ISLAMABAD, Jul 29 (APP):Ambassador of Pakistan to Italy, Jauhar Saleem on Thursday said that Pakistan had posted trade surplus of $ 300 million with Italy in fiscal year 2020-21, which was 49 percent higher than the previous year of 2019-20.
The ambassador informed that Pakistan’s exports to Italy had reached all-time high $ 786 million in FY 2020-21.
The trade surplus has been created by export enhancement and import contraction, he said this while talking to media persons through digital ‘Zoom Link’ organized by embassy of Pakistan in Rome.
The value added sectors were the main drivers of this growth, he added.
Moreover, Italian imports from non EU countries declined 14 percent.
Pakistan posts record trade surplus and export growth in the COVID-19 hit Italian market, he said The ambassador said that Italy had been among the first countries in Europe that were severely hit by the pandemic.
Italian GDP fell as low as 9.6 percent in 2020, which is the highest fall since the World War-II, he informed.
However, despite these difficult conditions, Pakistan has not only recovered from the pandemic led export challenges but it has registered impressive growth of 9.1 percent in FY 2020-21.
While responding to a question, the ambassador stated that despite the Indian false claim over Basmati`s exclusive Geographical Indication (GI) rights in the EU and Italian market, Pakistan maintained its position as market leader in rice with 37.4 percent share whereas India supplied only 12 percent of the total imported rice in Italy.
He informed that Italy hosted largest Pakistani diaspora in the EU countries.
In FY 2020-21, workers remittances from Italy reached to $601 million which was an all-time high figure, he added.
He said it was 66 percent higher if compared with annual figure of FY 2019-20 that was $ 369 million.
It has made Italy, Pakistan`s 7th largest destination for workers remittance globally and No.1 from the EU.
He expected this growth streak to be continued in the FY 2021-22.
Jauhar Saleem said that Italy and Pakistan had agreed in principle to negotiate a labour agreement that would give Pakistan a comprehensive market access to Italian labour market.
He informed that Pakistan had been included in Italian Seasonal Work Visa for 2022 which would offer immense opportunity for our labour force working in agriculture and services sector to come and work in Italy with legal entry mode.
He informed that Italian firms were investing in energy, food processing, leather, textile, construction and furnishing.
He added that the mission was promoting Joint Venture mode for Italian investment in Pakistan that would help in technology and skill transfer to our businesses.
Jauhar Saleem said that once, the travel restrictions were eased there would be increased number of Italian investor delegations to Pakistan.
He also highlighted the initiatives that had been taken to promote tourism especially capacity building of Pakistan`s tourism sector stakeholders through Italian experts.
On multilateral front, Ambassador Jauhar Saleem informed that Pakistan had been elected President of IDLO for two years which would help in promoting Pakistan`s leading role on different forums alongwith taking advantage of IDLO`s technical assistance for Pakistan.