Rome, April 5 (AGI-PPI): Pakistan intends to double trade with Italy to two billion dollars in the next two or three years, Miftah Ismail, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chairman of the Board of Investment, told AGI on Tuesday. Dr Ismail is visiting Rome to meet politicians and entrepreneurs but chiefly “to activate all the relations that provide impetus to bilateral relations between our two countries”, he said, adding that Italy is a “privileged partner” for Pakistan and moreover a “complementary partner” on the path to mutual development.
Ismail participated in the Forum on trade and investment opportunities in Pakistan, which was opened by foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni. “It’s the first time that we hold a Forum in Italy that presents Pakistan’s economic history to the Italian community. It’s a first step and we anticipate that Italian investors and ministers will come to Pakistan,” he stated. Italy is one of Pakistan’s top ten trade partners and its third in the EU after Germany and the UK. “Italy’s exports to Pakistan amount to around 500 million dollars, and Pakistan’s to 600 million for a total of a billion dollars in trade, which we hope to double over the next two years,” Ismail affirmed.
Italy, he noted, has always supported Pakistan, especially in the EU, helping the Asian country attain the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) in 2013, so that Pakistan pays no duties on its exports to the EU. “I’d like to see more imports from Pakistan but also from Italy towards our country. Increasing trade means increasing investments, not only in traditional sectors like Oil and Gas but also others like the automotive and fashion industries,” Ismail stated. “Italy’s and Pakistan’s economic powers are complementary: innovation, technology, and design on the Italian front, and a vast market, great ability, and enormous resources from ours.”
Ismail also discussed the topic of spurring trade with Italy at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, which held an event organised by the ministry’s Directorate General for Cultural and Economic Promotion and Innovation alongside the Italian Trade Agency, UNIDO, Confindustria, and the Pakistani embassy. Italy and Pakistan enjoy “excellent relations” but they “are not sufficiently represented by the volume of trade”, Ismail underlined; thus the aim to “give new impetus” to their relations to “reflect Italian innovation and Pakistan’s progress” and further improve their ties. Furthermore, he noted, Pakistan today is “a safer country”. “The government is carrying out a massive operation on the border and is on the front line against terrorism. Perhaps we have not yet defeated it but we have vastly contained it.” (AGI).