Jakarta - The Italian government signaled to support Indonesia regarding the negotiations on crude palm oil (CPO) policy with the European parliament. It was said by Minister of Economic Development Carlo Calenda during a courtesy visit to the Office of Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla. "We are ready to support Indonesia, certainly by considering the position in the EU," he said.
As it is known, the European Parliament passed a resolution summarized in the Report on Palm Oil and Deforestation of Rainforests in early April. The resolution recommended gradual halting of palm oil imports for allegedly triggering deforestation and other negative excesses in the environmental, social and human rights sectors. Calenda understood that the issue of palm oil trade is sensitive to Indonesia relying on its exports from the commodity. "Also for the workforce, so we have to consider it and we think it should be resolved in the context of the free trade agreement (FTA)," he said.
Calenda's visit was made because the Italian government wanted a more balanced trade cooperation with Indonesia. Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said Indonesia and Italy trade in 2015 to 2016 decreased 9.4 percent. However, Indonesia recorded a trade surplus value of US$200 million. "They are hoping for a more balanced cooperation, we are certainly wellcome," Enggartiasto said. He stated that the Italian government is ready to communicate Indonesia's position to the European parliament with one of its considerations in order to smooth the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Indonesia and the European Union."They will help to convey this [to the EU], as this will disrupt the ongoing CEPA negotiation of Indonesia- European Union,' he said. In trade with Indonesia, Italy wants their technological advances to be used for the leather industry in Indonesia. Enggartiasto said Indonesia is ready to cooperate and the matter will be business to business.
During the meeting, Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla expects that trade competition should not be continuously exploited. Kalla assured the Italian government that Indonesia's commitment was strong for environmental sustainability. "Mister vice president explained that we are very strongly committed to the environment, there is ISPO (Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil) and the Italian minister take a note of it," Enggartiasto said. Despite being troubled by trade issues, Enggartiasto claimed that the amount of CPO exports to the EU tends to increase by 15% -20% month to month. "Our exports to Europe and America are rising because they need export to India and China down because they have reserves for other types of oil, but I believe that it is not long," he explained. Previously, the Indonesian Palm Oil Entrepreneurs Association (GAPKI) noted that Indonesia's palm oil exports to Europe recorded a 27% increase or from 352,020 tons in February 2017 to 446,920 thousand tons in March 2017.