|Prime Minister Matteo Renzi
HA NOI (VNS) — Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi begins his official visit to Viet Nam today at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung.
Renzi's visit will be the first time an Italian PM has visited Viet Nam since the two countries set up diplomatic ties in 1973, and is expected to contribute to fostering their strategic partnership.
Italy was the first Western European nation to support the co-operation between Viet Nam and the European Union as well as the normalisation of ties between Viet Nam and international financial, trade, monetary organisations in the early 1990s.
During meetings between high-ranking officials from both countries, the Italian side has always affirmed its policy to promote all-round relations with Viet Nam, which it considers a priority partner in Southeast Asia.
Bilateral trade between the two countries has also increased significantly in recent years, reaching US$3.5 billion in 2013. Italy has also listed Viet Nam in its list of 10 emerging markets prioritized for expanded trade and investment ties.
Statistics from the Ministry of Planning and Investment show Italy ranked 29th among 100 countries and territories investing in Viet Nam last year, with 53 projects worth US$294 million.
Italy began its provision of official development assistance (ODA) to Viet Nam from the 1980s. Priority cooperation fields between the two countries include water infrastructure, environmental sustainability, human resource development and health care. — VNS