ISLAMABAD-The Italian Ambassador to Pakistan, Andreas Ferrarese said here on Sunday that he perceived more trade potential between Pakistan and Italy in different sectors of the economy that would help evolve trade equilibrium between both the sides.
“Both the sides want equilibrium and to achieve trade balance as currently, Pakistan had a trade surplus in bilateral trade with Italy as was observed in FY 2019-20,” the ambassador said this in an interview with APP.
Replying to a question he said Pakistan exports to Italy were $731million during 2019-20 while Pakistan’s major exports to Italy included textile, leather, rice, ethanol, including textiles articles, sets, worn clothing, Cotton, apparel, crocheted, Cereals, raw hides and skins, leather, beverages, spirits and vinegar, Plastics, footwear and gaiters.
The ambassador said in FY 2019-20, Pakistan’s imports from Italy stood at $521 million included ships, boats, and other floating structures, machinery, pharmaceutical product, aircraft, spacecraft, electrical, electronic equipment, Organic chemicals, iron and steel, miscellaneous chemical products, optical, photo, technical and medical apparatus. He said currently, Italy was providing technical assistance in textiles, leather and marble sectors.
The Ambassador, Andreas Ferrarese said his government prioritized to enhance bilateral trade between Pakistan and Italy to its full potential of $5 billion annually in the next three years from current $ 1.7 billion. He said dairy and livestock, olives and olive products, plastics, processed food and construction sector were the areas where Italy could extend its cooperation with Pakistan.
The Pak-Italy Joint Economic Commission was the forum for bilateral economic engagement and was expected to meet in Rome in the last quarter of this year. While replaying about the expectation of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between Pakistan and Italy, he said Italy was in European Union (EU) countries adding, “We are fully supporting Pakistan in Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) status in every review.”
He informed that Pakistan has a share of 10 per cent of trade with Italy in the whole contribution with EU countries and future both sides would extend more cooperation in trade and economy. The ambassador informed that Italy has become the largest contributor from the EU in home remittances to Pakistan. He said in FY 2019-20, it registered 29 per cent growth which was far higher than our national growth in remittances. He said Pakistani workers contributed $142.9 million in home remittances in FY 2019-20 and $ 111 million in 2018-19.
He said Italy was the eighth largest economy of the world with US $ two trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Italy has the third-largest economy in the European Union (EU) after Germany and France and Pakistan`s 9th top export destination, he added. He said Italy has the largest Pakistani diaspora in the EU.
Ambassador Ferrarese said the construction for the new embassy was underway and his priority task was to supervise the new under-construction Italian embassy in the diplomatic area and speed up the process.
He said a new economic mission would also be established in Pakistan to enhance trade and economic connectivity with Pakistan. The ambassador said, “I want to open up a cultural centre, maybe in one part of the new embassy, and promote Italian cuisine, art, paintings, music so that the Pakistanis can know more about Italy.”
He said that he was appointed about nine months ago when coronavirus was at its peak. Replying to a question, he said his predecessor, Stefano Pontecorvo, was a seasoned economist and he tried his best to enhance the overall volume of bilateral trade.
He set a good example and standards for boosting the economic and trade relationship between both of the countries. He said COVID-19 wasted our efforts and then he had to start afresh to give a quantum jump to the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Italy.
Ambassador Ferrarese has many out of the box ideas in-store to promote bilateral, trade and cultural relations between Pakistan and Italy. He also stressed the need for the importance of cultural connectivity to promote trade and said that he would encourage the exchange of students to further strengthen bilateral relations.
Replying to a question about his family, he said that his father and mother were educationists; his father was a professor of history and his mother a professor of financial economy. He stated that his foreign services career was started at the age of 26 from the Department of Economic Affairs, Italy looking after the Asia region.