Jakarta. Indonesia and Italy have agreed to increase economic cooperation during a meeting between Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and her Italian counterpart, Angelino Alfano, in Rome on Monday (09/10).
Italy is Indonesia's third-largest trading partner in the European Union, with bilateral trade worth $2.9 billion last year and a surplus in favor of Indonesia.
Italian businesses have long been active in the fields of energy and infrastructure in the archipelago.
"Indonesia's open economy has opened more opportunities for cooperation between the private sectors of the two countries across other areas," Retno said, as quoted in a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The ministry said the meeting focused on bilateral trade and investment, while Retno emphasized the importance of "fair treatment" for Indonesian palm oil, of which Italy is one of the biggest importers.
In early April, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on palm oil and deforestation, which Indonesia criticized on the basis that it discriminates against local palm oil manufacturers and disregards the country's recent efforts to introduce sustainable practices in the industry.
Indonesia continues to argue that palm oil is not the main cause of deforestation.
During the meeting, the two ministers also touched on progress in ongoing negotiations on the Indonesia-EU Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, as well as migration in both regions.
Retno also met with the representatives of dozens of Italian businesses and think-tanks through the Italy-Asean Association and the Community of Sant'Egidio, a lay association within the Roman Catholic Church with around 50,000 members in more than 70 countries.