I welcome the progress on bilateral economic cooperation and remain committed to work harder in strengthening our cooperation
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia and Panama agreed to explore cooperation in the three key areas of health, economic recovery, and women’s empowerment.

“During our meeting, we focused our talks on three important areas of cooperation to be further explored. First, on health cooperation,” Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi stated during a virtual press briefing on the visit of Panamanian Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes here on Thursday.

Marsudi and Mouynes inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in diplomatic capacity building and letter of intent for strategic partnership between the Human Resources Development Agency on Transportation of the Ministry of Transportation of the Republic of Indonesia and the International Maritime University of Panama.

2022 should be a year of recovery from the pandemic, in which vaccine plays a very important role, according to Marsudi.

Both countries agreed on the importance of equal access to vaccine and vaccination to end the current pandemic, especially to meet WHO’s target of 70-percent total vaccination coverage by mid-2022, especially for developing and least developed countries.

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“I shared Indonesia’s commitment to contribute to the strengthening of global health architecture and to place this issue as one of Indonesia’s priorities for the G20 Presidency,” she remarked.

President Joko Widodo will also be one of the co-chairs of the COVAX AMC Summit on April 8, 2022, which reflects Indonesia’s strong commitment to supporting COVAX, she added.

The second area pertains to the post-pandemic economic recovery.

“I welcome the progress on bilateral economic cooperation and remain committed to work harder in strengthening our cooperation,” she noted.

Despite the pandemic, the trade value between Indonesia and Panama in 2021 increased by 59.05 percent, amounting to more than US$170 million, as compared to US$109 million in 2020.

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Both countries also agreed to further explore measures to boost economic relations by bringing Indonesia’s and Panama’s private sectors closer together through the Indonesia-Latin America and the Caribbean (INA-LAC) Business Forum and inviting Panama's business sector to use the INA-Access, a digital TTI platform, to explore trade and investment opportunities.

In addition, they agreed to enhance market access for Indonesia’s products, such as fisheries, pharmacy, and garments.

“We also agreed on the need to explore greater investment between our two countries, as investment value remains far from the pre-pandemic level,” she affirmed.

On this note, Marsudi added that Indonesia had noted positively the information received late Thursday and confirmed during the meeting that Indonesia has been taken off Panama’s restricted list, as it will help to expedite the visa application process for Indonesians and enhance closer interactions among the people, including between our business communities.

The last point focuses on women's empowerment.

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“We already discussed this issue during the phone conversation. Women's empowerment is always one of the topics of discussion when we meet, discuss, and communicate with each other,” she stated.

During the meeting, Marsudi and her counterpart discussed the critical role of women and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic and post recovery.

“Women should be and are an integral part of recovery, and we share the same view that investing in women means investing in our future,” she stressed.

Apart from bilateral issues, Marsudi and Mouynes also discussed several regional and international issues, including the situation in Ukraine.

With regard of cooperation, Mouynes expressed gratitude that both countries agreed to bolster the three main pillars.

“We are very grateful for the opportunity to be here. We are very excited to cover our agendas on the three main pillars. We value this opportunity with the leadership role that we have in America and the leadership that Indonesia shares locally,” she noted.

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Reporter: Juwita Trisna Rahayu
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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