A programme was launched in Ho Chi Minh City on May 27 by the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA) and the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Italy’s Pordenone province to boost connectivity between Vietnamese and Italian businesses.

The programme is part of the second phase of a project to support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) cluster of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

Addressing the event, Nguyen Chien Thang, HAWA President, noted that the Vietnamese wood processing sector has taken giant steps in recent years, with exports totalling 4.67 billion USD in 2012, up 17.9 percent over the previous year.

He added that in the first four months of this year alone, the sector earned export revenue of around 1.57 billion USD.

The programme will help businesses of both countries exchange information and technology and find out new partners, he said.

According to Lorenzo Angeloni, Italian Ambassador to Vietnam, Vietnam has a sharp mind in accessing economic and technological innovations in the world.

Vietnamese SMEs have actively set up partnerships with overseas parties through business forums and trade and investment promotion, he said, stressing that these have helped Vietnam become an attractive investment destination.

He suggested promotion agencies increase their efficiency to pave the way for businesses to expand operations into international markets.

The Italian businesses engaged in the programme aim to explore the Vietnamese market’s potential, making use of the opportunity to meet partners in the timber industry and other sectors.

They are also keen on supporting Vietnamese SMEs to enhance international cooperation.

Within the framework of the programme, which will run until May 30, the Italian businesses will make fact-finding tours of a number of facilities in Ho Chi Minh City and southern localities.-VNA