Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Cao Chinh Thien (R) at the interview with the Vietnam News Agency (Photo: VNA)
 
Rome (VNA) – Vietnam – Italy ties have been at the best since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties in 1973, Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Cao Chinh Thien told Vietnam News Agency in a recent interview on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties (March 23).

Following the establishment of strategic partnership five years ago, both countries have actively facilitated high-level visits to further raise mutual understanding. In 2014 and 2015, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and President Sergio Mattarella chose Vietnam as the first country in Asia to visit, respectively.

During exchanges, high-ranking Italian officials affirmed determination to foster multifaceted cooperation with Vietnam, consider Vietnam a priority to develop ties in Southeast Asia and a destination for Italian firms between now and 2020.

Vietnam expressed appreciation for ties with Italy via high-ranking visits by National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung in 2014, President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Nguyen Thien Nhan in 2015 and President Tran Dai Quang in 2016.

Apart from all-level visits to share experience in specialised fields, both sides have worked closely together at multilateral and global forums.

Over the past five years, two-way trade has neared 5 billion USD each year. Within 10 years, from the fourth place, Vietnam has become the largest ASEAN trade partner of Italy. More and more Italian firms in different production sectors want to invest in Vietnam.

Cultural, tourism, scientific and education links have been expanded. Acclaimed Italian universities periodically visit Vietnam to boost affiliation with partners and attract students to the country.

In 2017, the number of Italian visitors to Vietnam hit 50,000 for the first time, which is forecast to increase in the future.

Apart from cooperation deals signed by the two countries’ ministries and agencies, Emilia Romagna region and Binh Duong province signed a cooperation agreement on October 16, 2013 in Binh Duong on the occasion of working trip by President of the Legislative Assembly of Emilia Romagna Region Palma Costi. The representative office of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Emilia Romagna Region was established in Binh Duong on September 11, 2015.

Italy’s Turin city and Ho Chi Minh City signed a twinning agreement on September 8, 2015 during Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Le Hoang Quan’s visit to Turin.

A tourism cooperation deal between Veneto and the southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau, and another in stone mining between Carrara and Yen Bai provinces will be signed in the near future.

About celebrations for the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties in 2018, Thien said Vietnam will continue with existing bilateral cooperation mechanisms such as the fifth meeting of the Vietnam – Italy Joint Committee on Economic Cooperation in the fourth quarter in Italy, as well as conduct exchange of delegations at ministry and local levels.

A Week of Vietnamese Goods in Italy is planned for while a delegation of Italian enterprises will explore Ho Chi Minh City market in the third quarter.

The Vietnamese Cultural Week in Italy is scheduled for the second and third quarter of 2018, not to mention photo exhibitions on Vietnam and a seminar to popularise Vietnam’s tourism.

Commenting on the potential of bilateral ties in the near future, Thien stressed the need to further lift bilateral relations and fully tap each one’s potentials.

He suggested launching fields of cooperation in demand such as market expansion of small and medium-sized enterprises, popularisation of culture, tourism, science, education and people-to-people exchange.-VNA