Vietnamese, Italian presidents agree on major measures to enhance strategic partnership

By VNA   July 27, 2023 | 04:30 pm PT
Vietnam President Vo Van Thuong and his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella discussed and agreed on major orientations and measures to strengthen the Vietnam – Italy strategic partnership at their talks in Rome.

President Thuong affirmed on July 26 that Vietnam treasures Italy in its foreign policy, adding that Vietnam always remembers and is grateful to the Italian people for their valuable support in the past struggle for national independence and reunification as well as in the current process of national construction and development.

Both leaders emphasized the significance of President Thuong’s ongoing visit at a time when the two countries are celebrating the 50th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties and the 10th anniversary of the bilateral strategic partnership.

Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong and his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella at a press conference after holding talks in Rome on July 26, 2023. Photo by VNA

Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong and his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella at a press conference after holding talks in Rome on July 26, 2023. Photo by VNA

President Mattarella affirmed that Italy highly appreciates Vietnam’s position and role in the Asia – Pacific region and stressed the friendship and close sentiments between the people of the two nations.

The Italian leader said he was impressed with Vietnam’s dynamic economic development and consented to join hands with the Southeast Asian country to further promote the bilateral strategic partnership, thus contributing to the sustainable development in each nation and jointly coping with global challenges.

The two leaders informed each other about their respective nations’ situation, exchanged views on major orientations and measures to further step up the bilateral strategic partnership and discussed regional and international issues of mutual concern.

They expressed their delight at the positive development of the bilateral relations in the past years as the two nations have promoted the exchange of visits and meetings at all levels and through all channels; effectively deployed cooperation mechanisms such as the political consultation at the deputy foreign minister level, defence policy dialogue at the deputy minister level, the joint committee for economic cooperation, and the joint committee for scientific and technological cooperation.

The two Presidents noted with pleasure that economic-trade-investment ties have been developing fruitfully with bilateral trade reaching 6.2 billion USD in 2022. Vietnam is currently the biggest trading partner of Italy in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), while Italy is a leading partner of Vietnam in Europe. Italy now ranks 33rd out of 143 countries and territories directly investing in Vietnam.

In terms of politics, the two leaders agreed to step up the exchange of delegations at all levels, especially high-level ones, via state, government and parliament channels; and continue effectively implementing bilateral cooperation mechanisms.

Regarding economic ties, President Mattarella agreed with Vietnam’s proposal on continuing effectively carrying out the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and supporting the European Commission (EC)’s removal of its "yellow card" against Vietnamese seafood exports in a bid to further beef up economic and trade relations and contribute to economic recovery.

President Mattarella announced that the Italian Parliament ratified the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) right on the day President Thuong began his state visit to Italy, creating a foundation for Italy to increase investment in the Southeast Asian country.

President Thuong thanked Italy and stressed that the deal would bring benefits to businesses and people of both nations. He also proposed Italy urge other EU members to soon ratify the agreement.

The two leaders consented to enhance people-to-people exchanges by stepping up cooperation in education-training, culture-arts, tourism, locality-to-locality cooperation, and student exchanges, among others. Both expressed their support for the establishment of cultural centers in each country to promote understanding and connectivity between the people of the two countries.

President Thuong suggested the Italian Government create more favorable conditions for the Vietnamese community in the country to integrate into the host society, contribute to socio-economic development in Italy, and continue serving as a bridge between the two nations.

They agreed to expand cooperation in security-defense, science-technology; continue to support each other at multilateral forums such as the ASEAN-EU cooperation framework, Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and the United Nations, and response to global issues like climate change and food security.

The host and guest also exchanged views on several international and regional issues of mutual concern such as cooperation between Italy and ASEAN, cooperation between Vietnam and the EU, and the Indo-Pacific region.

Regarding the East Sea issue, the two leaders reaffirmed the importance of ensuring peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea, and settling disputes via peaceful measures on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

On this occasion, President Thuong invited his Italian counterpart to visit Vietnam at an early date.

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