Vietnam has set a good example, among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in facilitating foreign investment, Italian businesses have opined.

A meeting was held by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development on May 19 in Rome to push Italian investment in the 10 ASEAN nations.

Executives from brands including Piaggio, Roberto Colannino, Aniston and Francesco Merloni encouraged other Italian firms to follow their lead by investing in Vietnam. They praised the country as a hub of development, production and distribution which can produce products for all southeast Asian nations.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Italian Deputy Minister Carlo Calenda expressed his pleasure at the the Italian import value from Vietnam, which is one third of the total amount received by ASEAN members.

He also highlighted the huge potential of the Vietnamese market and the regional market felt by Italian firms, especially with free trade agreements to be signed soon with the European Union (EU) and the USA.

Meanwhile, ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh underlined the roles of the bloc in the global economy as the world‘s seventh largest econo,y. The bloc has always welcomed investors across the world, including those from Italy and the EU, Minh said.

In 2014, the EU invested 29 billion USD in ASEAN, making up of 29 percent of the bloc’s total foreign investment. Two-way trade hit 40 billion EUR, making the EU the second biggest partner of the bloc, according to Minh.

The bloc’s chief expressed his hope of seeing more Italian businesses in regional nations, to promote technology transfers to ASEAN while contributing to Italy’s economic growth.

Romeo Orlandi from Italy’s Asian Observation Agency stressed the need for Italy to develop a long-term development strategy in ASEAN, and diversify its investment aspects to better tap the bloc’s potential.

According to the agency, the bloc is home to as many as 421 Italian firms, with 118 operating in Singapore, 76 in Vietnam, 73 in Indonesia, and 72 in Malaysia.

Two-way trade between Vietnam and Italy posted at 2.98 billion EUR in 2014, the highest value among the southeast Asian nations.-VNA