Jakarta: Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has welcomed the launch of a joint working group between the European Union (EU) and relevant Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Member States to address the challenge towards reaching Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the vegetable oil sector.
The first meeting of the joint working group is scheduled to be held in January 2021.
"Indonesia's request to the European Union to treat palm oil fairly is a fair request," said Retno in a press release on Tuesday.
"Indonesia does not sacrifice environmental sustainability just to pursue economic development," Retno added.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) convened the 23rd ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting (AEMM) on Tuesday via video conference.
The Meeting was co-chaired by Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, as Country Coordinator for ASEAN-EU Dialogue Relations, and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell.
The Meeting was attended by the Foreign Ministers or their representatives from all ASEAN Member States and 27 EU Member States, as well as the ASEAN Secretariat and European Commission.
The ministers agreed to elevate the ASEAN-EU Dialogue Partnership to a Strategic Partnership during the Meeting.
The EU was ASEAN’s third largest foreign investor and trading partner in 2019.