|Italian President Sergio Mattarella (centre) and Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh (second, left) attended the Viet Nam-Italy Strategic Dialogue in HCM City yesterday. Visiting Italian President Mattarella emphasised the important roles of businesses, associations and universities in realising reforms and innovations, and strengthening co-operation between Italy and Viet Nam. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu
HCM CITY (VNS) — Visiting Italian President Sergio Mattarella emphasised the important roles of businesses, associations and universities in realising reforms and innovations, and strengthening co-operation between Italy and Viet Nam.
He was addressing the Viet Nam-Italy Strategic Dialogue in HCM City yesterday. Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh, and ministry, university representatives and businesspeople from the two countries attended the event.
President Mattarella said Viet Nam had made strong commitments to modernising and liberalising trade, investment, the banking system and the real estate sector.
Viet Nam and Italy could improve the efficiency of international integration as part of efforts to deepen their co-operation, he said, advising them to utilise their current potential and create new opportunities.
He noted that similarities in small and medium-sized enterprises' structure and difficulties caused by globalisation could help connect the two economies.
According to Mattarella, successful Italian businesses would act as spokesmen for Italy's co-operative models and co-operation commitments in Viet Nam.
For his part, Deputy Prime Minister Ninh said that despite global economic setbacks, Italy's trade with Viet Nam rose 15 per cent last year, making the country its fourth largest EU trade partner. The countries' two-way trade hit US$4 billion in 2014, a 17 per cent increase from 2013.
However, investments from the European country remained modest. By the end of 2014, it ranked ninth in the EU bloc and 28th among foreign investors in Viet Nam, Ninh said.
He noted that the time was ripe for both to elevate their economic connections. He suggested they hold frequent discussions on related measures while facilitating links between small – and medium-sized businesses, as well as those from regions and localities for co-operation in Italy's strengths of infrastructure, transport, energy, manufacturing and processing.
According to the deputy prime minister, businesses should design long-term strategies and prepare for changes that occurred when bilateral and multilateral trade agreements took effect.
He said the Vietnamese Government was stepping up the completion of its socialist-oriented economic market institution, economic restructuring and administrative reform to make the business and investment environment more suitable for local and foreign businesspeople.
He pledged that the Vietnamese Government would ensure that the legitimate, legal rights and interests of foreign businesspeople and investors in Viet Nam were observed in line with Vietnamese law and international commitments.
Participants also discussed trade liberalisation and potential partnerships across various sectors, focusing on education, science and technology.
The visiting Italian President met with municipal People's Committee Chairman Le Hoang Quan on Saturday. He said HCM City was at the centre of Italy's co-operation with Viet Nam, citing the opening of its Consulate General in the southern metropolis.
Along with the affiliation between the city of Torino and HCM City, Italy supported collaboration between other localities, he said.
Apart from the economy, Italy is keen to join hands with Viet Nam in technology, research and culture, the guest noted.
Quan said following the two countries' establishment of a strategic partnership in 2013, HCM City had inked a co-operation agreement with Torino and would seek co-operation with other Italian localities in the future.
The official noted his hope that after the President's official visit, relations between Viet Nam and Italy would rise to the next level.
Italian President Mattarella wrapped up his official four-day visit to Viet Nam yesterday. — VNS