(VEN) – Over the last four decades, the friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and Italy has expanded in all fields with remarkable bilateral economic cooperation results, said Damiano Francovigh, First Secretary and Head of the Economic and Commercial Section at the Italian Embassy in Vietnam, in a talk with Vietnam Economic News on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries (1973-2013).
According to Damiano Francovigh, Italy has been for many consecutive years a leading European Union (EU) trade partner of Vietnam. In the context of numerous difficulties facing the global economy as well as the Vietnamese and Italian economies, trade between the two countries continued to impressively grow in 2011 and 2012. Specifically, in 2011, bilateral trade reached US$2.53 billion, up 38 percent compared with 2010. Last year, the index reached US$2.8 billion, up 10 percent compared with 2011. Currently, Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations are underway so that the FTA can be signed in late 2014. Economists believe this FTA will create a big breakthrough in trade between Vietnam and EU countries, especially Italy. Explaining this, Damiano Francovigh said Vietnam and Italy were two economies that complemented each other, so the FTA would create new opportunities for importers, exporters and consumers of the two countries and contribute to promoting the growth of both economies. “As a leading EU trade partner of Vietnam, I expect the FTA will promote the progress of economic and commercial relations between Vietnam and Italy, thus increasing bilateral trade in the time to come,” he said.
Regarding investment, during the last several years, many large economic groups of Italy have penetrated and successfully invested in Vietnam. Italian investment in Vietnam so far has reached nearly US$200 million. Some examples of Italian businesses and groups which came to Vietnam early and are effectively operating in the country include Technip with investment in the Phu My Nitrogenous Fertilizer Plant, Denieli Officina (steel production), Piaggio (motorcycles and engines), Bonfigloli (industrial, mobile equipment), Datalogic (bar code readers). Notably, in 2012, the Italian National Electricity Group (ENI) officially joined oil and gas exploration and exploitation projects in the East Sea, marking an important step forwards in economic cooperation between Vietnam and Italy.
Regarding priority and potential fields of bilateral cooperation, Damiano Francovigh said Italy had a developed mechanical manufacturing industry, especially precision tools, while Vietnam needed to import machinery and equipment to make key export products such as textiles, garments, footwear and leather products, wood and interior furniture, agricultural products and seafood. Italy can assist Vietnam’s development in some major fields and help Vietnam improve its competitiveness in the Southeast Asian market through technology transfer. Italy will transfer technologies to Vietnam through businesses operating in the fields of infrastructure, textiles, garments and leather shoes. These are fields where Italy has advantages and Vietnam has affirmed its abilities and attracted great attention of Italian businesses./.
By Nguyen Huong & Hoa Le