At the workshop (Photo: VNA)

Rome (VNA) –
More than 300 businesspeople from Italy’s Piedmont region and member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gathered at a workshop in Turin city on June 17 and 18 to seek business cooperation opportunities.

President of the Turin Chamber of Commerce Vincenzo Ilotte said the event aimed to set a firm foundation for trade relations between the Piedmont region and the ASEAN market.

The ASEAN is considered a potential market with an increasing number of consumers. The region’s gross domestic product (GDP) is currently estimated at 3 trillion USD, while its population reaches approximately 650 million.

The bloc is now the fifth biggest economy in the world and third in Asia with an average annual growth rate of over 5 percent. It is estimated that by 2020, the region’s middle class will increase to 400 million people. 

In 2018, trade between Italy and the ASEAN countries was 18.37 billion USD, a year-on-year rise of 2 percent. Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam are the key export markets of Italy in the region.

Experts said Italy has adequate conditions to meet the industry and development requirements of the ASEAN countries. 

Furthermore, the free trade agreement (FTA) between the EU and Singapore was signed, while the FTA between the EU and Vietnam will soon be inked and ratified to help deepen trade and economic relations between Italy and the ASEAN.

Addressing the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Nguyen Thi Bich Hue highlighted the sound traditional relations between Vietnam and Italy both politically and economically.

Existing bilateral cooperation mechanisms and dialogues have proved to be effective, helping to deepen the strategic partnership between the two nations and making Vietnam one of the largest trade partners of Italy in the ASEAN.

The cooperation potential between Vietnamese and Italian businesses remains huge thanks to Vietnam’s open policy on investment attraction, increasing purchasing power, rapid growth of the middle class, and particularly the upcoming signing of the European Union-Vietnam FTA (EVFTA).

While evaluating the Vietnamese market, Fulvio Albano, Chairman of the Italy-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce, said with high growth, young population, and open policies, especially the upcoming signing and enforcement of the EVFTA, Vietnam is an attractive market for many European businesses and many of them have been present in the Southeast Asian country to conquer its market.

He suggested Italian businesses quickly update information about the Vietnamese market and soon promote investment cooperation to avoid missing opportunities and losing the market share to their rivals.-VNA