In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam-Italy diplomatic relations, the diplomat said that Italy is an important partner and a loyal friend of Vietnam.
In all meetings, leaders of Italy affirmed the country’s great attention and determination to promote the all-round bilateral relations, considering Vietnam as a priority for developing partnership in Southeast Asia.
During his Vietnam visit in November 2016, Italian President Sergio Mattarella expressed his impression at the beauty and dynamic development of Vietnam. In his recent congratulation letter to President Vo Van Thuong, he also showed hope to further strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries, said Ambassador Hung.
He underlined that economy is a bright spot in the bilateral relations. Vietnam is Italy's largest trading partner in ASEAN and Italy is Vietnam's fourth largest partner from the European Union (EU). In 2022, despite many fluctuations and difficulties, two-way trade still reached the highest level ever at 6.2 billion USD, up 11% over 2021. The Italian government has included Vietnam in its list of 20 priority countries to promote trade and investment until 2030. Many Italian investors in the manufacturing industry are operating effectively and successfully in Vietnam, including Bonfiglioli, Piaggio, Danieli, Datalogic, and Ariston, he added.
At the same time, bilateral cooperation in the fields of culture, education, science - technology, tourism, people-to-people exchanges and many others has also continued to develop positively, the ambassador said.
He noted that the two countries have regularly organised cultural activities in the other. Since 2002, the Italian Government has helped Vietnam in the restoration and preservation of the My Son Sanctuary, a World Cultural Heritage Site.
Regarding education and training, the two sides have signed and implemented many cooperation projects. The Italian Government has annually provided scholarships to Vietnamese students. Together with the rising number of tourists between the two countries in recent years, people-to-people exchanges have also contributed to enhancing mutual understanding, bringing the two countries closer together, stated the diplomat.
He said that collaboration among localities of the two sides is also growing, with the establishment of partnership between Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc provinces of Vietnam and Emilia Romagna region of Italy, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Veneto, Hanoi and Lazio and Roma, and Lam Dong and Como, among others.
The ambassador said he believes that with many similarities, Vietnam and Italy are eying great potential for stronger cooperation in all fields.
He held that in the time to come, the two sides should continue increasing meetings and the exchange of delegations at high and all levels through all channels, at both bilateral and multilateral forums, while strengthening political trust, promoting the extensive cooperation among ministries, sectors and localities, optimising existing cooperation mechanisms, and expanding cooperation to other fields such as security and justice.
At the same time, the two countries should bolster collaboration in economic sectors of Italy’s strength and Vietnam’s demand, he said, adding that Italy can be a gateway for Vietnamese goods to the EU.
The cooperation potential for Vietnam andItaly is also high in many other fields such as innovation, digital transformation, green economy, renewable energy. The launch of direct flights between the two countries is also crucial to meeting the increasing demand of goods transportation and people-to-people exchanges between the two sides, he added.
Along with effectively implementing the Action Plan to realise the bilateral strategic partnership in particular periods, the two sides should support the business communities to foster their connections, while strengthening the promotion of each other’s image in the two countries, sharing information and viewpoints on regional and international issues of shared concern, the diplomat said.
Meanwhile, the two countries should promote cooperation at multilateral forums, especially within the ASEAN - EU cooperation framework, he said, stressing that Vietnam can help increase the ASEAN’s presence in Italy and foster the Italy-ASEAN relations.
Ambassador Hung also highlighted activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam-Italy diplomatic relations and the 10-year strategic partnership this year within the Vietnam-Italy Year 2023 with the theme “Sincere-Understanding-Cooperation”. The activities will be held in many big cities of Italy such as Rome, Milan, Florence, Venice and Napoli throughout the year, covering many areas including art, culture, tourism and economy, he said.
Regarding Vietnamese Embassy’s plan to foster bilateral cooperation this year and beyond, Ambassador Hung said that the embassy will continue to coordinate with relevant agencies to organise visits and delegation exchanges between the two countries and other important events such as the political consultation at the deputy FM level, defence dialogue at the deputy ministerial level, and meetings of Joint Committee on economic cooperation, while giving ideas to build the Action Plan for the implementation of the bilateral strategic partnership in the 2024-2026 period.
As the Chair of the ASEAN Committee in Roma in the first half of 2023, the embassy will focus on promoting ASEAN solidarity, visibility and centrality.
It will also work to connect agencies and localities of the two sides, while contributing to optimising the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and hastening the ratification of the EU-Vietnam Investment Promotion Agreement (EVIPA), removing the EC’s yellow card against Vietnamese seafood, and supporting Vietnam’s stance on the East Sea/South China Sea issue, he said.
Ambassador Hung said that the embassy will also focus on strengthening economic and cultural diplomacy and continue to support Vietnamese citizens in the country.