Ho Chi Minh City, 08/11/2015
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Minh,
Representatives from institutions, associations and businesses,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured to warmly and cordially greet you all on the occasion of the Italy-Vietnam Strategic Dialogue for business, university and research partnerships, organised during my visit to Vietnam.
And I am pleased that the dynamic city of Ho Chi Minh, where the new Italian Consulate General opened a year ago and where the largest Italian community in Vietnam resides, is hosting today's event.
Three days of structured and fruitful meetings come to a close today, as we look to the future and think about the prospects of our partnership, particularly in its economic dimension and in the equally important area of university and technological cooperation.
What we are experiencing today - and you who work here know this better than anyone - is an extraordinarily dynamic moment in the relations between our two countries, which all of us, within our own remit, are involved in and responsible for.
Firstly, we are involved in seizing the opportunities that the current economic climate and renewed trust in the growth prospects of our systems offer us.
Italy is one of the leading manufacturing and exporting countries in the world. It is tackling with renewed vigour the goals of projection and internationalisation in the global economy, after a structured series of reforms and with renewed signals of market confidence.
Vietnam, which has committed to modernisation and liberalisation - of interest to trade, investment, the banking system and property market, among others - looks to integration in the regional and global market as an opportunity not to be missed.
Together, Vietnam and Italy can operate effectively in the global community.
Secondly, we are also responsible for defining, together, the direction and pace to give our collaboration.
This awareness needs to inspire the formal framework within which diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Italy have developed actively since 2013.
On this matter, I have observed a happy convergence of views with President Sang and everyone I have spoken with over the past few days.
Being strategic partners requires a particular, exceptionally ambitious effort: not only the ability to "react" positively, seizing opportunities that present themselves, but also the ability to "build opportunities", combining similarities, differences and areas of complementarity with foresight.
We are all aware of the simiarities and complementarity that tie together our economies and our shared perceptions so well, starting from the established presence of a shared fabric of small and medium businesses that daily face the challenge of globalisation with intelligence, innovation and creativity.
Institutions must play their part, and they are ready to do so, at all levels. The intense exchange of high-level institutional visits between the two countries, and my own presence in Vietnam, serve to highlight this conviction, fuelled by commitment and the search for synergies.
Let us therefore look to the future.
The Action Plan signed two days ago in Hanoi, in the presence of President Sang and myself, embraces all the dimensions of our collaboration, not just ideally but also very concretely. It constitutes the clear and concrete perimeter within which bilateral cooperation between Vietnam and Italy will unfold until 2017.
Such varied and structured collaboration must go hand-in-hand with dialogue among Institutions, but it must not stop at this. It must also by necessity be fuelled by the daily work carried out by businesses, associations, universities, non-governmental organisations, professionals. All those present here today play a crucial role, often far from the spotlight, and are making a "pioneering" contribution to making tangible efforts to innovate and strengthen our relationship.
My heartfelt thanks, to all of you, for this contribution, is also a call for you to continue in this direction, through united and continuing efforts.
The global scenario requires us to constantly perfect our analytical and working tools, to have a rapid ability to adapt and a strategic long-term vision.
A vision that led Italy to open, last year, the Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City, within the framework of the re-orientation of the Italian diplomatic and consular network.
A development that concretely bears witness to our attention towards all players in both countries, as I recently mentioned, and towards the Vietnamese citizens who would like to deepen dialogue, in all its forms, with our country.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On this occasion, I would particularly like to raise a final point which I invite you to exchange opinions and views on over the course of your work.
Every partnership, at any level and of any nature, cannot maintain its intrinsic characteristics of sharing and equality intact if it is not encouraged and managed by people who share the same degree of ambition. If this were not the case, it would become distorted and no longer able to generate mutual satisfaction and tangible advantages for both parties through collaboration.
Our youth, the students currently populating Vietnamese and Italian universities, researchers, university professors, businessmen, all those able to communicate enthusiasm for improvement are part of this challenge.
Commercial trade, attracting investment, planning suitable policies to create a favourable climate to economic growth, must be encouraged, supported and planned for with in mind a broad vision and perspective.
I am certain that Vietnam and Italy, Vietnamese youth and Italian youth, Vietnamese businessmen and Italian businessmen, share these challenges.
Today's meeting includes a specific session on the relationship among businesses, territories and universities. Italy, a messenger for development that aspires to integrate economic, cultural and social aspects, places at the heart of its internationalisation the awareness of the importance of a social and inclusive dimension to development.
In this regard, I was able to observe with great satisfaction during my visit that Italian businesses working in Vietnam are spokespersons for this model and this engagement, through important collaboration agreements with local universities, some of which will be finalised at the end of this dialogue.
Collaboration among territories and cities also constitutes an important vehicle for sharing good practice in terms of local development.
In this respect, I would like to congratulate Ho Chi Minh City and the city of Turin for recently signing the cooperation and friendship agreement, and I very much appreciate the agreement that will be finalised today between the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam and the Department for Foreign Relations of the Vietnamese Provinces.
With this confidence and enthusiasm for the future of the excellent relations between our two countries, I wish you a fruitful meeting and I renew my invitation to be responsible and forward-looking players, every day, in the partnership between Vietnam and Italy!