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Mission by Undersecretary Manlio Di Stefano to Indonesia

Undersecretary Manlio Di Stefano’s latest mission to Southeast Asia ended in Indonesia, where he took part in several institutional meetings and in the Second Italy-ASEAN Joint Committee.
Indonesia is a strategic partner for Italy in the Indo-Pacific region. In addition to being a democracy, the Country is, in fact, the leading economy in Southeast Asia, the fourth most populous Country in the world, and the only ASEAN Member State that is also a Member of the G20 – it holds the G20 rotating Presidency this year. According to the latest available data, in 2020, the stock of Italian FDI in Indonesia amounted to 822 million euros, with important Italian businesses active in the Country, especially in the energy sector. Moreover, in 2021, trade exchange stood at 3.4 billion euros, up by over 20% compared to the previous year.
In Jakarta, Hon. Di Stefano first held working meetings with Indonesia’s Deputy Minister of Finance, Suahasil Nazara, Deputy Minister of State-Owned Enterprises, Pahala Mansury, and Minister of Trade, Muhammad Lutfi, and then with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi. The Undersecretary said: “Thanks to these meetings, we were able to take stock of our bilateral relations four years after my visit to Indonesia in 2018, the last visit to the Country by the Italian Government.” The meetings focused on several issues, including Indonesia’s G20 Presidency. Hon. Di Stefano pointed out that “At such a complicated time, it will not be easy to reach consensus among all Countries and to sit with Russia at the table. On my part, I have told the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi, that Italy reaffirms its commitment, as G20 rotating President in 2021, to assist Indonesia in finding a solution to this problem.” The Undersecretary also discussed with his interlocutors the opportunities for Italian businesses in the Country, especially in the energy and transport sectors, as well as the new European rules for importing palm oil, of which Indonesia is the world’s largest exporter. Undersecretary Di Stefano also said that “Indonesia is a pivot in Southeast Asia, a young and rapidly developing democracy, and Italy must and can build more with it.” Finally, Hon. Di Stefano made it clear to his counterparts that European legislation aims to protect biodiversity and fragile ecosystems.
Together with Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN, Satvinder Singh, Undersecretary Di Stefano also chaired the Second Italy-ASEAN Joint Committee. “I have always believed in the relationship between Italy and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations,” said the Undersecretary. “Since the beginning of my mandate, I have supported the creation of a common platform for dialogue with ASEAN, made up of ten Member States, about 600 million citizens, and a booming market.”
The meeting laid down the formal implementation of the Development Partnership between Italy and ASEAN, launched in September 2020 to strengthen cooperation with a key organization in the Indo-Pacific macro-region, and made it possible to enhance the many capacity-building initiatives already carried out in this area. During the meeting, the parties adopted the “Practical Cooperation Areas” (PCA) policy document, which sets out the cooperation activities for 2022-2026.
Hon. Di Stefano said: “Today, our cooperation has taken another big step forward; after months of working with ASEAN and all its Member States, we have approved the list of projects to be implemented together over the next five years, with the participation of all Italian institutions.” The projects include education and training courses in many areas such as cybersecurity, space policies, international law, civil protection, as well as programmes for the protection of river and coastal ecosystems, the modernization of health systems, and the development of renewable energy.

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