Advancing Investment and Trade Links between Thanh Hoa and Italian Counterparts

9:05:43 AM | 5/1/2024

The strategic partnership between Vietnam and Italy has consistently evolved in a positive, dynamic, and continuous manner across various sectors. This broad-based cooperation has laid the groundwork for fostering local collaboration opportunities between the two nations. A testament to this fine relationship is the recent series of “Italy Days in Thanh Hoa” events, hosted by Thanh Hoa province and Italian localities, which further consolidated the strengthening ties.

Participants at the conference on enhancing trade and investment linkages with Italy, a significant component of the “Italy Days in Thanh Hoa” event series

Thanh Hoa - the land of advantages and potential

Regarded as a "miniature Vietnam", Thanh Hoa province has all kinds of terrain and ecosystems, which carry distinct values and create unique advantages in transportation, land, labor resources, natural resources, culture, history and other elements to boost investment cooperation and comprehensive development with many countries. Thanh Hoa is endowed with a favorable location for transportation with all types of traffic such as roads, North-South high-speed railway, waterways and airways, Nghi Son deep-water seaport, Tho Xuan Airport, Na Meo International Border Gate and Nghi Son Economic Zone. Nghi Son Economic Zone is a multi-industry integrated economic zone, chosen by the Vietnamese Government as one of eight key coastal economic zones, with the most attractive investment incentive policies in the country.

Furthermore, Thanh Hoa boasts a rich pool of human resources, comprising over 2.6 million workers. Notably, nearly 73% of these workers have received formal training, providing the province with a fundamental advantage. The province currently hosts five universities, 11 professional colleges, and 80 vocational education facilities. This educational infrastructure positions Thanh Hoa favorably for the development of labor-intensive industries such as textiles, garments, leather, and footwear, as well as high-tech industries.

Delegates conduct comprehensive tour of the exhibition booth dedicated to Italian products

In 2023, its GRDP growth was 7.01%, 1.4 times higher than the country's growth. In 2021 - 2023, its GRDP growth was 9.60%, ranking 5th in the country, ranking 3rd among 10 provinces and cities with the largest economic scale and ranking top in the North Central region. Its GRDP scale was estimated at VND273 trillion in 2023, 1.45 times that in 2020, ranking 8th in the country and highest among North Central provinces. Its state budget revenue was forecast at VND43,440 billion, 23% higher than the assigned target.

At the same time, in 2023, Thanh Hoa province's export value to Europe always stayed high, reaching US$558 million, of which exports to Italy accounted for US$22.3 million. Key exports included dried clams, frozen clams, footwear, apparel, paving stones and plastic beads. In the year, the Thanh Hoa Regional Import-Export Management Department granted more than 700 EUR.1 application forms to exporters shipping their products to Italy.

Citing the target that Thanh Hoa province together with Hanoi, Hai Phong and Quang Ninh will form a development quadrilateral in northern Vietnam to 2025, the province will also focus on prioritizing attracting investment into three development pillars and priority areas like manufacturing and processing; tourism, agriculture, healthcare, urbanization and infrastructure. Thanh Hoa hoped Italian businesses would come to study and invest in these fields.

Sharing opportunities to go further

With the above strengths and prospects, Thanh Hoa is considered an ideal location to host a series of "Italy Day in Thanh Hoa " events on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam-Italy diplomatic relations in 2023. The celebration brought together nearly 300 delegates from the Italian Embassy in Vietnam, the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, and Italian businesses operating in Vietnam, Vietnamese central officials, Thanh Hoa leaders and officials, and local businesses.

Outstanding events included the Thanh Hoa-Italy Investment and Trade Connection Conference which attracted Italian and Vietnamese delegates to share existing good relationships and expressed their desire to establish development cooperation in potential fields. Thanh Hoa province and Italian representatives both agreed that one of the important contributory factors to the strong development of economic relations is commitment to innovation and quality.

Italian businesses will bring their expertise and technology to Thanh Hoa that may help local economic development. The dynamic and potential workforce and the strategic location of Thanh Hoa province will give Italy a gateway to enter vibrant markets in Southeast Asia. The bilateral trade and cultural relationship between Italy and Vietnam will be an important foundation for cooperative relations between Vietnamese and Italian businesses.

Leaders of the Thanh Hoa Provincial People’s Committee hoped that Mr. Marco Della Seta, Ambassador of Italy to Vietnam, and members of the visiting delegation will support Thanh Hoa province in establishing and developing a friendly and cooperative relationship with Naples province and promoting the signing of a cooperation agreement between Thanh Hoa and Naples; assist the province in exchanging and inviting Italian investors to research, survey and invest in projects in Thanh Hoa, especially in areas where Italy has strengths.

Delegates make a tour of the exhibition booth showcasing products originating from Thanh Hoa province

Ambassador Marco Della Seta said that Thanh Hoa has a lot of potential advantages, which are opportunities for Italian investors to carry out investment cooperation, adding that further boosting cooperation programs between the two sides is necessary.

The “Italy Days in Thanh Hoa” was also incorporated with a photo exhibition which featured 20 booths, including 15 booths of Italian businesses like Piaggio, Maserati, Danieli and Givi and five general booths that showcased typical products of Thanh Hoa province. This was a good opportunity to introduce and promote typical products, services and strengths of Vietnam, Italy and Thanh Hoa province.

From October 23 to 25, 2023, Thanh Hoa province also led a working delegation to Italy and signed a working agreement on continued exchange, negotiation and advancement towards the formation of cooperative relations between Thanh Hoa province and Campania region. Later, on December 9, 2023, the delegation of the Italian Embassy in Vietnam and Italian organizations and businesses in Vietnam had a field survey in Nghi Son Economic Zone to learn about potential advantages as well as investment, trade and tourism cooperation policies of Thanh Hoa in key areas (like manufacturing and processing, high-tech agriculture and tourism).

The series of “Italy Day in Thanh Hoa” events left a good impression on Italian agencies, businesses, partners as well as Vietnamese central agencies and businesses inside and outside Thanh Hoa province. Not only did they provide a comprehensive picture of socioeconomic landscape, potential, opportunities, business investment environment, investment and trade cooperation demand of Thanh Hoa province to Italian partners, the events also deepened the close and warm friendship between the two countries.

The sequence of “Italy Day in Thanh Hoa'' events made a significant impact on Italian agencies, businesses, and partners, as well as Vietnamese central agencies and businesses both within and beyond Thanh Hoa province. These events not only offered a holistic view of Thanh Hoa’s socio-economic landscape, potential, opportunities, business investment environment, and the demand for investment and trade cooperation to Italian partners, but they also served to strengthen the cordial and close-knit friendship between the two nations.

By Tran Ngoc, Vietnam Business Forum