Italy will provide Vietnam with 15 million EUR in soft loans to help increase the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SOEs) in southern localities, an official from the Italian Embassy in Vietnam said on November 25.

The Director of the Development Cooperation Agency under the Italian Embassy, Ricardo Mattei, announced the plan at his working session with Chairman of the People’s Committee of Binh Duong province Le Thanh Cung.

The Italian official suggested that Binh Duong work as the coordinator for the support project, which will provide training for SOE staff and establish technical support centres for SOEs operating in wood and furniture, leather and footwear, farm produce process and mechanical engineering.

Chairman Cung said the project perfectly matches the policy of the Vietnamese Government and Binh Duong authorities as well as the wish of the local business community.

The same day, an Italian diplomatic and business delegation led by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Benedetto della Vedova, were given a welcome in Ho Chi Minh City.

Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem said the city wishes to intensify cooperation with Italy in its advantageous fields like industry, manufacturing, goods production, health, culture and education.

He expressed hope that a Vietnam-Italy business forum scheduled for November 26 will provide Italian enterprises an overview of the city’s socio-economic picture, thus helping open up more collaboration opportunities for both sides in the future.

Vedova, in turn, said the recent opening of the Italian consulate in Vietnam’s largest economic hub is a sound decision of Italy to facilitate investments of its businesses in Vietnam and in Ho Chi Minh City as well.

According to the deputy minister, Italy also wants to increase cooperation with Vietnam in investment and science and technology besides trade ties.-VNA