LAHORE: Pakistan would be among top 10 trading partners of Italy by the end of this year, said Italian Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo, adding traders of both countries should take bilateral volume to new heights.
Speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), he said, “We have set the basis for a strong position for Italian presence in Pakistan,” and more Italian companies from energy, steel, chemicals, mining and various other sectors were planning to start operations in Pakistan.
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Asking Pakistan to take advantage of Italy’s technological advancement, he revealed that Italy’s per meter value addition in textile was the highest in the world and it was producing 100% energy from renewable resources.
“Italy is establishing three centres of excellence and an initial amount of $1.2 million has been allocated for this purpose,” he said.
The ambassador called for exchange of trade delegations and participation in trade fairs and exhibitions on a reciprocal basis.Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said Italy was an important trading partner of Pakistan in Europe, which simultaneously came at fourth place among top importing and exporting destinations for Pakistan in the European Union.
The balance of trade favours Pakistan and it is encouraging to see that the volume of bilateral trade is being kept above $1 billion. “We wish to maintain this favourable trend and also enhance the volume of two-way trade with the help and cooperation of individuals like you,” Javaid emphasised.
He said the worth of bilateral trade between Pakistan and Italy slightly increased from $1.1 billion in 2015 to $1.2 billion in 2016, which was due to increase in both imports and exports.
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Exports of Pakistan increased from $618 million to $667 million and imports grew from $443 million to $528 million from the year 2015 to 2016.
Pakistani business community wants to develop a close liaison with the Italian Trade Commission office in Pakistan in order to exchange important information related to trade queries.
Special Economic Zones are being built under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and if Italian companies take interest, Pakistan can become a lucrative destination for them.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 2nd, 2018.
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