ISLAMABAD, Jul 23 (APP):Pakistan has achieved trade surplus target of $210 million with Italy during fiscal year 2019-20 against the trade deficit of $164 million during the year 2018-19. The exports to Italy were recorded at $731 million and imports from the country stood at $521 million, Pakistan Ambassador to Italy, Jauhar Saleem said while addressing media persons from Rome, Italy through a web link. He informed that Pakistan’s major exports to Italy are textile, leather, rice, ethanol while Pakistan is market leader in rice and it holds 38 percent share in Italian rice market.
This year, the envoy said despite CoVID-19 and lockdown, Pakistan has got a trade surplus of $210 million, he said. While he was of the view that Thailand holds 12% share with $19 million export. India at number three holds 10% with 17 million. The Ambassador also shared the strategy to promote Pakistani products in Italian market. While talking about Italian investment in Pakistan in June 2020, the Ambassador mentioned that it increased 45% against the corresponding period.
In value terms, it was $51.9 million last year and it has been increased to $56.4 million in FY 2019-20. He said that Italian Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) came mainly in energy, pharma, chemicals and Information Technology (IT). Saleem said major investment came in the energy sector and Italy has plans to invest in the renewable energy sector of Pakistan. The Embassy of Pakistan, Rome is facilitating these new investment projects.
The Ambassador informed that Italy has 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.
Pakistani workers contributed $142.9 million in home remittances in FY 2019-20.($111 million in 2018-19). The Ambassador stated that the Embassy took a number of initiatives so that the Pakistani labor force stays in Italy even during the lockdown instead of returning back to Pakistan. He said that this strategy has delivered and with the improving market conditions, Pakistanis are back to work and workers’ remittances have registered 77% growth in June 2020. The Ambassador said that Pakistan registers growth in Italian market despite the CoVID19 and lockdown Rome, Italy, 23 July 2020: “Despite the CoVID19 propelled lockdown and supply chain disruptions, Pakistan has fared quite well by registering visible growth in Italian market in FY 2019-20,”he said.
He said that Italy is the 8th largest economy of the world with $ 2 trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The Italy has the 3 rd largest economy in the European Union (EU) after Germany and France and the Pakistan`s 9th top export destination, he added. He said that Italy has the largest Pakistani diaspora in the EU. Italy is facing hard times due to the economic effects of the pandemic, Saleem said. He said that the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) projected 9- 11% contraction in Italian economy whereas Italian Central Bank projected a 9-13% decline in Italian GDP, this year.
While answering to a question, the Ambassador informed that Italian government has decided to temporarily regularize undocumented migrants working in the agricultural sector or as domestic helpers, to fill key jobs and allow workers health coverage. He informed that Pakistani undocumented workers are among the main beneficiaries of this scheme. The Embassy is facilitating Pakistanis in completion of their required documentation so they can benefit from this scheme, he said. He added that the Embassy has stayed functional even during the lockdown days. The Ambassador stated that Pakistan is enhancing areas of cooperation with Italy.
Currently Italy is providing technical assistance in textiles, leather and marble sectors. Pakistan is working to expand it to dairy and livestock, olives and olive products, plastics, processed food and construction sector. The Pak-Italy Joint Economic Commission that is the forum for bilateral economic engagement is expected to meet in Rome in the last quarter of this year.