Michele D'Ercole, Chairman of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Việt Nam (ICHAM)
Italy hopes to turn Việt Nam into a strategic entrance for trading and investment in Southeast Asia, especially in the field of manufacturing and processing agricultural products. Michele D'Ercole, Chairman of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Việt Nam (ICHAM), speaks to Việt Nam News Reporter Nguyễn Linh Anh on the sideline of the two-day “Machinery Made in Italy 2019” event ending Wednesday in Hà Nội.
What does ICHAM expect to achieve through this event?
The Italian Government attaches great importance to the Vietnamese market. Việt Nam is one of only four countries in Asia, so far, which has signed a free trade agreement with the European Union, therefore, Italy wishes to turn Việt Nam into a strategic entrance for trading and investment in Southeast Asia.
To enhance both the volume and the value of exports to the European Union market, product quality is the top criteria that Vietnamese businesses need to focus on to meet strict market requirements. Italy is one of the leading countries in technology exports. We have made thorough research and investment in high-tech production lines and machinery, especially in the field of manufacturing and processing agricultural products. We are here to help Việt Nam access Italy's most advanced technology.
This event brings in an unique B2B (Business-to-Business) model as it allows Italian businesses not only to meet with Vietnamese partners but also to connect with other clients in the Asian region, such as India, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, helping them bridge the gap, making the most of opportunities for exchanging experience.
As this B2B model will help Italian firms reach many other Asian buyers, will it lessen the chances of connection between Italy and Việt Nam?
I would say not at all, for sure.
Vietnamese businesses absolutely do not have any disadvantages when participating in this B2B model. All Italian businesses coming here have the desire to expand their business network to the maximum. Buyers from different countries have different requirements depending on their own demand.
For example, buyers from India have different needs than buyers from Việt Nam. Meanwhile, Italian businesses are capable of offering diversified choices to meet those different needs. Therefore, Vietnamese businesses can be fully assured that their benefits will not be affected. On the contrary, this model can even help Vietnamese firms have more opportunities as they can learn more and exchange more with partners from different regions around the world.
Are you confident that Italian machinery and technology can compete with those from China, which is a very large import market of Việt Nam?
China is considered one of the fastest-growing countries in the world and they have great advantages in multiple sectors. However, in terms of mechanical engineering, production lines technology, especially for food and agriculture produce, frankly speaking, those from Italy would definitely work better.
We have researched this segment for 40 to 50 years, thus we have high-tech machinery and modern solutions, the components that make up the production lines also have good quality, with a life cycle of 30 to 40 years.
How do EU and Italian consumers like Vietnamese products?
At present, Vietnamese products are categorised in the low-middle segment in the Italian market and the European market. Products with high potential to export to Europe are agricultural products, tea, coffee, textiles and footwear.
The European market particularly likes Vietnamese agricultural products, especially fruits and vegetables. However, Vietnamese businesses are facing a big problem as they are exporting mainly raw and unprocessed products. This makes the value of products low, even though you are exporting a large volume of products to the EU.
Therefore, Vietnamese businesses need to improve their production technology and machinery to diversify their supplies. For example, in addition to exporting fresh fruits, they can offer customers other choices such as fruit juice and fruit jams, this also helps prolong the product's life cycle and create a higher value and increase competitiveness for their products. — VNS