Italy wants to strengthen trade relations with Vietnam. This is the aim of the Italian trade mission leaded by Italian Prima Minister Matteo Renzi. “Italy can and should do more in Vietnam,” Renzi said following a meeting at the presidential palace in Hanoi with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. Renzi said that Italy at present ranks ninth among Europe nations to invest in Vietnam but he wants trade and investment links between the two countries to improve. A new Italian consulate in Ho Chi Minh City should help, added Renzi, who will also meet with Italian business leaders in Hanoi during his two-day visit marking 40 years since Italy established diplomatic ties in March 1973 with Vietnam. “This marks a new phase of the development of cooperation, especially now that we celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations,” Renzi added. According to Vietnamese radio, last year two-way trade totaled $3.5 billion, up from $2.8 billion in 2012. Italy ranked 29th among the 100 countries and territories investing in Vietnam with 53 projects worth $295 million focusing on processing, manufacturing, garments, textiles, and construction. Vietnam’s participation in Milan Expo 2015 will help cement relations, said Renzi, who will also visit China on his Far East trip.
Renzi will hold meetings in Shanghai and Beijing in an effort to improve economic, financial and political relations with Chinese leaders while promoting Milan Expo. He is also scheduled to meet with representatives from 50 Italian companies as well as Chinese President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Li Keqiang, and the governor of the Central Bank of China. Italy reported an enormous trade deficit of 15.6 billion euros with China in 2012, according to official figures from the Italian Trade Agency. That was an improvement of about four billion euros over 2011 trade statistics, but shows that Italians continue to buy much more from China than they sell there.