Lots of possibilities to promote trade between Việt Nam and Lombardy region: official

October 08, 2023 - 12:44
The two-way trade between Lombardy Region and Việt Nam makes up 40 per cent of the total trade between Việt Nam and Italy
President of Italy's Lombardy region, Attilio Fontana. VNS Photo Khánh Chi

A delegation from Italy's Lombardy region paid a working visit to Việt Nam to seek cooperation opportunities in a number of areas including green economy. Việt Nam News reporter Nguyễn Khánh Chi spoke to President of the region Attilio Fontana

First of all, could you please tell us more about the Lombardy region and purposes of the delegation’s visit to Việt Nam?

The Lombardy region is the most important region in Italy, and the second in Europe. Lombardy’s gross domestic product (GDP) is about 375 billion euros, equal to 22 per cent of Italy’s GDP. The region is ahead in innovation, technology and life science, but also in the system of universities and of the researchers.

In Lombardy, the people are never afraid, they are optimistic. Whenever there is a problem, they never stop, they try to [find a solution] to overcome it. We look to the future with optimism, we believe that we can go into the future with our human capital, because I think that the real richness of Lombardy is the people, our human capital.

And we are concrete. We want to be concrete in our relationship with Việt Nam. During our meetings with the Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Đỗ Hùng Việt, Chairman of Hà Nội People’s Committee Trần Sỹ Thanh, and leaders of Bình Dương Province’s People Committees and some universities in the south, I found they are also very concrete and specific.

Our visit, first of all, is about being institutional. Our visit is a response to Vietnamese President Võ Văn Thưởng’s visit to Italy in July in terms of showing interest and coming to see the situation here in Việt Nam. It takes place with two main focuses: economic, and educational and cultural.

You cannot expect to have immediate results because this is much more a fact finding mission and a kind of mission to build contacts. It is not the result of a process, it is the beginning of a process.

PM Phạm Minh Chính (right) receives President of Lombardy region Attilio Fontana on Friday. VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang

Is there any specific areas you look forward to seeking cooperation with in Việt Nam and Việt Nam’s localities in particular?

The mechanic industry, technology, life science, but also everything about sustainability, research and new energy.

We can export machines. We can export technology, we can export the new agriculture - the agriculture that uses technology. We can help you prepare big infrastructures, like roads and trains which are run on hydrogen.

Since Lombardy is the main Italian exporting region, our talks focused on increasing trade and promoting Made in Italy without neglecting the possible cooperation in cultural, university, tourism and urban development fields.

In our Government’s programme, sustainability is like a mantra, it's a word that can be considered in everything that politicians choose for us to do. And I think that we can work with Việt Nam in this regard.

In Italy, we have not ruined our place. We are studying biofuel, bioenergy, and biogas. We are using waste from agricultural products. In Lombardy, some industries, for example in the cattle-breeding industry, they use everything to generate energy. And those things are important possibilities.

We want to know from Việt Nam’s side, what you need and what you are interested in.

I have asked the Secretary General Director of Confindustria Lombardia, the most important entrepreneurial organisation in Lombardy, to try to do something, and look for wherever the possibilities are.

In Lombardy, we have around 800,000 businesses and they organise themselves in clusters, sort of cooperatives. Everyone, particularly those in specialised areas, get together to make bigger results. It’s a strange model, not seen in the rest of Italy.

We have already had some important investments in Việt Nam, Piagio for example, and maybe more. We also have the Hưng Yên Knitting & Dyeing Co. Ltd, a historic Italian investment in Việt Nam belonging to the Lombard Carvico Group.

The Italian people that have invested in Việt Nam said they are very happy of what they found here. You know, it is a country where they found a good possibility, good people with organisation and a good platform for ASEAN.

I am sure we will find good conditions, and we see that Việt Nam has much potential.

The two-way trade between the Lombardy region and Việt Nam makes up 40 per cent of the total trade between Việt Nam and Italy. What are your expectations for the bilateral trade 2025 or 2030?

It's impossible to say now, but I believe that we will have a lot of possibilities.

Lombardy alone represents 40 per cent of the bilateral trade between Italy and Việt Nam. However, we want to improve this relationship because there are a lot of possibilities in everything I mentioned above, but much more in the collaboration in, for example, green economy and circular economy.

I believe that Việt Nam, in this regard, is one of the most important possibilities for our entrepreneurs, for our work and our investments.

There are good prospects for many reasons. One reason is that the Association of Machine Producers from the Lombardy region is going to open an office next week in Việt Nam, which for sure, will help increase business. And the second reason is that Việt Nam is increasingly part of an international supply chain.

So, by creating these opportunities, opportunities for business and trade will increase. Already much of the trade between Việt Nam and Italy is a back and forth trade in the productive chain. So I think there is room for improvement. And the Lombardy region is so strong in some new technologies, including green technology, so we will offer opportunities for increasing cooperation in these businesses.

Việt Nam is attractive, not only because of its quality of the workforce and political conditions but also because of its commitment to cutting emissions. And in this sense, Việt Nam is very similar to us, energy transition, green economy, circular economy, all these things we're struggling with in Europe. But we see that Việt Nam is following. Maybe not the same pace, but it’s the same way. And this is something that is very reassuring, and makes Việt Nam different in the region.

I'm sure we will increase our relationship very much. VNS