ISLAMABAD: Italian Ambassador, Mr. Stefano Pontecorvo, called on Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Thursday. The Finance Minister welcomed the Ambassador on assuming his responsibilities in Pakistan and wished him well in his diplomatic tenure in the country.
Mr. Pontecorvo said that as Italian envoy his prime objective would be to promote economic ties and take the bilateral trade to a new high. He briefed the Minister about the visit to Pakistan next week by the Italian Trade Commissioner.
He said that Italy was reopening its Trade Commission in Karachi while reinforcing its Trade Office in the Embassy so as to better cover Lahore and Sialkot.
The Ambassador said that the Italian car manufacturer Fiat was looking at Pakistan as a possible investment destination since Pakistan not only provided lower labour cost but also could be a hub for exports to a wide region extending from China in the east to Lebanon in the west and including entire central Asia.
Mr. Pontecorvo further discussed the potential areas of investment for the Italian businessmen. “Transport, agricultural machinery, frozen food, furniture making, marble industry, textile, leather and energy sector would be our main areas of interest” said the Italian envoy.
He added that the Italian businessmen are closely following the Pakistani market and products and appreciate the skills and talents of the people.
He informed the Minister that a delegation of Italian businessmen would visit Pakistan early next year to establish contacts with the business community here.
The Finance Minister appreciated Mr. Pontecorvo’s plans for improving economic and business ties between the two countries. He assured the envoy that Pakistan would provide full opportunities and incentives to Italian businessmen interested in investing in Pakistan or doing business.
He further said that the bilateral trade between the two countries had stagnated for some years and now was the time to trade in new and niche products to improve the trade figures. This, the Minister said, could be a win-win for both countries.
“We want to diversify our exports and want to find new partners for doing business. I believe that Pakistan really has a lot of potential to promote itself and Italy is one country which provides excellent business opportunities.
” The Finance Minister also suggested that an “Investment Promotion Conference” could be planned to make information available to the potential Italian investors. Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs Division attended the meeting.