"The theme is chosen because Indonesia and Italy have the potential in the creative economy and MSMEs that we want to develop further," Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi stated after having a bilateral meeting with Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Manlio Di Stefano on the sidelines of the 11th Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) here Thursday (Dec 6).
Indonesia and Italy are also negotiating for the completion of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the creative economy.
The two countries agreed to increase cooperation involving MSMEs, especially those who are engaged in culinary, fashion and furniture.
At the bilateral meeting, Deputy Minister Stefano talked about the growing trade and investment relations between Indonesia and Italy.
As the third largest trading partner in the European Union, Italy recorded a total value of bilateral trade with Indonesia at US$3 billion until November 2017, an increase of 16.84 percent compared to that in the same period in the previous year.
Indonesia also expects Italian companies to enhance their investment in the country.
In addition to economic issues, Foreign Minister Retno and Deputy Minister Stefano also discussed issues on diversity in the community which was responded by establishing an interfaith dialogue mechanism between Indonesia and Italy in the form of second track diplomacy.
This form of cooperation involves non-government actors ranging from high class society to grassroots classes, which have proven effective in assisting the government in promoting Indonesia on the international stage.
Reporting by Yashinta Difa Pramudyani
Editing by Libertina, Andi Abdussalam