Italy has expressed interest in strengthening economic ties with Southeast Asia and Indonesia during a high-level dialogue on ASEAN-Italy economic relations. Chairman of the Italy-ASEAN Association Enrico Letta ensured that Italy is serious about its intention to increase investment in ASEAN despite global trends toward protectionism because the country believes that multilateralism and free trade are the future of the global economy.
Acknowledging the great potential of investment in Indonesia, Letta also said that Italy would increase its investments in Indonesia by about 10 percent in the next year. The sectors that will be targeted by Italian investors are aviation, infrastructure, food processing, energy and pharmaceuticals. With total investments of USD 26 million in a total of 169 projects, Italy only ranked as the 29th largest country in terms of investment in 2016. In the first quarter of 2017, however, Italy’s ranking rose to 25th, with an investment value of $11.34 million.
In 2016 the total value of bilateral trade between Indonesia and Italy reach USD 3 billion, a decrease of 8.6 percent compared to 2015. Indonesia mostly exported coal, crude palm oil, footwear, rubber, coffee, furniture, garment and pulp paper to Italy. Italy in turn mostly exported washing machines, tubes and pipes, recycled paper and cardboard, machinery and mechanical equipment, leather products, automotive parts and products as well as textile machinery to Indonesia.