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Vietnam Today

Italian PM in Vietnam

Released at: 19:49, 05/06/2019

Italian PM in Vietnam

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) welcomes PM Giuseppe Conte in Vietnam (Photo: VGP)

June 5-6 visit to tighten bilateral relations between two countries.

by Le Diem

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte began an official visit to Vietnam on June 5 at the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

The two-day visit aims to enhance the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Italy in politics, diplomacy, national defense and security, economy, trade, investment, development cooperation, climate change, culture, education, science and technology, and tourism, and is also expected to promote the two countries’ coordination and mutual support at multilateral forums.

The visit, the highest-ranking by an Italian leader in the last five years, is a significant move to enhance the strategic partnership between the two countries, which was set up in January 2013 during the visit to Rome by Party General Secretary (and now State President) Nguyen Phu Trong.

The two sides exchanged views on regional and international issues of shared concern. Prime Minister Conte affirmed that Italy appreciates its relationship with Vietnam and hopes to enhance relations.

Vietnam and Italy set up diplomatic ties on March 23, 1973 and promoted their relationship to a strategic partnership in 2013. Italy was one of the first Western countries resuming and developing a cooperative relationship with Vietnam after a period of standstill from 1979 to 1989.

Italy is Vietnam’s fourth-largest trade partner in the EU, while Vietnam is Italy’s largest partner in ASEAN. Two-way trade has tripled over the last decade, from $1.5 billion in 2009 to more than $4.6 billion in 2018.

Italy was at the forefront in Western Europe in actively promoting cooperation between Vietnam and the EU at significant international forums as well as in prompting the normalization of relations between Vietnam and international trade, financial, and currency organizations at the beginning of the 1990s.

In the 1980s, Italy began providing official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam in the fields of water supply and drainage, environmental protection, human resources development, and health. The Italian Government is currently supporting Vietnam in eleven ongoing projects and six others that are pending, with total committed capital of over 100 million euro ($112.6 million).

Bilateral cooperation in other fields such as culture, education, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges has also been enhanced. The two countries have signed 72 education and training agreements. Every year, Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs grants several scholarships to Vietnamese students and post-graduates, and opens Italian-language courses in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

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