HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính on Wednesday held phone talks with his Italian counterpart Mario Draghi, expressing delight at the development of the Việt Nam-Italy strategic partnership.
The two leaders agreed to strengthen exchanges at all levels, especially at high levels, and continue to promote the effectiveness of the Action Programme to implement the 2021-23 Strategic Partnership, cooperation mechanisms including the organisation of the 4th Political Consultation, 7th Joint Committee on Economic Cooperation; and prepare to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the 10th anniversary of the strategic partnership between the two countries in 2023.
The two sides are pleased to see that after nearly two years of implementing the Việt Nam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), the two-way trade exchange has witnessed positive results.
In 2021, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, two-way trade value reached US$5.6 billion, up 20 per cent compared to 2020.
PM Chính highly appreciated Italy’s continued placement of Việt Nam on its list of priorities for cooperation in trade and investment in the period after 2020, and affirmed that Việt Nam will create every favourable condition necessary for Italian enterprises to expand investment in Việt Nam.
PM Chính asked Italy to soon ratify the EU-Việt Nam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), support Vietnamese efforts and urge the EU to remove the yellow card against Vietnamese seafood, soon recognise Việt Nam’s COVID-19 vaccine passports, and facilitate Vietnamese goods in accessing the Italian market, especially agricultural products, food, and seasonal fruits such as mango, dragon fruit and lychee.
The Italian leader agreed with the proposals and initiatives of the Vietnamese counterpart in deepening the Việt Nam-Italy strategic partnership, and expressed gratitude to Việt Nam for the donation of masks during the period when Italy was facing incredible challenges due to COVID-19.
PM Draghi pledged that the Italian Government would push the Italian National Assembly to soon ratify the EVIPA, reaffirming that Italian businesses want to continue investing in Việt Nam in the fields of renewable energy, infrastructure, water resource management, and innovation.
The Vietnamese Government leader thanked Italy for its active cooperation in handling the recent fraud case that involved a number of Vietnamese cashew exporters. PM Draghi affirmed that Italy is very interested in this case, has directed the authorities to prevent delivery of the cashew containers to third parties and continue to investigate and bring the case to trial.
On this occasion, PM Chính expressed his sincere thanks to the Italian Prime Minister, Government, and people for supplying more than 2.8 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Việt Nam through the COVAX mechanism.
During the call, PM Chính spoke about Việt Nam’s strong commitments at the recent UNCOP26 Summit on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, transitioning to a green, circular economy with the goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. PM Chính proposed that Italy, as an important member of the G7 and EU, support Việt Nam in the access to finance and technology to deal with climate change, as well as to promote digital transformation, green economy and renewable energy programmes, including supporting the establishment of an equitable energy transition partnership with Việt Nam.
The Italian PM highly appreciated Việt Nam’s commitment at UNCOP26, underlining Italy’s readiness to support Việt Nam in the field of equitable energy transition.
The two PMs agreed to coordinate closely at multilateral forums such as the UN, UNESCO, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and the ASEAN-EU framework.
The Italian Prime Minister highly appreciated the fact that the two countries’ authorities are closely coordinating in organising the “ASEAN-Italy Dialogue on sub-regional cooperation” on sustainable development, water resource management, and disaster response, in tandem with promoting regional and sub-regional linkages.
The two leaders also discussed international and regional issues of mutual concern, including the South China Sea issue and the importance of settling disputes by peaceful means based on international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
On this occasion, PM Phạm Minh Chính invited PM Mario Draghi to pay an official visit to Việt Nam soon. PM Draghi has accepted the invitation and in return, has invited the Vietnamese leader to visit Italy at an appropriate time. — VNS