ISLAMABAD  - Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Italy, Dr Roberto Neccia said on Tuesday that the bilateral trade of €1.5 billion between Italy and Pakistan was much below the actual potential of both countries.

He urged both the countries to work for improving their two way trade to at least €5-6 billion per annum as they have the potential to achieve this target. He said this while addressing the business community during his visit to Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Dr Roberto Neccia said that a trade section was being opened in the Italian Embassy and hoped that it would give a jump to bilateral ties between the two countries. He said that the Iran-Italy Chamber of Commerce and Industry contributed positively for trade and floated the idea of a Pakistan-Italy Chamber of Commerce and Industry to strengthen networking and business linkages between the private sectors of both countries.

He said that Italy has 5 million family owned SMEs and close cooperation between the SMEs of two countries would be helpful in sharing experiences and promoting bilateral business relations. He lauded the contribution of the Pakistani community in Italy and said that they could act as a bridge for improving trade ties. He said that Italy would support Pakistan for renewal of the EU’s GSP plus concession. He said that Pakistan should send sector-specific trade missions to Italy to explore untapped areas of mutual cooperation and assured that his embassy would provide all possible facilitation to the Pakistani business community in promoting business relations with Italy. Speaking at the occasion, Muhammad Shakeel Munir, President ICCI, said that Pakistan considered Italy an important country for trade and economic relations as both countries had good potential to cooperate with each other in many areas. He said that Italy had advanced technology and machinery, therefore, close cooperation with Italy was beneficial for Pakistan to improve its economy.

He said that Pakistan had a lot of reserves of marble and granite and import of latest marble machinery from Italy can help us to produce value-added marble products and increase their exports. He said that Pakistan can import industrial & agricultural machinery from Italy while Italy can import many products from Pakistan including raw materials, textiles, surgical instruments, marble products, pharmaceuticals, leather products, sports goods and more.

He stressed that both countries should encourage regular exchange of trade delegations to explore all potential areas of bilateral trade promotion. Jamshaid Akhtar Sheikh, Senior Vice President, and Muhammad Faheem Khan, Vice President ICCI, said that ICCI is planning a trade delegation for Italy and hoped that it would help in exploring new areas of business collaborations with Italian counterparts.