Undersecretary Manlio Di Stefano held a video talk today with the Vietnamese Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Hoang Quoc Vuong.
The talk was an opportunity to sign the new Memorandum of Understanding on the Italian-Vietnamese Mixed Economic Commission (MEC), as well as to take stock of bilateral economic relations in view of the next MEC meeting, which had been scheduled for February 2020 and then postponed due to the COVID19 emergency and which will hopefully be rescheduled within the year.
The video talk enabled the two sides to reiterate the commitment of the two Governments to tackling the pandemic and also highlight the excellent results achieved in terms of its containment, to be continued at the multilateral level.
During the virtual meeting, the excellence of the bilateral economic and political relations was underscored. Both sides stressed the importance of trade between the two countries, which, in 2019, reached 4.4 billion euros, up by 17% compared to 2018, and emphasised that there was broad scope for improvement, following the entry into force of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement on August 1, 2020 and the forthcoming ratification by the Parliaments of the EU Member States of the Investment Protection Agreement.
"Vietnam - Undersecretary Di Stefano said - is our top trading partner in Southeast Asia. We are working towards increasing bilateral trade, with a view to improving the overall balance of trade. Direct investments can also boost trade by driving imports and favouring SMEs. Our economic partnership is part of a broader international policy aimed at furthering Italian trade relations in the region, thanks to Vietnam's key role within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)".