Islamabad: Italy’s Italian Ambassador to Pakistan Andreas Ferrarese on Sunday stressed to enhance the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Italy to its full potential from current $1.7 billion to $5 billion annually.
In an interview, he said both the countries were interested to achieve the trade balance as currently Pakistan had a trade surplus with Italy in FY 2019-20.
The envoy said that Pakistan exports to Italy were $731million during 2019-20, Pakistan major exports to Italy include leather, rice, ethanol, textiles articles, sets, worn clothing, cotton ,apparel, crocheted, cereals, raw hides and skins, leather, beverages, spirits and vinegar, plastics, footwear and gaiters.
He said that in FY 2019-20, Pakistan import from Italy at $521 million including 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 that dairy and livestock, olives and olive products, plastics, processed food and construction sector were the areas where Italy could extend its cooperation with Pakistan.
About the expectation of Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between Pakistan and Italy, he said that Italy was in European Union (EU) Countries and “we are fully supporting Pakistan in Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) status in every review.”
Ambassador Andreas Ferrarese 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 said Italy had become the largest contributor from the EU in home remittances to Pakistan.
He said that in FY 2019-20, it registered 29% growth which is far higher than our national growth in remittances.
He said that Pakistani workers contributed $142.9 million in home remittances in FY 2019-20, and $111 million in 2018-19.
He said Italy was the 8th largest economy of the world with $ 2 trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Italy has the 3rd largest economy in the European Union (EU) after Germany and France and Pakistan`s 9th top export destination,” he added.
Ambassador Ferrarese said that a new economic mission would also be established in Pakistan to enhance trade and economic connectivity with Pakistan.
He 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.”
To a question, he said that his predecessor, Stefano Pontecorvo, was a seasoned economist and he tried his best to enhance the overall volume of bilateral trade.
He said that 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 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.