Rome and Hanoi celebrate 45 years of diplomatic relations

Vietnam is Italy’s main partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). On 21 January 2013, the two governments signed a strategic partnership agreement. Trade between the two countries is expected to reach US$ 6 billion this year. Italy is 31st out of 128 countries in terms of investments in Vietnam, with 88 projects worth more than US$ 388 million.

Rome (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Italy and Vietnam today celebrated 45 years of diplomatic relations, established on 23 March 1973 during a brutal war that was tearing the country apart and ended with the victory of Communist insurgents in the south and the country’s reunification.

Over this period, the two countries have developed close ties and cooperation. Italy has actively supported greater cooperation between Vietnam and the European Union (EU) and the normalisation of relations between Vietnam and international financial, commercial and monetary institutions.

On 21January 2013, the two governments reached a strategic partnership agreement signed during the visit to Italy of Nguyen Phu Trong, Secretary General of the Vietnamese Communist Party. Since then, Vietnam has become Italy’s main partner inside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

With an annual increase of almost 9 per cent, bilateral trade reached US$ 4.7 billion in 2016, and should rise to US$ 6 billion in 2017-2018.

The Vietnam-EU free trade agreement, which comes into effect this year, will play an important role for both nations, helping to promote trade and investment between Europe, especially Italy, and Vietnam.

In terms of investments, Italy ranks 31st out of 128 countries with 88 projects worth more than US$ 388 million. For its part, the Italian government has included Hanoi on its list of top ten emerging markets for trade and investment.

The two countries have set up a Joint Economic Cooperation Committee, which met for the first time in October 2014 in Hanoi, then in October 2015, November 2016, and more recently in November 2017.

Italy is also intensifying cooperation in the cultural field, particularly in heritage conservation, museums and human resources development. This includes restoring the ancient Hindu sanctuary of My Son.

Tourism is also a rapidly growing. In 2017 Vietnam welcomed 50,000 Italian visitors, a record. Furthermore, Vietnam and Italy have reached 72 agreements in education and training.

Currently, about 5,000 Vietnamese citizens live, work or study in Italy.