(AGI) Hanoi, June 1 - Italy celebrated its National Day inHanoi with an event organised by the Vietnam-Italy FriendshipAssociation. During the ceremony, Natalia Sangitini, who servesas the Italian Embassy's number two, assured the Embassy'scommitment, together with that of the Association, tostrengthen the two countries's relations and the cooperationbetween them. The Association's Vietnamese President, NguyenVan Nam, recalled the growth of the Italian Republic over 69years and also the creativity, enthusiasm and commitment thatItalians have put into developing their country. Van Nam alsoemphasised the friendship and the valuable support given toVietnam throughout its battle for independence by severalgenerations of Italian political leaders. Italy and Vietnamhave held diplomatic relations since 1973. Italy was the firstWestern European country to foster cooperation between Vietnamand the European Union. Bilateral trade has consistently grownby 25-30 percent a year over the years, totalling 3.6 billiondollars in 2014, a figure that is expected to rise to 5 billiondollars in 2015. .