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Vietnam-Italy relations on positive development

Relations between Vietnam and Italy are going from strength to strength, according to Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Nguyen Thi Bich Hue.

The two countries set up diplomatic ties 45 years ago and a strategic partnership five years ago, enhancing their cooperation in politics, economy, culture and education, she said.

Hue made the statement in a recent interview with Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s upcoming visit to Vietnam and attendance at the third High-Level Dialogue on ASEAN-Italy Economic Relations in Hanoi on June 5-6.

The two countries have regularly exchanged political delegations, with notable visits to Italy by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in 2013, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung in 2014, President Tran Dai Quang in 2016, and Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh in 2018 as well as the visits to Vietnam by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in 2014 and President Sergio Mattarella in 2015.

The two countries have maintained bilateral cooperation mechanisms such as the deputy foreign ministerial political consultation, the deputy ministerial defence policy dialogue and the joint commission on economic cooperation, Hue said, adding that they also support each other at multilateral forums and organisations like the United Nations (UN), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

Two-way trade tripled within the past decade from 1.5 billion USD in 2009 to more than 4.6 billion USD in 2018. Vietnam is the biggest trade partner of Italy in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) while Italy is the third largest trade partner of Vietnam in the European Union (EU), she said.

Bilateral cooperation in other fields such as culture, education, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges has also been enhanced. Many localities of the two countries have forged connectivity in realms from education-training and environmental and urban management to smart cities and high-tech agriculture.

Regarding the third High-Level Dialogue on ASEAN-Italy Economic Relations, the Ambassador expressed her belief that through the dialogue, Italian businesses will better understand the benefits of cooperating in trade and investment with ASEAN member countries, including Vietnam, especially after the signing and ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).