Europe to keep markets open for trade

Published: March 30, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Italy has assured Pakistan that Rome and the entire European economic bloc are fully committed to keeping international markets open for trade at the highest level.

The assurance was given by visiting Italian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Benedetto Della Vedova in a meeting with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Wednesday where avenues of economic cooperation came up for discussion.

“The recent increase in high-level interaction bodes well for relations between the two nations,” Vedova said, adding bilateral trade figures were improving, but there was a huge untapped potential for further increase in commerce.

He revealed that Italian Ambassador to Pakistan Stefano Pontecorvo was making active efforts to promote foreign direct investment by Italian companies in Pakistan in areas such as energy, infrastructure and machinery.

He appreciated Pakistan’s commitment to joining the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and its accession to the OECD Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.

Pakistan’s partnership with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) including the accession to its conventions was an important step as OECD maintained shared statistics which facilitated international trade and investments, he said.

The finance minister told the Italian dignitary that Pakistan had submitted a letter of intent for joining the OGP after becoming a signatory to the OECD Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.

“The government is fully committed to ensuring transparency and adopting international standards of governance,” he remarked.

Dar, while appreciating the cooperation of Italian government in development projects in Pakistan, emphasised that the trade potential was much bigger than the current level.

Pakistan is eager to further enhance and strengthen relations with Italy in existing and new areas including defence, economy, trade and investment.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2017.

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