Pakistan’s ambassador to Italy, Jauhar Saleem, said that the two countries’ bilateral relations are taking on new dimensions to improve cooperation and commercial activities in various sectors.
“Negotiation between both sides on strengthening cooperation in the categories of commerce, labour market, tourism, agriculture, energy, investment, innovation and skills, and media sectors is in the final stages,” he said during a 2nd series digital ‘Zoom Link’ webinar hosted by the Pakistani embassy in Rome.
According to Saleem, Italy and Pakistan have reached an agreement in principle to establish a labour pact that will allow Pakistan full access to the Italian labour market. He said that he had included Pakistan in the Italian Seasonal Work Visa for 2022, which will provide a huge chance for our agricultural and service sector workers to come to Italy and work legally.
According to Saleem, Italian companies are investing in energy, food processing, leather, textiles, construction, and furniture. The mission is pushing a joint venture model for Italian investment in Pakistan, which will aid in transferring technology and skills to our companies.
He predicted that if travel restrictions are eased, the number of Italian investor delegations to Pakistan will increase. He also emphasized the efforts made to boost tourism, particularly the capacity building of Pakistan’s tourism sector stakeholders by Italian specialists. On the multilateral front, Saleem said that Pakistan had been elected as the president of IDLO for a two-year term, which would aid in promoting Pakistan’s leadership role in many forums and utilizing IDLO’s technical support.
Meanwhile, he stated that Pakistan has a $300 million trade surplus with Italy in the fiscal year 2020-21, 49% greater than the previous fiscal year 2019-20. According to the envoy, Pakistan’s exports to Italy hit an all-time high of $786 million in FY 2020-21. Export expansion and import contraction, according to the ambassador, have resulted in a trade surplus.
He went on to say that the value-added sectors were the key drivers of this expansion. Furthermore, imports from non-EU nations fell by 14% in Italy. In the Covid-19-affected Italian market, Pakistan has a record trade surplus and export growth, he said. According to the ambassador, Italy was one of the first countries in Europe to be seriously affected by the pandemic.
According to him, Italy’s GDP could fall as low as 9.6% in 2020, the steepest drop since World War II. Despite these challenging circumstances, Pakistan has not only recovered from pandemic-related export issues but has also achieved an impressive 9.1% growth rate in FY 2020-21.
In response to a question, the ambassador noted that, despite India’s bogus claim to exclusive Geographical Indication (GI) rights in the EU and Italian markets, Pakistan remained the market leader in rice with a 37.4% share. In comparison, India supplied only 12% of total imported rice in Italy.
According to him, Italy has the largest Pakistani diaspora in the EU. Workers’ remittances from Italy hit $601 million in FY 2020-21, a record, he noted.
He claims that it is 66% greater than the $369 million yearly forecasts for FY 2019-20. Italy is the world’s seventh-largest recipient of remittances from Pakistani workers and the first from the European Union. He predicted that this upward trend would continue in FY 2021-22.
For more latest news and updates stay connected with Estate Land & Marketing.