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Italy favours FTA with Pakistan

Updated December 06, 2016


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Italy have identified areas of cooperation to have greater economic and commercial exchanges for mutual benefit.

At the conclusion of a meeting of the Pakistan-Italy Joint Economic Commission on Monday, Italy’s Deputy Minister for Economic Development Ivan Scalfarotto told newsmen his country is in favour of free trade with Pakistan under the umbrella of the European Union (EU).

He said Italy wants to increase bilateral trade with Pakistan, adding that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will enhance global connectivity. Italian companies involved in communications and construction have ample opportunities to take part in the CPEC, he said.

Parliamentary Secretary for Finance and Economic Affairs Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan stated that Italian companies can make investments in energy, agriculture, textile, marble and infrastructure projects.

The volume of bilateral trade, which is currently $1.4 billion, will be enhanced to $1.8bn next year, he said, adding that Italy supported Pakistan in getting the GSP-Plus status.

The joint commission meeting took place after 10 years. The last session was held in Rome in March 2006.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan-Italy Business and Investment Forum will take place on Tuesday (today) to explore ways to enhance trade and economic relations between the two countries. Mr Scalfarotto will lead a delegation of businessmen for a meeting with the Pakistani business community.

Italy is a major trading partner of Pakistan. It is Pakistan’s largest export destination within the EU after the United Kingdom and Germany.

Pakistani exports to Italy consist of textiles, clothing and leather apparel. Around 90 per cent of Pakistan’s exports to Italy are textile- and leather-related products and almost half of Italy’s exports to Pakistan fall in the category of machinery and equipment.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2016