The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation have signed an agreement to establish a new Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation.
The signing took place in a teleconference between Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong and Italian Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Manlio Di Stefano on June 30.
The two sides discussed bilateral economic and trade coordination, including in energy, agriculture, industrial machinery, apparel, leather and footwear, and mining, affirming that economic links have been growing in recent years.
Vuong said the Vietnamese and Italian economies are similar and supplementary, thus bringing advantages to both. In particular, the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will open up many opportunities for the two countries' businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises.
Vietnam called on Italian firms to invest in supporting industries for leather and footwear, a field where Italy has strengths, in order to tap into the benefits brought about by the EVFTA, he said.
Di Stefano thanked Vietnam, especially the MoIT, for providing invaluable and timely support to Italy, particularly in the fight against COVID-19.
He hailed Vietnam as a "highlight" in economic growth with high export turnover and FDI attraction, especially at a time when it has successfully curbed the pandemic and restored its economy.
Vietnam was also heralded as the fastest and most vibrant economy in Asia, particularly in ASEAN.
Italy highly valued Vietnam's ASEAN Chairmanship 2020 and wants to become a development partner of ASEAN, contributing to the process of building the ASEAN Community, he said.
The new Joint Commission is expected to maintain the effective and practical cooperation mechanisms created by both sides in recent years, contributing to expanding two-way trade by 15-20% each year.
According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, two-way trade between Vietnam and Italy topped US$5.3 billion in 2019, up 13.71% year-on-year. Exports neared US$3.44 billion, up 18.46%, while imports rose 5.95% to US$1.87 billion.
In the first five months of this year, the figure stood at just US$1.77 billion, down 22.53% year-on-year.