09:53 | 01/04/2016 Trade
(VEN) - Italian Ambassador to Vietnam Cecilia Piccioni said that Italian-Vietnamese trade is likely to reach the target of US$5 billion this year. Vietnam Economic News’ reporter Ngoc Quynh talked with her about the prospects for improved economic and trade cooperation between Italy and Vietnam.
What are your comments on Italian-Vietnamese economic and trade ties so far?
Relations between the two countries and economic and trade ties in particular are growing and deepening. Italy is currently among few EU countries which have signed a strategic partnership agreement with Vietnam.
For the first time in the relations between the two countries, Italian President Sergio Mattarella visited Vietnam in November 2015 to discuss specific activities to realize the strategic partnership agreement. He usually goes abroad on business with one minister who monitors a strategic field. During his visit to Vietnam, the Italian minister of economics accompanied the president and he selected Vietnam as the first destination for his visit to Southeast Asia. This shows that the Italian government considers Vietnam as its leading strategic economic partner in ASEAN.
Prior to that, the Italian prime minister visited Vietnam in June 2014 and the two sides agreed to increase bilateral trade revenue to US$5 billion. I believe that the target will be reached this year.
Why do you believe so?
Vietnam became Italy’s most important economic and trade partner in ASEAN with total imports and exports of more than US$4 billion in 2015, including US$1.453 billion worth of Italian exports to Vietnam and US$2.851 billion worth of Vietnamese exports to Italy.
Italian firms in Vietnam have been increasing their investments. We strongly hope that many more Italian businesses will come to Vietnam in the near future to make the most of an economy which is developing in terms of quality.
During the visit to Vietnam by President Sergio Mattarella, the two parties concluded an agreement on the implementation of the strategic partnership agreement during 2015-2016 including boosting economic and trade ties as an important goal.
At the strategic talk held in Ho Chi Minh City within the framework of the visit, the two parties signed an agreement and an action program on cooperation in business development, customs and university education in 2016.
What plans does Italy have to promote economic and trade ties between the two countries?
The government of Italy is getting together with the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade to launch a US$15 million project to support Vietnamese small to medium-sized enterprises in Ho Chi Minh City and the south to increase their competitiveness not only at home but also abroad. The Italian economics minister also expressed his willingness to visit Vietnam again together with Italian SMEs to seek investment opportunities and share their experiences in developing SMEs.
I went on business to Vinh Phuc in February and Hue and Da Nang in early March to discuss new opportunities for Italian companies and for Italy and provinces in the central region to cooperate in economics, culture and university education.
Italy has strengths in terms of technology and Italian companies are examples of sustainable production, environment respect and focus on investment quality and efficiency. Italy also has strengths in developing agricultural products and food processing. We really want to organize workshops to share experiences and hear the opinions of Vietnamese businesspeople and officials in order to cooperate in processing agricultural products and foods which meet food safety and hygiene standards.