The Italian Chamber of Commerce will start working in Pakistan by the end of this year and initially it will set up its office in Karachi while other chapters will be established later in cities like Lahore, Italy’s Ambassador to Pakistan Adriano Chiodi Cianfarani has announced.
Speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Monday, the ambassador said the Italian Chamber offices were being set up in Pakistan to promote trade and economic activities between the two countries.
He pointed out that a number of leading Italian oil and energy companies were operating in Pakistan and more would soon be putting their money here. “Italy would like to cooperate with Pakistan in renewable energy, especially solar energy, as it has been cooperating with other countries in this field,” he stressed.
Underlining the need for frequent exchange of trade delegations for promotion of trade and investment, Cianfarani said a big Italian trade delegation would soon visit Pakistan to have first-hand knowledge about available opportunities.
Italy, a major export market of Pakistan in Europe, comes third in terms of trade with Pakistan. Germany and the UK hold the first and second positions whereas France is at fourth.
Average bilateral trade between Pakistan and Italy stood around $1.2 billion from 2009-2011 and has been in favour of Pakistan for the last two years. In 2011, Pakistan’s exports to Italy accounted for 3.1% of total exports, standing at $777 million. Italy has supported Pakistan’s bid for a free trade agreement with the European Union. It is because of such support that from January 2014, Pakistan will begin drawing benefits of Generalised System of Preferences-plus status.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar invited Italian investment in the energy sector, describing it as one of the most lucrative areas for foreign investors. “Pakistan is in dire need of foreign investment in the energy sector, which will give rich dividends,” he said.
Iftikhar highlighted the export potential of Pakistan’s quality fashion garments particularly those made of finest leather, sports goods, etc. Likewise, Pakistan can supply organic as well as inorganic fresh fruits and vegetables.
He suggested that both sides should aim to double trade figures by 2015 with the help of efforts from the public and private sectors. In this regard, the two countries should work together to organise catalogue exhibitions, exchange trade information and organise visits of trade delegations on a reciprocal basis.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2012.