide range of fields, including economics, culture, and society.
What do you think of the prospects of cooperation between the business communities of the two countries over the time to come?
Vietnam is a market of great potential for Italian businesses. Our presence in Vietnam has come after many other European countries, so we can learn from their experiences. Like Vietnam, 90 percent of Italian businesses are small to medium in sizs such, the business communities of the two countries can assist each other in production and trade. Italian businesses have shown a growing interest in the Vietnamese market, and in Ho Chi Minh City in particular.
What are the prospects in terms of bilateral economic cooperation, especially after Vietnam successfully negotiates its free trade agreement with the EU?
As the two countries are pursuing a strategic goal of raising bilateral trade to US$5 billion next year, the Italian government has proposed creating necessary assistance – especially in terms of capital – for Italian businesses to seek partners in Vietnam and indeed throughout Asia. If such conditions are created, they can make the most of opportunities from the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement that will be signed in the near future.