ISLAMABAD: Italian Ambassador to Pakistan Andreas Ferrarese Thursday expressed hope that establishment of the Italian Trade Agency (ICE) office in Islamabad and assignment of the first Italian Trade Director to Pakistan would enhance trade cooperation between the two countries.
“I am pleased to share with you exciting news; that is the establishment of the Italian Trade Agency (ICE) office in Islamabad and the assignment of the first Italian Trade Director to Pakistan would be a major step towards enhanced trade cooperation between the two countries”, the ambassador said in his message on the upcoming celebration of 77th anniversary of the Republic Day, National Day of Italy.
He told the APP “We shall continue to explore the avenues with a focus on agriculture, renewable energy, textiles, construction and tourism. Collaboration in fields of textiles, agriculture, livestock, marble, pharmaceuticals, and mass manufacturing will help enhance Pakistan’s industrial scope and increase exports of value-added goods”.
The ambassador further stated that the fifth Italy-Pakistan Joint Economic Commission (JEC) took place on May 29-30 in Rome, where the two sides agreed to establish a joint framework to deal with climate change and cooperation in water management.
He said both sides signed an important “Roadmap for Cooperation” which covered climate change, trade & investment, heritage & culture, agriculture, technical cooperation, higher education, and transfer of technology in related sectors.
“Italy remains among the top ten exporting countries for Pakistan in the world, and the third major trade partner in the EU. Both our countries are in favor of trade liberalization scheme at the World Trade Organization and contest the idea of unilateralism” he said.
The ambassador said, with a population of around 240 million, and a constantly growing demand for high-end products, Pakistan continues to be an attractive market for Italian companies and businesses.
Some renowned Italian companies have established their presence in the Pakistani market lately, he added.
He said, that in addition to economic affairs, Italy remained active in community uplift projects and several fruitful programs in various fields had been accomplished in Pakistan.
“Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) has supported several projects in fields of agriculture, health, and infrastructure in diverse regions of the country. We are excited to see the initial success of the “Olive Culture Project” in Pakistan that would bear tangible fruits for the country in the future” he added.
The envoy said, Italy’s archaeological Mission was one of the oldest present missions in Pakistan and had made great contributions to Pakistan’s already rich archaeological scene.
He added, “Italians’ love for Pakistani mountains is no secret and that reflects through their activities of conservation and uplift of Pakistan’s mountainous areas.”
The Embassy of Italy in Islamabad is committed to further strengthening bilateral ties, to take mutual trade to its natural size.
“We look forward to a deeper collaboration with the Pakistani business community, relevant bodies such as chambers of commerce and industry in both countries” he added.
The ambassador said, that this year also marked the 75th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Italy and Pakistan.
“The time-honored Italy-Pakistan relations are marked by emergent bilateral cooperation and harmony of views on a great range of issues. Our cooperation encompasses but is not limited to political, economic, cultural, and social spheres. Italy values the vital support and continued cooperation that Pakistan extended to the international community” the ambassador said.
Andreas Ferrarese said, with a community exceeding 180,000, Italy is home to the largest Pakistani diaspora in Europe (post-Brexit) and their contribution to the Italian economy, as well as to that of their native country was remarkable.
He said, “Worker remittances from Italy to Pakistan have been at an all-time high in the past two years (more than 1 billion Euro a year). Italy was the seventh largest source of worker remittances to Pakistan globally, and the top one within the EU countries.”
He said that both countries appreciated the importance of people-to-people contacts that fostered bilateral ties and the Italian Embassy in Pakistan was strongly committed to improving consular services.
Italian Trade Commissioner for Pakistan Amedeo Scarpa said that the Italian Trade Agency (ICE) is its government trade and investment promotion agency whose duty was to develop, facilitate and promote the economic and trade relations of Italy with other countries, with particular emphasis on the needs of small and medium-sized businesses.
“Italy stands among the top ten trading partners of Pakistan. Italian industrialists have been enjoying good trade relations with their Pakistani counterparts for the past many decades” he added.
However, there are still large margins for further improving such trade by enhancing trade promotion activities to be realized in both countries, he added.
He said that Pakistan’s exports of goods and services to Italy witnessed an increase of 35.58% during the first three quarters of the fiscal year (2021-22) as compared to the exports of the corresponding period of last year.
The overall exports to Italy he said, were at $758.795 million during July-March (2021-22) against exports of $559.664 million during July- March (2020-21).
And this is above the average considering that Pakistan’s exports to other countries had an increase of 26.64% in nine months (from US $18.713 billion to US $ 23.699 billion).
He said, on a year-on-year basis, the imports from Italy increased by 98.32%, going up from $43.320 million in March 2021 against the exports of $85.916 million in March 2022.
Meanwhile, on a month-on-month basis, the imports from Italy witnessed a surge of 47.31% in March 2022 as compared to the exports of $58.323 million in February 2022.