Italian Ambassador Andreas Ferrarese has said that business environment in Pakistan is much better now and his country wants to further strengthen bilateral trade and economic relations with Pakistan to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.
He expressed these views while speaking to the business community during his visit to the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI).
The envoy said that 21st Century was the century of Asia and Italy wanted to develop closer cooperation with Pakistan and help it to improve competitiveness of its economy.
He termed lack of awareness in the Italian business community about Pakistan a problem for trade promotion, but revealed that efforts were being made to bring the Italian trade commissioner from Dubai to Pakistan, which would help in addressing issues and improving bilateral trade between the two countries.
The ambassador stressed that Pakistan should focus on value addition to its products and Italy could help it with its advanced technology in various fields including marble manufacturing and tourism.
He said that the Italian embassy was considering giving long-term business visas to prominent Pakistani businessmen on the recommendation of Pakistani chambers of commerce and industry.
Speaking on the occasion, ICCI President Muhammad Shakeel Munir said that bilateral trade of less than $2 billion between Pakistan and Italy was not reflective of the true potential and stressed that both countries should focus on developing strong business linkages between their private sectors to increase the trade volume.
He said that Italy had advanced technology and its technological cooperation with Pakistan in textile, construction, marble, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, processed food, dairy, livestock and other sectors would enable Islamabad to upgrade its industrial capacity and produce value-added products for export promotion.
He pointed out that Pakistan had huge reserves of marble and granite and Italian technology would help it to produce value-added marble products and boost exports.
“Pakistan is keen to promote its tourism sector and Italy’s cooperation in this field will help to develop a modern tourism infrastructure,” Munir said.
He highlighted that Pakistan provided easy access to the Middle East, Central Asia and Southeast Asia and by investing in Pakistan, Italian companies could promote exports to many regional markets.
“Pakistan is establishing many Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under CPEC, which offer great incentives to foreign investors,” he said, adding that Italian companies should explore joint venture and investment avenues in the SEZs.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2021.
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