Ambassador of Pakistan to Italy, Jauhar Saleem (Associated Press of Pakistan)
Islamabad (UNA-OIC) – 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.
Pakistan’s 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 on Thursday.
The envoy 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. He added that despite COVID-19 and lockdown, Pakistan has got a trade surplus of $210 million.
Saleem also shared the strategy to promote Pakistani products in Italian market. Speaking about Italian investment in Pakistan in June 2020, he said that it increased 45 percent against the corresponding period.
The Pakistani diplomat said that Italian Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) came mainly in energy, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and information technology (IT). He stated that major investment came in the energy sector and Italy has plans to invest in the renewable energy sector of Pakistan, pointing out that the embassy in Rome is facilitating these new investment projects.
He informed that Italy has become the largest contributor from the European Union in home remittances to Pakistan, spelling out that in FY 2019-20, it registered 29 percent growth which is far higher than Pakistan’s national growth in remittances.
The ambassador explained that Pakistani workers contributed $142.9 million in home remittances in FY 2019-20, compared to $111 million in 2018-19. He 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.
Saleem affirmed that this strategy has been fruitful, and with improvement of the market conditions, Pakistanis are back to work, with their remittances having registered 77 percent growth in June 2020.
He said that Pakistan registers growth in Italian market despite the COVID19 lockdown measures. “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.”
The diplomat said that Italy is the world’s eighth biggest economy, with $2 trillion gross domestic product (GDP), and has the third largest economy in the EU after Germany and France. He added that Italy, which has the largest Pakistani diaspora in the EU, is the Pakistan’s ninth top export destination.
Saleem stated Italy is currently providing Pakistan with technical assistance in textile, leather and marble sectors, pointing out that Pakistan is working to expand this assistance to cover dairy, livestock and olive products as well as plastics, processed food and construction sector.
The Pak-Italy Joint Economic Commission – the forum for the two countries’ bilateral economic engagement – Is expected to convene in Rome in the last quarter of this year, he said.