Vietnamese, Italian leaders exchange messages marking ties hinh anh 1Illustrative photo (Source: Internet)

Hanoi (VNA)President Tran Dai Quang and Italian President Sergio Mattarella on March 22 exchanged their messages of greetings on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of Vietnam-Italy diplomatic relations (March 23, 1973-2018).

The same day, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano also exchanged messages to congratulate each other on the special occasion.

Over the past 45 years, Vietnam and Italy have enjoyed booming partnership in all fields, especially economy.

Vietnam has become Italy’s largest trade partner in ASEAN, surpassing economic powerhouses such as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Two-way trade rose nearly 9 percent annually to 4.7 billion USD in 2016.

Both sides are working to lift two-way trade to 6 billion USD for 2017-2018. Vietnam mainly exports footwear, aquatic products, coffee and apparel to Italy, and imports mechanical machinery, transportation vehicles and leather materials.

The European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which takes effect this year, will further facilitate bilateral economic and trade links.

As of February 2018, Italy ranked 31st out of 128 countries and territories investing in Vietnam with 88 projects worth more than 388 million USD. The Italian government has added Vietnam into its list of 10 emerging markets prioritised for trade and investment ties.

The European nation is now home to nearly 5,000 Vietnamese nationals, mostly in northern Italian provinces with plenty of job opportunities in industry.-VNA