Italy sees promising trade potential in Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD, Dec 13 (DNA): The Italian Ambassador to Pakistan, Andreas Ferrarese said here on Sunday that he perceived more trade potential between Pakistan and Italy in different sectors of the economy that would help evolve trade equilibrium between both the sides.

“Both the sides want equilibrium and to achieve trade balance as
currently, Pakistan had a trade surplus in bilateral trade with Italy as
was observed in FY 2019-20,” the ambassador said.

Replying to a question he said Pakistan exports to Italy were US $
731million during 2019-20 while Pakistan’s major exports to Italy
included textile, leather, rice, ethanol, including textiles articles,
sets, worn clothing, Cotton ,apparel, crocheted, Cereals, raw hides and
skins, leather, beverages, spirits and vinegar, Plastics, footwear and
gaiters.

The ambassador said in FY 2019-20, Pakistan’s imports from Italy stood
at  US $ 521 million and included ships, boats, and other floating
structures, machinery, pharmaceutical product, aircraft, spacecraft,
electrical, electronic equipment, Organic chemicals, iron and steel,
miscellaneous chemical products, optical, photo,  technical and medical
apparatus. He said currently, Italy was providing technical assistance
in textiles, leather and marble sectors.

The Ambassador, Andreas Ferrarese said his government prioritized to
enhance bilateral trade between Pakistan and Italy to its full potential
of US $ five billion annually in the next three years from current US $
1.7 billion. He said dairy and livestock, olives and olive products,
plastics, processed food and construction sector were the areas where
Italy could extend its cooperation with Pakistan. The Pak-Italy Joint
Economic Commission was the forum for bilateral economic engagement and
was expected to meet in Rome in the last quarter of this year.

While replaying about the expectation of Preferential Trade Agreement
(PTA) between Pakistan and Italy, he said Italy was in European Union
(EU) countries adding, “We are fully supporting Pakistan in Generalized
Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) status in every review.” He informed that
Pakistan has a share of 10 percent of trade with Italy in the whole
contribution with EU countries and in future both sides would extend
more cooperation in trade and economy.

The ambassador informed that Italy has become the largest contributor
from the EU in home remittances to Pakistan. He said in FY 2019-20, it
registered 29 percent growth which was far higher than our national
growth in remittances. He said Pakistani workers contributed US $ 142.9
million in home remittances in FY 2019-20, and US $ 111 million in
2018-19. He said Italy was the eigth largest economy of the world with
US $ two trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Italy has the third largest economy in the European Union (EU) after
Germany and France and Pakistan`s 9th top export destination, he added.
He said Italy has the largest Pakistani diaspora in the EU. Ambassador
Ferrarese said the construction for the new embassy was underway and his
priority task was to supervise the new under-construction Italian
embassy in the diplomatic area and speed up the process.

He said a new economic mission would also be established in Pakistan to
enhance trade and economic connectivity with Pakistan. The ambassador
said, “I want to open up a cultural centre, maybe in one part of the new
embassy, and promote Italian cuisine, art, paintings, music so that the
Pakistanis can know more about Italy.” He said that he was appointed
about nine months ago when coronavirus was at its peak. Replying to a
question, he said his predecessor, Stefano Pontecorvo, was a seasoned
economist and he tried his best to enhance the overall volume of
bilateral trade.

He set a good example and standards for boosting the economic and trade
relation between both of the countries. He said COVID-19 wasted our
efforts and then he had to start afresh to give a quantum jump to the
bilateral trade between Pakistan and Italy. Ambassador Ferrarese has
many out of the box ideas in-store to promote bilateral, trade and
cultural relations between Pakistan and Italy. He also stressed the need
for the importance of cultural connectivity to promote trade and said
that he would encourage exchange of students to further strengthen
bilateral relations.

Replying to a question about his family, he said that his father and
mother were educationists; his father was a professor of history and his
mother a professor of financial economy. He started that his foreign
services career was started at the age of 26 from the department of
Economic Affairs, Italy looking after the Asia region. DNA

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