FAISALABAD  -  Serious efforts are being made to enhance Pak-Italy bilateral trade from $1.7 billion to its full potential of $4 billion, said Andreas Ferrarese, Italian ambassador in Pakistan.

He was addressing a meeting along with his spouse in Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI) here on Monday. He said that he was appointed about nine months ago when coronavirus was at its peak. Hence he has to wait for some time to fully understand the intricacies of the bilateral trade between the two countries. 

He told that his predecessor, Stefano Pontecorvo, was a seasoned economist and he tried his best to enhance the overall volume of bilateral trade. The corona wasted our efforts and then he had to start afresh to give a quantum jump to the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Italy.  

He said he was fully aware of the economic importance of Faisalabad and hence he was visiting the city during his first leg of tour. He said that possibly he would spend 3 to 3.5 years in Pakistan and during that period he would try to bridge the gap between business communities of the two countries.   He underlined the importance of cultural linkages to promote trade and said that he would encourage exchange of students to further strengthen bilateral relations.  

Appreciating the quality of Pakistani textile products, he said that Italy-Pakistan Textile Technology Center (IPTTC) has been established in National Textile University Faisalabad (NTUF) to give a new dimension to the Pakistani textile products so that these could compete in the international markets. He said that Italy could also provide new and state-of-the-art machinery to Pakistani industrialists which will also help them in technology transfer.  

He also promised to encourage joint ventures and said that global economic environment was expected to improve next year and both countries would be in a position to perform much better. He said that Italy had already learnt to ensure business relations through zoom and virtual meetings. Pakistan has 42 to 57 per cent internet users and they must exploit their ability to enhance their bilateral relations, he added.   Earlier, Chaudhry Tallat Mehmood, senior vice president (SVP) FCCI, welcomed the Italian ambassador and his wife and said that Pakistani exports were $907.38 million while imports stood at $810.40 million in 2019. He said that corona badly hit the import and export. However, now situation is gradually improving and we are expecting a positive trend in our bilateral trade.  

Madam Tehmina Pasha, President Faisalabad Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FWCCI), also welcomed the Italian ambassador.  

Later, Andreas Ferrarese, along with his wife and SVP Tallat Mehmood cut a cake to mark the birthday of Chaudhry Rehmat Ali, the proposer of the word Pakistan, while Ch Tallat Mehmood presented a memento of FCCI and gifts to Italian ambassador.