Italian President’s visit to foster strategic partnership with VN hinh anh 1Italian President Sergio Mattarella. (Source: VNA)

Italian President Sergio Mattarella’s November 5-8 state visit to Vietnam is intended to enhance the strategic partnership between the two countries in various fields, including politics-diplomacy, defence-security, economics, culture, education, science-technology and tourism.

The visit, the first made by an Italian President to Vietnam since the two countries set up their diplomatic ties in 1973, will create favourable conditions for Italian businesses to invest in Vietnam.

It will also offer a chance for the two countries to increase their collaboration at multilateral forums and international organisations as well as exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual concern.

The political ties between Vietnam and Italy have been incessantly consolidated and seen marked developments. Italy was the first Western European country to actively strengthen cooperation between Vietnam and the European Union.

In early 2013, the two nations established their strategic partnership during Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s State visit to Italy.

In September that year, they approved an action plan for the implementation of the strategic partnership from 2013-2014 on the occasion of Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai’s visit to the European country. The two countries’ leaders are currently discussing another action plan for 2015-2016.

Trade between Vietnam and Italy has drastically increased over the years, hitting 4.08 billion USD last year. The figure reached 2.89 billion USD in the first eight months of this year, an annual rise of 6 percent.

By August 2015, Italy had 66 investment projects worth nearly 392 million USD in Vietnam. Some major Italian groups operating effectively in the Southeast Asian country include ENI, Piaggio, Bonfiglioli and Ariston.

Vietnam is among Italy’s 10 priority emerging markets for developing trade and investment with.

Bilateral connections in culture and education have seen stable developments. The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs annually grants graduate and post-graduate scholarships to Vietnam and the Italian Government has coordinated with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to help Vietnam restore the My Son Sanctuary with 435,000 USD in total.

The two sides have regularly organised cultural weeks and months to increase mutual understanding between their peoples. On the occasion of the 40 th anniversary of diplomatic ties (2013), the Vietnam Year in Italy and the Italy Year in Vietnam were held successfully.

Italy is now home to nearly 4,000 Vietnamese people, most of who live in northern provinces and cities where industries are developing.-VNA