Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and Italy agreed to intensify bilateral relations in various sectors during Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudis visit to Rome on Monday.

During a bilateral meeting with her Italian counterpart Angelino Alfano in Rome, Italy, Minister Marsudi said Italy is one of Indonesias important partners in the European Union (EU), while the country is also the third-largest trading partner of Indonesia in the EU, according to a press release received here on Tuesday.

Issues related to bilateral trading and investment became the common concern of both countries during the meeting.

Minister Marsudi emphasized that Italian entrepreneurs had long been active in Indonesia, especially in the fields of energy and infrastructure.

"Indonesias open economy has created greater opportunities for cooperation between the two countries entrepreneurs in various other sectors," Minister Marsudi pointed out.

Specifically highlighting palm oil issues, Marsudi called for ensuring fair treatment to prevent discrimination against Indonesian palm oil.

Marsudi offered an overview to the Italian foreign minister that the palm oil industry receives significant attention from the Indonesian government, as it concerns the livelihoods of some 20 million Indonesian citizens.

In addition to focusing on issues related to bilateral trade, the two ministers also discussed the progress in negotiations for the Indonesia-EU Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

The Indonesian foreign minister affirmed that success in the negotiations will open up opportunities to forge economic cooperation for countries in the region, including Italy.

Indonesia has also raised the interfaith dialogue cooperation issue with Italy.

"I welcome the holding of an interfaith dialogue seminar in Rome for the fourth time on this October 11, 2017. This seminar bears the theme pluralism and integration," Marsudi remarked.

Both ministers also exchanged ideas on the handling of migration issues in each region.

Indonesia elaborated on its active role in addressing the issue of migration in the region through the Bali Process.

The two ministers agreed on the importance of cooperation with the country of origin, including through the development of an inclusive economy.

Italy ranks in the 19th position as a destination country for Indonesias non-oil and gas exports.

Italy is also the largest destination country of Indonesias crude palm oil exports in the EU and a development partner of Indonesias creative industry.

The total bilateral trade between both countries in 2016 was recorded at US$2.96 billion, with a surplus of $185 million for Indonesia.

Earlier, prior to the bilateral meeting, Minister Marsudi had attended a dialogue in which over 50 Italian think tanks and entrepreneurs had participated.

The dialogue was held by the Italy-ASEAN Association and was led by Executive Vice President of the association, Ambassador Pipan.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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