Italy – Việt Nam relationship “strongly rooted in history”: Ambassador

March 24, 2023 - 08:50
Italian Ambassador to Việt Nam Antonio Alessandro cited Italian President Sergio Mattarella's words as saying that the relationship between the two countries “strongly rooted in history” while granting an interview to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) on the occasion of the 50th founding anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties (March 23, 1973 - 2023).


Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính meets with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni On December 14, 2022 during his visit to attend the Summit to celebrate the 45th anniversary of ASEAN-EU relations in Brussels. VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang

HÀ NỘI – Italian Ambassador to Việt Nam Antonio Alessandro cited Italian President Sergio Mattarella's words as saying that the relationship between the two countries is “strongly rooted in history” while granting an interview to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties (March 23, 1973 - 2023).

“These words express very well the idea that the 50th anniversary is not only a great achievement, considering the long journey that both countries have made since the seventies, but also a platform to let our friendship grow further and face together the great global challenges, like climate change in particular,” he said.

On March 23, 1973, when Việt Nam was still struggling for national liberation and reunification, Italy officially established diplomatic ties with the Southeast Asian nation.

Over the past five decades, bilateral relations have grown intensively and extensively across all spheres.

Italy has actively supported the enhancement of cooperation between Việt Nam and the European Union (EU) at international forums, and the normalisation of relations between Việt Nam and international financial, trade, and monetary organisations.

Italy is always resolved to promote its multi-faceted cooperation with Việt Nam and regards the country as a priority in relationship development in Southeast Asia, as well as a destination for Italian firms.

At multilateral forums, the two countries have frequently coordinated and supported each other and raised voices to promote peace, stability, security, and freedom of navigation and aviation, and respect for international law.

January 21, 2013, marked a milestone as the two countries signed a joint statement on the establishment of the strategic partnership on the occasion of the official visit to Italy by Party General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng.

The strong political commitments by their high-ranking leaders have created a premise for bilateral relations to enter a new period and grow more intensive and extensive.

Economic cooperation a bright spot

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi visits Ariston Thermo Factory in Bắc Ninh Province during his trip to Việt Nam in 2014. Ariston Thermo Factory is one of the biggest Italian factories in Việt Nam. – VNA/VNS Photo Phạm Kiên

Over recent years, the trade and investment links have remained a bright spot in the Việt Nam-Italy relationship thanks to the support from the two governments, with the bilateral trade now doubling from 2010.

Việt Nam is Italy’s biggest trade partner in ASEAN, while Italy is the fourth largest EU trade partner of Việt Nam.

Việt Nam is also one of the 10 emerging markets included in the Italian government’s priorities in promoting trade and investment ties. Particularly, the EVFTA, which was put in place more than two years ago, has opened up a “new horizon” for development cooperation between the two countries.

Despite uncertainties and difficulties in 2021, the trade revenue still reached US$5.6 billion, up 21 per cent year-on-year. It hit a record of $6.2 billion in 2022, a rise of 11 per cent from the previous year.

For investment, as of February 2023, Italy ran 141 valid projects in Việt Nam with a total registered capital of $453.3 million, ranking 34 out of 142 countries and territories investing in Việt Nam, and ninth among the 25 EU investors in the country.

Many big Italian groups operate successfully in Viet Nam, with the largest specialising in manufacturing such as Bonfiglioli, Piaggio, Danieli Officina, Fiat Iveco, Datalogic, and Ariston.

Italy has also maintained its official development assistance (ODA) to Việt Nam, focusing on vocational training, personnel development, environmental protection, and water resources management, support to small and medium-sized enterprises, health care, and scientific research.

According to Maria Tripodi, Italian Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, one of the bright spots in bilateral relations is the Joint Committee on economic cooperation, which has supported the two sides in obtaining achievements in economic and trade collaboration. Italy is pleased to organise the eighth meeting of the committee later this year.

Ambassador Antonio Alessandro said: “Italy and Việt Nam are committed to implement the EVFTA provisions in full and according to the schedule. In particular, we are working closely with the EU to ensure greater access to our products and services to the Vietnamese market, notably in pharmaceutical and agrifood."

“On the other end, Italy is a significant importer of many Vietnamese products, from coffee to seafood, from garments to electrical equipment. With the entry into force of the EVFTA, these products have to comply with EU regulatory and quality standards in order to access the European market. Italy has a lot to offer to Vietnamese businesses to improve the quality and safety standards of their products.”

Anniversary events 

Charming Italian girl in Vietnamese traditional áo dài and conical hat at the Vietnam Student Festival 2018 in Italy (May 9, 2018). VNA/VNS Photo Quang Thanh 

A series of major events celebrating the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties will be held this year.

Maria Tripodi said the opening of the series will be held on March 31 with a Vietnamese fashion show in Rome, one day after the political consultation between Tripodi and her Vietnamese counterpart Lê Thị Thu Hằng.

A ceremony to celebrate the anniversary and the 10-year strategic partnership between the two countries will also be held during Vietnamese President Võ Văn Thưởng’s visit. A closing ceremony of the Italy-Việt Nam Year 2023 is scheduled for the end of the year, she said, adding that a number of cultural and art activities will also be organised.

Ambassador Antonio Alessandro said the embassy is supporting the Saigon Philarmonic Orchestra in setting up the first Opera production after several decades.

The “Cavalleria Rusticana”, by famous composer Pietro Mascagni, will be performed at the Hanoi Opera House on April 15-16.

“This would be one of the highlights of our programme, which also includes an exhibition on industrial manufacturing, a show of contemporary ballet by the Italian company “Artemis Danza” and the Italian film festival. Our programme is a living plan and we disclose events and initiatives as we develop them with our partners in Italy and Việt Nam,” he said.

At the end of this year, the signing of the Action Plan for the 2024-26 period within the Strategic Partnership Document will allow Italy and Việt Nam to renew their shared commitment and broaden the path to success that the two countries have traveled together, thus creating a solid foundation to further strengthen the already sound bilateral relationship, she stated. VNS

Vietnamese to become official linguistic subject in two Italian universities

ROME – The Vietnamese language will be taught at two universities in Italy - University of Naples "L'Orientale" and Ca' Foscari University of Venice from next year, according to Pietro P. Masina, Professor of Asian History at University of Naples "L'Orientale" and Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of East Asian Studies.

Talking with the Vietnam News Agency's resident correspondent as Việt Nam and Italy are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations, the Professor said that the University of Naples "L'Orientale" will make Vietnamese an official linguistic subject, through which students can conduct in-depth research on Việt Nam by studying Vietnamese for five years, parallel to a curriculum in humanities or political science and international relations. 

Up to now, even in the pilot training courses, the Vietnamese language has received great attention from students, he said, adding that the university also organises community events to introduce Vietnamese culture and civilisation in collaboration with the Honorary Consulate of Việt Nam in Naples.

For many years, the university has participated in research projects and educational activities with Việt Nam. It has a close cooperation relationship with the Việt Nam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) and universities. 

In recent years, the university has increased its research on Southeast Asia in various fields of expertise. – VNS