Vast opportunities are present to enhance mutual trade and investment between Pakistan and Italy and businessmen and traders from both countries can reap the benefits, said Ambassador of Italy to Pakistan Andreas Ferrarese.
Speaking to the business community in Islamabad on Wednesday, the envoy urged Pakistani businessmen and traders to make efforts to promote mutual trade and economic ties between the two nations.
“Economic, trade and cultural relations between Italy and Pakistan are at an all-time high,” he said. “Italy hosts the largest number of Pakistani diaspora in the European Union (EU).”
Stating figures, he said that workers remittances from Italy hit historic high of $601 million in FY21 and as a result, Italy emerged as the seventh largest global destination for workers remittances to Pakistan and ranked first among the countries in the EU.
He stressed that there was immense potential for trade in different sectors of the economy and underlined the need to explore it by engaging in a dialogue process through the Pak-Italy Joint Economic Commission.
Currently, Italy is providing technical assistance in agriculture and textiles up-gradation through modern machinery, value addition in agriculture, leather and marble sectors, he pointed out.
“Pakistan is working to expand this collaboration and add agricultural items including dairy and livestock, olives and olive products, plastics, processed food and the construction sector to it,” he said.
Ferrarese was of the view that Italy wanted to start a new era of economic and trade cooperation with Pakistan through transfer of technology and upgrade of Pakistan’s textile industry.
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According to him, green economy, transfer of technology for the industrial sector including textiles and agro industry, construction sector, education and health were major areas of focus to extend bilateral cooperation.
The envoy emphasised that Italy wanted to cooperate with Pakistan through green economy to improve environmental protection, circular economy, resource saving and management, ecosystem protection and recovery, water conservation and natural disaster prevention.
The ambassador said that Italy had established the Italy-Pakistan Textile Technology Center (IPTTC) in Faisalabad at the National Textile University (NTU) to upgrade the local textile sector.
“The training centre, which is the first of its kind for Italian textile machinery technology in Pakistan, was inaugurated in the recent past,” he said. “The project was financed by the Italian government to support the development of the local textile industry by equipping it with Italian machinery.”
During fiscal year 2020-21, textile, leather, rice, ethanol, textiles articles, worn clothing, cotton, apparel, cereals, raw hides and skins, beverages and footwear were among major exports of Pakistan to Italy, the envoy highlighted.
Likewise, Pakistan’s imports from Italy included ships, boats and other floating structures, machinery, pharmaceutical products, aircraft, spacecraft, electrical, electronic equipment, organic chemicals, iron and steel, miscellaneous chemical products and medical apparatus.
Replying to a question, he said that at present, Italy was providing technical assistance to Pakistan in textiles, leather and marble sectors.
“The new economic mission has been deployed to Pakistan to further promote bilateral trade and economic cooperation in different potential areas,” he said.
He underlined the importance of encouraging cultural connectivity to promote the two- way trade.
He also called for enhancing exchange of students to further strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.
The senior diplomat said that Italy was committed to extend cooperation in diverse sectors to uplift bilateral trade.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2021.
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