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Terzi in Vietnam and Singapore: new inroads for “made in Italy”

Italy views Vietnam and Singapore as countries offering “unique” opportunities. Hanoi, with its steady annual growth of 6%, a broadening market economy and reforms and development plans already launched, can act as a bridge to a consumer market of 600 million: that of Southeast Asia; Singapore is Asia’s number one financial centre, with two sovereign funds – GIC and Temasek – that respectively handle $247 billion and $157 billion. Such opportunities were the focus of Minister Terzi’s talks with leaders in both Hanoi and Singapore.

“Along with the private sector representatives participating in the mission”, Terzi said, “we intend to tap into the unique investment opportunities that Vietnam offers”. Commercial trade between Rome and Hanoi is increasing, and for the moment stands at $2 billion, but Vietnam likes “Made in Italy”, as the opening of a second Piaggio factory in Vinh Puch, near Hanoi, shows. The Minister participated in the opening ceremony with the company’s President Roberto Colaninno and Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Haii.

“The Italian government”, Terzi asserted, “wants to disseminate an integration model for Italian firms in Asia, in line with what the Piaggio group has done over the last three years. It intends to encourage Italian firms to launch themselves on the Asian market. In this sense, Vietnam is a major launching pad, considering the friendly relations it maintains with Italy and a government open to foreign investments”.

It is, nevertheless, possible to do more to whet Italian firms’ interest in investing in Vietnam, so a road-show has been organized for four major Italian cities following the Asean Awareness Business Forum, to be held at the foreign ministry in Rome on 22-23 March. For its part, Vietnam wants to strengthen relations with Italy and not only from the economic standpoint. After his meeting with Minister Terzi, foreign minister Pham Binh Minh said he agreed on the need to encourage businesses in our respective countries, and called Italy “an important partner in the promotion of relations between Vietnam and the EU”.

Apart from greater economic collaboration, the upcoming celebration of 40 years of diplomatic relations will be an opportunity to strengthen collaboration also between universities and, in particular, to foster the dissemination of the Italian language – what Terzi explained ,as he announced the April opening of Casa Italia in Hanoi, as “a concrete instrument for spreading our culture”.

The goal of the Singapore leg of the trip was to attract sovereign fund investments. “The reforms, liberalizations and bureaucratic simplifications enacted by the Monti government”, the minister said, “make Italy a more favourable market for these funds, which are showing a strong interest in increasing their presence”. “An interest”, Terzi added, “that corresponds with that of our business community in having greater importance, and a more substantial turnover, in the countries of Southeast Asia”.