Distinguished Vice Minister Vuong,
Distinguished Minister Belloni,
Distinguished Ambassador Long,
Distinguished Director Ha,
Colleagues and Honourable Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for participating in this Round Table today at the presence of a delegation of the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Development, led by Dr. Trong Hieu, and thank you also to Veneto Innovazione for the much appreciated collaboration in organizing this event.
As you know, the main objective of UNIDO is to foster economic growth and industrial sustainable development in the private sector of developing countries, through the transfer of productive models, technology, and sustainable strategies.
In this context, and thanks to a EUR 3 million contribution by the Italian Government, our organization is implementing the project “SME Cluster Development in Vietnam,” an ambitious plan aimed at transferring Italian know-how and technologies to improve the competitiveness and the capabilities of Vietnamese SMEs, through a technical assistance program and the promotion of the Italy-Vietnam synergy.
The project aims at developing SME clusters, an industrial system organized on a district basis that is common in Italy but still not present to a significant extent in developing countries. I believe that the development of these SME clusters, as underlined by the Ministers present at the ASEAN Awareness Summit, will help the Vietnamese industry to improve its competitiveness and better integrate into the world economy, while contributing to the sustainable growth of the country.
UNIDO has already completed the mapping of local Small and Medium Enterprises’ clusters in Vietnam, by selecting three target groups with high development potential. These include a textile and garment cluster, one related to footwear and leather processing, and one on furniture and woodworking. These industrial sectors were chosen because they are among the top five Vietnamese exports; however, they are low value-added sectors, characterized by poor integration and a lack of planning and marketing capabilities.
The selected clusters and their trade associations had the necessary technical support by the Italian experts mobilized by UNIDO, with the aim of carrying out a technical evaluation and of training local entrepreneurs.
In the current phase of this important project, it is fundamental to promote long-term cooperation relations and agreements between Italian and Vietnamese associations at a district and enterprise level. In this context, UNIDO ITPO Italy is carrying out a number of initiatives aimed at promoting the opportunities offered by Vietnam to the Italian entrepreneurial system.
Among the events that we have held, I would like to highlight the recent mission in Italy of Vietnamese entrepreneurs operating in the shoemaking sector, especially as far as the cutting, seaming, and design are concerned. The delegation participated to several ad hoc meetings with associations operating in this field, institutions and enterprises, in occasion of the Simac-Tanning Tech fair. I consider this to have been a great opportunity for Vietnamese entrepreneurs to meet their Italian counterparts and discuss potential partnerships, as well as industrial and institutional cooperation agreements.
UNIDO is internationally recognized as the most active agency in SMEs and clusters development in developing countries and emerging economies. In fact, with our programs and activities, we try to develop local small and medium enterprises, through the promotion of direct investments and fostering economic partnerships based on a win-win cooperation. Our Cluster Development Program, led by Mr. Gerardo Patacconi, gave significant results in Africa, Asia, Latin America and is likely to be successful also in Vietnam.