ITA Commissioner urges business communities to go extra mile

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KARACHI:  Trade Commissioner of Italian Trade Agency (ITA) Gianpaolo Bruno has said that Pakistan’s population of more than 200 million clearly indicates huge potential that needs to be exploited therefore, the business communities of Pakistan and Italy should go an ‘extra mile’ to create the right opportunities for enhancing the existing trade figures.

While exchanging views at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI), ITA Commissioner stressed, “We need to do more to improve the existing bilateral trade relations between Pakistan and Italy.”

President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, Deputy Commissioner ITA A. R. Daudpota, Managing Committee Members and others attended the meeting.

Identifying several areas of trade and investment cooperation, Gianpaolo Bruno pointed out that immense opportunities for enhancing cooperation between Pakistan and Italy exist in different sectors including capital goods, consumer goods, machineries, medical & pharmaceutical sectors and Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs) etc. “There are many ways where both business communities could partner and generate values for our people”, he added.

While referring to the food value chain, he stressed that Pakistan needs to upgrade its food value chain and improve the quality of Pakistani food in order to enhance its exports to the European market where stringent regulations in terms of quality were being followed.

Commenting on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Bruno said that Pakistan needs to uplift the quality of economic development if it wishes to achieve the target of Vision 2030 for the energy sector. Italy can cooperate in both conventional and renewable energy projects which would result in strengthening the energy generation capacity of Pakistan from not just oil and gas resources but also from non-conventional sources like solar, wind and hydro power as Italy has strong knowledge, expertise and skills in all these sectors.

He mentioned that Pakistan relies on Indus basin water system that sometimes was not enough for the country’s prominent agricultural sector hence it requires investment and mechanization. “We can also provide Italian companies who can collaborate for mechanization of the agricultural sector that is very vital to enrich this sector and add value to the agricultural products to be exported to Italy and other European countries.”

Italy has been importing textile, apparel, leather goods and surgical tools from Pakistan but the country needs Italian machinery to upgrade and uplift the quality of its finished goods as Italy badly requires high quality products, he suggested, adding that his country also needs good chemical products and also specialized textile products for sports which can be imported from Pakistan.

ITA Commissioner further informed that they are setting up three technological centers equipped with Italian machinery of which one project was being set up in Lahore where Italian leather machinery was being installed in collaboration with local shoe manufacturing association. Moreover, another technological center was being established in Faisalabad which will be equipped with Italian textile machinery in collaboration with National Textile University while the third technological park was being developed for stone machinery in collaboration Pakistan Stone Development Company (PASDEC). “We are transferring machinery from Italy to Pakistan in order to train the local people on how to operate the sophisticated Italian machinery which, at first, is also good for your economy and secondly, we are also pronating  Italian machinery through this initiative”, he added.

He said that the Italian Trade Agency in Karachi was being administered by Deputy Trade Commissioner ITA A.R. Daudpota which was providing services to Italian companies and facilitating them on how to enter the Pakistani market.

The Italian Trade Commissioner further expressed the intent of having a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Karachi Chamber and Italian Trade Agency with a view to create a strong liaison and improve connectivity between the two institutions, which was agreed by President KCCI Junaid Makda who shared copy of a draft MoU with the Trade Commissioner.

Speaking on the occasion, President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda stated that Pakistan and Italy share healthy and dynamic bilateral relations. Italy has great economic potential and increasing bilateral trade and cooperation with Pakistan in diversified areas of economic activity will help both the countries.

He noted that Italian investments in Pakistan have also been growing and a great example was the oil exploration giant ENI who is very active in Pakistan while it was heartening to see that the two countries recently signed an inter-governmental agreement on cooperation in the field of LNG and a MoU on cooperation between the trade development authorities of the two countries in the field of marble mining, leather and denim clothing.

Appreciating the support extended by Italy from time to time, he mentioned that Italy provided Pakistan $100 million under the Pakistan Italian Debt for Development Swap Agreement to social development projects in health, education and sanitation in Pakistan while they also agreed to provide a credit line equivalent to $10 billion for Italian investors willing to invest in Pakistan which the business community of Karachi Chamber warmly welcomes as such initiatives would bring the business communities of both countries more close to each other.

He was of the opinion that Pakistan can benefit from Italian supremacy in the leather industry to boost its own value added production in the sector. Italy could explore huge investment opportunities in Pakistan’s marble and mineral sectors while the time is also ideal to invest in the automobile sector. “We want to promote and fully facilitate Italian investment in Pakistan and do everything for the development of Pakistan–Italian business cooperation”, he added.

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