Ladies and gentlemen, friends from Indonesia and Europe,

I am honoured to be invited to the opening of this important exhibition. This is a major international fair in the most dynamic regions of the world. And it represents in a very real way the fact that Europe and Indonesia are finding new ways to cooperate and bring our people closer together.

This is a collaboration between two strong powers in the food and beverage industry. SIAL GROUP is the world’s largest food exhibition network with over 50 years of experience. And INTERFOOD is the leading food and beverage exhibition in Indonesia.

The main organiser of this fair, Comexposium Group, is well known through the SIAL agri-food exhibitions around the world.

This is an occasion for us to celebrate the things we share, but also the things that make us different.

Indonesia, just like Europe, is a country of many faces and many different groups, traditions and languages. Your motto is exactly like ours: "Unity through diversity".

In Europe, we share with our Indonesian friends the same passion for good food and the same love for the traditions and the products of our countryside. It is these shared values that we want to celebrate with our Indonesian friends during this exhibition.

During the coming days, people from many different professional backgrounds will meet, and talk, and build relationships. There will be farmers; food businesses; experts in food equipment, technology and services. There will be all kinds of exhibitions, including cooking and baking demonstrations.

There will be amazing opportunities to learn about the latest innovation in the food and beverage sectors.

Europe and Indonesia have so much to learn from each other, and I want to take this opportunity to give a word of thanks to our Indonesian hosts who have made us feel very welcome in your beautiful country.

It is very impressive to read the latest numbers about the powerful growth of the Indonesian economy, ranking 16th in the world. Europe and European businesses want to be a part of that growth.

Between 2011 and 2015, the Indonesian agri-food market increased by 57%. There is a growing consumer population here – estimated at 45 million Indonesians today, which is expected to rise to 135 million by 2030.

These people are looking for diverse, high-quality products to feed their families. By 2030, we expect food and beverage spending to account for almost half of annual household spending.

This means there are huge opportunities for agri-food businesses in this country. Increasing trade will lead to increasing prosperity for the people of this great country.

These trends will be facilitated by the Free Trade Agreement currently being negotiated between Indonesia and the EU. This agreement will bring two giant markets together for increased trade and investment.

The EU-Indonesia FTA – the CEPA - will allow synergies among 750 million people and enhance trade and investment relations between the EU and the largest and most populated economy in the ASEAN region.

The proof of the growing European interest towards Indonesia and ASEAN countries can be witnessed at the EU Pavilion with its 13 exhibitors where you all can experience the unique taste and high quality of our European products.

We also have two additional pavilions from Italy and Spain: two of our EU Member whose food and drink products are famous throughout the world.

I am very happy that the Europe-Indonesia Business Network organised for the first time an EU Pavilion at this prestigious fair. This has given a chance to European companies to be among the 850 exhibitors from 25 countries, who will attract 40.000 visitors from 50 countries in the coming days.

At the European pavilion, you will have the chance to experience the tastes of our European regions and learn more about the quality, safety, tradition and story behind our products.

The aim of my visit to Indonesia is to introduce and explain to Indonesian consumers and agri-food professionals the quality of our products.

For this mission, I have the support of 38 representatives of EU agri-food businesses active in sectors with large potential in Indonesia. Some of them represent very big companies, others come from small enterprises. Many of these businesses are interested in investing in Indonesia.

We are absolutely delighted to be here with you today, and I urge everyone to make the most of this great opportunity.

SIAL-Interfood Jakarta will be a busy experience for us all – we will have plenty of opportunities to make contacts, ands have good discussions. And let's not forget to enjoy the different tastes on offer!

Let me conclude by wishing you all an enjoyable and productive experience at this great event. Thank you.