MILAN, June 1 (Class Editori) — In 2019, about 800 Emilia-Romagna-based companies exported to Vietnam, where some of them directly operate. "We can do much more," Alberto Zambianchi, President of the Regional Union of the Chambers of Commerce of Emilia-Romagna (Unioncamere ER), stated, adding that "Since 2013, Unioncamere ER together with the Regional Government has been focusing on this country and on its market in order to support companies. Moreover, the Desk grew thanks to new agreements reached with Becamex IDC Corp. —the Binh Duong-based development agency that confirmed itself as one of the most dynamic of Vietnam—, with the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam and with the Union of Chambers of Commerce of Veneto (Unioncamere Veneto)".
In 2020, the year affected by the pandemic, Vietnamese economy kept growing and GDP of the country increased by 2.91 percent, the highest value recorded in Southeast Asia, a growth confirmed by +4.48 percent in the first quarter of 2021. Last year, the country attracted about 24-billion-dollar worth foreign direct investment (FDIs) while its exports rose by 5 percent.
Therefore, Vietnam represents an ideal platform for development investments and for the commercial expansion of Italian enterprises all over the ASEAN market, the geographical area which includes 10 countries and keeps having the highest GDP growth rates, being thus not only a final destination, but also a starting point.
"The agreements signed with Vietnam proves the will of the Chamber system to support our companies in export and in investments in other countries," Mario Pozza, President of Unioncamere Veneto, pointed out, highlighting that "Vietnam is a reference country and offers many opportunities to our enterprises: this does not mean offshoring, but simply aiming to internationalization as a way to grow and develop, a strategic factor in recovery".
There are different similarities between Veneto's and Emilia-Romagna's economic fabric including widespread entrepreneurship based on SMEs, excellent manufacturing sector and advanced technology. Therefore, there are some good reasons to follow a well-trodden path. "Emilia-Romagna looked at Vietnam over the last years with growing interest due to enterprises’ feedback. Vietnam is the reference manufacturing hub in the ASEAN area, where hi-tech goods are produced together with added value that can be exported all over the world," lawyer Stefano Bellei, Secretary General of the Chamber of Commerce of Modena, explained on behalf of the Regional Union of Chambers of Commerce. "The international opening, the economic stability of the country and the business opportunities it offers led to an important industrial settlement over the years," he added.
The time is particularly right since the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which entered into force on August 1, 2020, established the removal of 65 percent of duties on EU exports towards Vietnam, while the other 35 percent will be gradually eliminated within 10 years. In the same way, around 70 percent of duties on Vietnamese exported goods towards the EU has decayed with the entry into force of the settlement and the percentage will zero within seven years.
Moreover, the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) is about to be reached and is currently awaiting ratification from the Parliaments of EU member states. "It is a quality agreement that creates new opportunities for EU investors, with several advantages in terms of services for the reorganization of the global supply chain after COVID-19," Hue Thi Bich Nguyen, Ambassador of Vietnam to Italy, explained, stating that "the Vietnamese Government is committed in improving the business environment to attract foreign investments, promote exports and domestic consumption towards a sustainable development based on advanced technology".
Mai Hung Dung, Vice Chairman of the Provincial People’s Committee of Binh Duong, stated that "the goal is to enhance collaboration opportunities with Italy, the leading country as concerns agriculture, advanced technology, machine technology, environmental treatment and green energy. Our province presents itself as a sustainable model of smart city with industrial parks of technologies and sciences where to develop innovative culture and human capital".
Dante Brandi, Consulate General of Italy in HCMC, highlighted the complementarity between the two economies: "on the one hand, Italy is the ideal manufacturing partner in several sectors as machinery, automotive, pharmaceuticals and agri-food ones. On the other hand, Vietnam has several strengths, including a young and growing population with an average age of 30 years and an increasing urbanization in its provinces, among which Binh Duong is surely one of the most dynamic".
The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) created several new opportunities. It is the second agreement signed by the EU and an ASEAN country after Singapore. "This alliance provides facilitations as concerns duties and, thanks to Vietnam, the real 'golden door' to the Far East, will allow EU and so Italian companies to look at the Asia-Pacific Region which includes Australian, Chinese, Japanese, New Zealander, South Korean and ASEAN markets after the recent RCEP agreement which led to the creation of the biggest free trade area of the world, which weights out 30 percent on global GDP," Maily Anna Maria Nguyen, Responsible of the Desk Vietnam, Unioncamere Emilia-Romagna, concluded.
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