Vietnam - Italy Relationship: Increasingly Solid and Fruitful

8:50:21 AM | 5/2/2024

In 1973, Italy and Vietnam officially established diplomatic relations. January 21, 2013, marked a milestone as the two countries signed a joint statement establishing the strategic partnership on the occasion of the visit to Italy by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong. Over five decades, the bilateral relationship has flourished in depth and breadth across all spheres. The Vietnam Business Forum would like to present an excerpt from an article by Mr. Marco della Seta, Ambassador of Italy to Vietnam, featuring the friendly relationship between Italy and Vietnam over the years.

The friendly relationship between Italy and Vietnam has its roots far back in time. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1973, the friendship between our two countries has been characterized by concrete acts, such as the humanitarian assistance provided by Italian ships to the Vietnamese people in the 1970s, and has resulted in a large number of cooperation initiatives, agreements and exchanges of delegations.

Political relations are increasingly solid, as evidenced by the many institutional visits that took place in the last years. In 2013, the visit to Italy by the Secretary General of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Nguyen Phu Trong, offered the occasion to elevate the relationship between our two countries to a Strategic Partnership. Two years later, the State visit in Hanoi by the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, represented the first visit to the country by an Italian Head of State.

As demonstrated by the priorities set during Secretary General Trong’s visit to Rome, culture is at the core of relations between Italy and Vietnam. Here in Vietnam, we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of diplomatic relations through a rich program of cultural events and initiatives. The Executive Program of Cultural Cooperation for the years 2023-2026, signed in Rome last July, as well as our project to open a fully-fledged Italian Institute of Culture in Hanoi will provide us with new and more diverse opportunities for cooperation. At the same time, we will continue to work in the sectors that have always characterized the Italian cultural presence in Vietnam, a noteworthy example of which is the contribution by the Lerici Foundation to the conservation of the UNESCO World Heritage site of My Son.

Vietnam and Italy are increasingly focusing on scientific, technological, and academic cooperation. In the photo: Thuongmai University and Cattolica del Sacro Cuore University sign an MoU on collaboration in training and research 

Concerning economic cooperation, its fruitfulness is seen in the volume of bilateral trade as well as in the presence of important Italian industrial and financial enterprises in Vietnam, which also represent a relevant source of employment in the country. Italy is currently Vietnam's third largest trading partner in the European Union (EU) and, conversely, Vietnam is Italy's largest trading partner among ASEAN countries. The Italian export to Vietnam is led by advanced technology productions, such as machinery and pharmaceuticals, which account for about 40% of the total.

Through these exports, Italy is contributing to the industrialization process of Vietnam by marketing industrial machines that favor a high quality and high technology mechanization of production processes. Furthermore, food, beverage and luxury Italian products have already gained praise and recognition from the Vietnamese people. Italy is interested in further expanding their offer and in deepening Vietnamese customers’ knowledge of them.

Italian culinary and beverage products have garnered considerable acclaim and recognition among the Vietnamese people, reflecting their appreciation for Italy’s rich gastronomic culture 

The economic relations between our two countries also benefit from the provisions of two important agreements signed by Vietnam and the EU in 2019: the Free Trade Agreement and, soon, the Investment Protection Agreement. The former, which already came into force, will increasingly facilitate trade exchanges by phasing out 99% of all tariffs and partially removing the remaining 1% through limited duty-free quotas. As regards the latter, which aims at guaranteeing a safer space for investments, Italy has already shown its support by ratifying it last July.

Economic and cultural cooperation will continue to play a major role in Italy-Vietnam cooperation in the years to come

Economic and cultural cooperation will continue to play a major role in Italy-Vietnam cooperation in the years to come. At the same time, in order to further strengthen and deepen the relations between our two countries, Italy intends to pay increasing attention to scientific and technological cooperation and to people-to-people exchanges, with particular regard to cooperation between universities and centers of research. These sectors are key to promoting innovation as well as engagement and active participation by youth. It is by investing in young generations that we can make sure that, in the future, the friendship between Italy and Vietnam will continue to be as solid and rewarding as it is today.

Marco della Seta, Ambassador of Italy to Vietnam

Source: Vietnam Business Forum