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Undersecretary Hon. Manlio Di Stefano’s visit to Vietnam (7-9 June 2022)

The official visit by Undersecretary Hon. Manlio Di Stefano to Vietnam, which ran from 7 to 9 June and saw him engaged in meetings in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, came to a close yesterday. The Undersecretary’s visit to Southeast Asia ends today with a number of working meetings in Indonesia.

The dossiers addressed in Vietnam mainly concern bilateral economic, trade and industrial relations. In Hanoi, Undersecretary Di Stefano met the Deputy Minister for Industry and Trade, Dang Hoang An, with whom he co-chaired the 7th Italy-Vietnam Joint Economic Commission meeting. “Many Italian companies relocated their production to Vietnam at the turn of the century”, observed the Undersecretary. As he went on to say, “that era of unfettered globalisation has ended, but many companies have remained in Vietnam, using it as a base for their operations in Asia”. For these reasons, the treaties governing free trade (EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement – EVFTA) and investment protection (EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement – EVIPA) signed by Vietnam and the European Union are extremely important. At the end of the meeting, Undersecretary Di Stefano reiterated his commitment, on his return to Italy, to support the ratification of the EVIPA in Parliament.

Later in the Undersecretary’s visit, during his meeting with the Vietnamese Foreign Minister, Bui Thanh Son, and his Deputy Minister, Hà Kim Ngọc, discussion focused on foreign policy topics. “We are grateful to Vietnam for supporting Italy’s ASEAN Development Partnership bid when it held the Presidency in 2020”, stated the Undersecretary. He added that “in the light of this friendship, we have expressed our full support for Vietnam with respect to both the situation in the South China Sea and the need to safeguard the fragile ecosystem of the Mekong River, which has its source in China and crosses nearly all of the countries in the region”. At the end of the meeting, Undersecretary Di Stefano asked his Vietnamese colleagues to use their links with Russia to convey messages encouraging the end of hostilities and fostering dialogue with Ukraine. One aim would be to create favourable conditions for the creation of a safe maritime corridor to export Ukrainian wheat. The counterparties agreed on the need for hostilities to end and leave the way clear for peace negotiations.

Before ending his visit to Vietnam, the Hon. Di Stefano met members of the Italian business community in that country, operating mainly in the energy and pharmaceuticals sectors. The Undersecretary underscored that “many of the companies providing cutting-edge technologies and training projects can grasp new opportunities for growth, in view of the ‘zero emissions by 2050’ target that Vietnam set itself at COP26”. Undersecretary Di Stefano ended by reiterating the Government’s efforts to encourage the Vietnamese authorities’ recognition of the Italian Medicines Agency (Italian initials AIFA) with a view to simplifying the procedures for importing Italian pharmaceutical products to Vietnam.

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