Italian keens to investment in Pakistan: Envoy


LAHORE: Italian Ambassador to Pakistan Stefano Pontecorvo has said that lots of renowned Italian companies were presently exploring Pakistan as an investment option, as the country has ample supply of cheap labour, having potential to be a regional hub for exports.

He was addressing the members of All Pakistan Business Forum on Friday at a local hotel along with Italian Association of Foreign Trade (AICE) Secretary General David Doninotti and several representatives of Italian companies. The meeting was arranged by the APBF, aimed at promoting trade relations between Italy and Pakistan by conducting by business-to-business (B2B) meetings and matchmaking in various sectors.

Pontecorvo observed that several Italian companies, including Fiat, are viewing Pakistan as the next possible investment destination. Italy’s Fiat made a brief foray in the 1990s, but failed to gain a foothold before the financial crisis forced it to exit.

He informed the APBF members that delegation of Italian businessmen had visited all major industrial cities of Pakistan to establish contacts with the business community. “Italian businessmen closely follow the Pakistani market and appreciated the skills and talents available in the country.”

He said that the Embassy of Italy in Pakistan has already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with APBF to promote trade links. He appreciated the APBF for promotion of Pak-Italy mutual trade links, facilitation of closer understanding between the business communities of the two countries and facilitation of B2B meetings and visits of business delegates.

The envoy said that Italy was holding Pakistan Trade and Investment Forum in Rome in April 2016 to promote bilateral trade.

APBF President Ibrahim Qureshi would lead a 16-member business delegation where he would meet the Italian Economic Development minister, officials from government agencies, Italian leading companies, and Italian foreign trade agencies.

Qureshi said that focus of the seminar would be on energy, infrastructure, automobiles, agro food, pharmaceuticals, marble, stones and textiles etc. He said that the current trade between the two countries is around $300 million while foreign direct investment from Italy is around $200 million, which needs to be enhanced, he added.

The APBF president appreciated Pontecorvo’s plans for improving economic and business ties between the two countries. He assured the envoy that APBF would continue to provide full facilitation to Italian businessmen interested in investing in Pakistan.

“We want to diversify our exports and want to find new partners for doing business. I believe that Pakistan really has a lot of potential to promote itself and Italy is one country which provides excellent business opportunities,” Qureshi added.

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