The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Luigi Di Maio, had today a telephone conversation with the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi. Numerous topics were at the centre of the conversation: the Italy-ASEAN relations, the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the strengthening of the economic-commercial exchange.
Minister Di Maio stressed that Italy believes in regional integration and appreciates ASEAN's contribution to prosperity, peace, and stability in South-East Asia. He also confirmed Italy's willingness to deepen cooperation in areas such as environmental protection, cultural heritage protection, police cooperation.
The Minister then expressed his gratitude to the ASEAN Member States for the generosity shown to our country during the most acute phases of the COVID-19 pandemic and reiterated his conviction that the only effective response to the pandemic should be sought in international cooperation and effective multilateralism that Italy pursues by promoting the International Vaccine Alliance and the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator.
Minister Di Maio concluded by expressing satisfaction with the strengthening of economic and trade relations between Italy and the ASEAN countries, with an exchange that exceeded 8.6 billion euros last year and about 700 Italian companies operating in the region in key sectors such as energy, transport, construction and automation.