Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai paid an official visit to Italy from September 23-25 at an invitation of the Italian Government.

During the visit, he held talks with Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, and met with Minister of Economy and Finance Fabrizio Saccomanni and Minister of Economic Development Flavio Zanonato.

During the talks and meetings, the hosts spoke highly of Deputy PM Hai’s visit, considering it a new step to implement the outcomes of the State visit to Italy by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in January, in order to develop the Vietnam-Italy strategic partnership in a deep and practical manner, especially in the context that the two countries are celebrating the 40 th anniversary of their bilateral diplomatic ties.

Deputy PM Hai affirmed Vietnam always attaches importance to strengthening the fine traditional friendship with Italy, an important partner of Vietnam in the European Union.

In terms of bilateral relations, both sides expressed their delight at the development of the two countries’ friendship and cooperation in all fields, which is reflected in the upgrading of the bilateral relationship to a strategic partnership.

The Italian side affirmed that Italy wants to further deepen the multi-faceted cooperation with Vietnam, which plays an important role in the region and the ASEAN. They said Italy backs Vietnam’s efforts to develop comprehensive relations with the EU, including urging the union to soon approve the Partnership Cooperation Agreement (PCA), early recognise Vietnam’s full market economic mechanism and complete negotiations on the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) as soon as possible.

The two sides agreed on measures to foster their economic ties, including the early establishment of a Joint Committee on Economic Cooperation coordinated by the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Italian Ministry of Economic Development.

They pledged to encourage and create favourable conditions for the two countries’ businesses to meet and seek partners, firstly focusing on the fields that Vietnam has demands and Italy holds advantages such as transport infrastructure, energy, manufacturing, agricultural product processing, footwear and garment and textiles.

Both sides agreed to strengthen cultural exchanges and organise a meeting of their Joint Committee on Science and Technology. At the same time, they will coordinate to create conditions for the Vietnamese delegation to attend the International Expo Milano 2015.

They praised the maintenance of the exchange of delegations by the two countries’ Defence Ministries and agreed to hold an annual strategic dialogue at the deputy defence ministerial level in the coming time.

On this occasion, the two sides signed an action plan to implement the Joint Statement on the establishment of the Vietnam-Italy strategic partnership in the 2013-14 period, with measures to further deepen the bilateral cooperation in the key areas of politics-diplomacy, economics, culture-education, defence and agriculture. They also inked an action programme on cultural cooperation for the 2013-16 period.

During his stay, Deputy PM Hai also received leaders of some major Italian economic groups and visited the Italian National Oil Corporation (ENI).-VNA