Populist premier Giuseppe Conte on Wednesday praised Vietnam's strong economic growth and its "openness", saying these made the southeast Asian country "priority" and a "strategic" market for Italian companies.
"The exceptional combination of economic growth and openness makes Vietnam a priority and a strategic market for our businesses," Conte said in Hanoi after talks with Vietnamese prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
"I have come on this visit...because of the importance of strengthening trade ties between Italy and Vietnam. Italian companies eyeing the Vietnamese market can count on the full support of our institutions"
Vietnam is Italy's "strategic" partner in southeast Asia and the annual value of bilateral trade is expected to reach six billion dollars by 2020, Conte said. He is on a two-day visit to Vietnam through Thursday.
Vietnam's economy has grown almost 8 percent during the nearly year-long trade war between China and the United States and is the biggest winner from the shift in supply chains caused by the dispute between the world's two largest economies, according to Japanese investment bank Nomura.