ISLAMABAD, Sep 17 (APP): Ambassador of Pakistan to Italy, Jauhar Saleem on Friday said that Italian investors and various companies were ready to invest in different sectors of country’s economy, which would further strengthen economic ties between the two countries.
Italian companies new to Pakistani market are now investing in different sectors such as food, steel, leather, textile, tourism, Information Technology (IT), electric vehicles and allied equipment, said a press release issued, Ambassador Jauhar Saleem said this while talking to the media.
The Ambassador appreciated the role of Italian Government, embassy and private sector companies in providing technical assistance and technology transfer; especially in leather and textile sectors which are of prime importance for Pakistan’s economy, particularly in terms of export capacity.
While talking about bilateral investment cooperation, Ambassador Saleem stated that previously Italian investment in Pakistan was highly concentrated in hydrocarbon market.
He said the embassy was endeavoring to help build a more diversified investment portfolio from Italy and has pitched Pakistan’s priority sectors for investment so that Pak Italy bilateral investment portfolio could experience sustainable growth.
He highlighted some of the main factors that are fueling the unprecedented growth streak in remittances in the last 4 quarters.
He named the user friendly financial products of State Bank of Pakistan like Roshan Digital Account (RDA), restrictions on cross border travel due to the pandemic, favourable exchange rate, legalization of undocumented Pakistani workers in Italy, Pakistan’s inclusion in seasonal work visa program in Italy and ‘Remittances Promotion Drive of the Pakistan Embassy in Italy’ as some of the leading factors that are helping remittances growth to record heights.
He informed that the major indicators of bilateral economic relations namely trade cooperation and workers’ remittances are reflecting extraordinary growth.
Pakistani workers’ remittances from Italy increased by a staggering 92 percent in August 2021 as against August 2020, making Italy the largest contributor in remittances from the European Union, he said.
Keeping in view the growth trend of the last 12 months, Italy could be expected to join the so called Billion Dollar Club/markets for remittances for Pakistan which could help address the current account gap being faced by Pakistan.
He shared that Pakistan has been included in Italy’s Seasonal Work Visa Programme for 2022 as well that would help our semi-skilled workers to come through legal channels and work in agriculture and services sectors of Italian market.
As for Pakistan’s exports to Italy that has registered 64 percent growth in August 2021 year on year he mentioned that the export growth was mainly led by value added sectors like garments, leather products, home textiles and footwear, he said.
The Ambassador said that Italy was Pakistan’s 8th largest export market where Pakistan is market leader in some products such as rice.
Pakistan’s share in Basmati supply to Italian market has risen to 82% whereas India supplies only 12 percent.
Despite the false Indian claim over exclusive rights for Basmati in EU market, Pakistan is the largest exporter of Basmati not only to Italy but the entire European Union.
The Ambassador noted that Pakistan’s exports to Italy reached an all-time high of
$786 million during the FY 2020-21 and this year they are endeavoring to have an even better growth figure.
He added that despite the pandemic related restriction, the Embassy was extending all possible support to our businesses to facilitate their access to the Italian market.
Saleem informed that a delegation of around 40 Pakistani businessmen from leather sector will be visiting Italy next week where besides participating in an internationally acclaimed trade fair they will have meetings with Italian buyers, investors and visit some state of the art leather manufacturing facilities.