Vietnam, Italy seek to strengthen business ties

By Ha Truong    December 20, 2018 | 03:00 pm GMT+7
Vietnam, Italy seek to strengthen business ties
Vu Tien Loc, VCCI president, and former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta
Vietnamese businesses want to set up a Vietnam - Italy Business Council to bolster exchange of information between companies in the two countries.

Vu Tien Loc, president of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), made this proposal at a recent meeting with former Italian Prime Minister, Enrico Letta.

This would enable Italian enterprises to support their Vietnamese counterparts and exchange experiences on European technologies and production processes, helping Vietnamese products enter the EU market, he said.

2018 marks 45 years of diplomatic relations and five years of strategic ties between Vietnam and Italy.

Letta said Vietnam has a strategic position in Asia and many free trade agreements.

The Europe-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) would be good opportunities for Italian investors, he said.

Michele D’Ercol, president of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (ICHAM), told the media recently that given the reduction of tariffs to zero percent under the deal Italy could export many products to Vietnam such as machinery, wood products, fabric and garments.

Italian companies can also make use of their technological strengths to help Vietnam develop some sectors, especially agriculture, he added.

The EVFTA, expected to come into force next year, will eliminate almost all tariffs between the EU and Vietnam.

Upon entry into force of the deal, 65 percent of the value of EU exports will enter Vietnam duty-free, and the remaining will be gradually eliminated over a maximum period of 10 years. The FTA will also reduce non-tariff barriers for EU exports.

The Italy - ASEAN Association is preparing for the High-level dialogue on Italy-ASEAN economic relations next June in Hanoi. It is expected to strengthen the relationship between the two countries and provide an opportunity to bolster cooperation between ASEAN and Italy on the one hand and Italy and Vietnam on the other.

Italy is now Vietnam’s fourth biggest European economic partner. Bilateral trade was worth around $5 billion last year. With registered investment capital of $389 million, Italy ranks 31st out of 126 countries and territories directly investing in Vietnam.

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