Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs the Hon Julie Bishop and Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development the Hon Angelino Alfano met today in Canberra and signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance bilateral relations and establish the Australia-Italy Bilateral Dialogue as the primary mechanism for initiating new engagement.
Ministers Bishop and Alfano praised Australia and Italy’s enduring, strong and growing bilateral relations, and recognised the great potential for broader and more dynamic engagement.
Both Ministers acknowledged that the basis of the bilateral relationship was Australia and Italy’s shared values as free democracies, and strong promoters and protectors of human rights, rule of law and open markets.
They highlighted the importance of continuing to cooperate on common interests in multilateral organisations, including the G20, to protect and advance the rules-based system of international governance and trade.
Ministers Bishop and Alfano shared concerns over enduring and emerging international security threats and noted the importance of a global response.
They reiterated their commitment to greater free trade and less protectionism and encouraged more bilateral trade and investment. Minister Alfano also expressed strong support for the opening of negotiations on the Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement.
They agreed there is vast scope for improving trade and investment flows, as well as industrial cooperation.
Ministers Bishop and Alfano welcomed the increasing level of innovation collaboration between Australia and Italy in the areas of science, space, medicine and advanced technology.
Minister Bishop warmly thanked Minister Alfano for visiting Australia, and Minister Alfano invited Minister Bishop to visit Italy in the near future.