Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) and Chairman of the Italy-ASEAN Association (IAA) Enrico Letta (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has highlighted the fruitful development of the Vietnam-Italy strategic partnership across all fields, adding that the two sides boast many opportunities and potential to enhance the bilateral relations in the time ahead.

The Government leader stated this during a reception in Hanoi on December 19 for Chairman of the Italy-ASEAN Association (IAA) Enrico Letta who is visiting Vietnam.

PM Phuc applauded the IAA’s plan to organise the third High-level Dialogue on ASEAN-Italy Economic Relations in Hanoi in 2019, affirming that this will be a good chance to further tighten economic ties between Italy and ASEAN member nations, including Vietnam.

He promised that Vietnam will welcome and create favourable conditions for the successful organization of the event.

Letta, who is also former Prime Minister of Italy, said the IAA is holding meetings on the preparations for the dialogue, which is hoped to improve the relationship between Italy and Vietnam.

This is also an opportunity to foster bilateral cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Italy, and between Italy and Vietnam, he said.

The Italian and Vietnamese economies have similarities, Letta said, adding that Vietnam is the gateway to ASEAN, while Italy is the gateway to Europe.

Therefore, the IAA selected Hanoi as the venue for this important dialogue on the threshold of 2020, when Vietnam will takeover as chair of ASEAN, he noted.

Italy is seeking to increase its influence in Southeast Asia, and Vietnam plays an important role in this process, he affirmed.

While congratulating the Vietnamese football team on winning the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018, Letta expressed his hope that the two sides will have opportunities to cooperate in this field in the near future, and that Vietnamese players will have chance to participate in an Italian football tournament.

He also expected the two-way trade to grow strongly, doubling in the coming years, affirming that Italy will continue to support and promote the signing of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

PM Phuc suggested Italy, the IAA and Letta have strong voice to urge the EU to soon adopt the EVFTA, saying that this will benefit enterprises and people of both sides.

He said that the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, related ministries, and Hanoi authorities would cooperate closely and support the organisation of the dialogue, hoping that after the event, Vietnam-Italy trade will record higher growth.–VNA