Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi held a meeting with Philippine Secretary for Foreign Affairs Enrique A. Manalo in Manila on Tuesday (January 9) to discuss the strengthening of bilateral relations, especially in economic cooperation.

"On the bilateral front, I focused the discussion mostly on economic cooperation. We welcome the growth of our bilateral trade over the last five years despite the global crisis," Marsudi stated in a transcript of her press statement after the meeting.

To strengthen bilateral trade, Marsudi and Manalo are committed to exploring new trade opportunities.

In the field of investment, the two welcome the enthusiasm of investors from Indonesia and the Philippines to bolster investment cooperation.

The minister stated that a delegation of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) is also currently visiting Manila in line with Indonesian President Joko Widodo's visit to the Philippines.

"Indonesia also appreciates the trust given to Indonesia's state-owned enterprises to participate in a number of different projects in the Philippines," she remarked.

The Philippines is a strategic trade partner for Indonesia. The country contributed to Indonesia's trade balance surplus, with a value of US$11.4 billion.

The total value of bilateral trade between Indonesia and the Philippines reached US$14.39 billion in 2022, an increase of 57 percent from the previous year.

Minister Marsudi also emphasized the importance of both countries' commitment to combating transnational crime.

"Indonesia thanked the Philippines for the assistance in repatriating 246 Indonesian trafficking victims last year and returning 73 wildlife birds to their natural habitats in Indonesia," she remarked.

Furthermore, Marsudi commended the joint efforts of the Philippines and UNHCR for registering and confirming Persons of Indonesian Descent in Mindanao and stated that Indonesia is looking forward to further support for the second wave registration.

Marsudi's visit to the Philippines was undertaken to accompany President Joko Widodo and also coincided with the celebration of 75 years of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and the Philippines.

"We should seize this momentum to strengthen our bilateral ties in various sectors of mutual interest and to address regional and global challenges together," she stated.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa, Raka Adji
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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