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Pakistan, Italy to enhance bilateral trade to US $ 1.5 billion

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Italy here on Monday agreed to enhance their bilateral trade from US$ 1 billion to US $ 1.5 billion from this year.

This was decided after the 2nd Session of Pakistan-Italy Joint Economic Commission held here on Monday.

The Italian delegation was led by Ivan Scalfarotto, Deputy Minister for Economic Development Italian Republic, whereas Pakistan’s side was led by Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, Parliamentary Secretary for Finance, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization.

The inaugural session of JEC was held in Rome-Italy March 22-23, 2006.

Both Sides agreed to form four working groups including Energy and Infrastructure development, Trade and Joint Venture, Agriculture and Agro Industries and Information Technology Collaboration.

After passage of a decade, the Second session of JEC has been held here on December 6, 2016.

Along with the Italian Co-chair, 25 official delegates from different departments of Italy also participated in the JEC.

From Pakistan’s side Secretary Economic Affairs Division and senior representative from Finance, M/o Foreign Affairs, Commerce, Water and Power, National Food Security & Development Climate change, Communication, Federal  Board of Revenue, Board of Investment and Provincial Departments of Agriculture also participated in the event.

In the JEC, both governments discussed the current status of economic situation, an overview of reforms, priorities, bilateral institutional and trade relations.

Both Side identified areas of cooperation and agreed on the need to have greater economic and commercial exchanges for mutual benefit of the two countries.

Later addressing a press conference Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan welcomed the Italian delegation and said that Pakistan valued its relations with Italy and wanted to further enhance their ties specially in trade sector.

He said that the Italian delegation has come here to explore business and investment opportunities and taking keen interest in investment in various sectors of economy including trade, technology, infrastructure , food and agriculture sectors.

“We had fruitful meeting and discussions with Italian business delegation and they have expressed their desire to explore investment opportunities in Pakistan”, he remarked.

Rana Afzal said that total volume of trade between Pakistan and Italy stood at US $ 1.1 billion and was in favour of Pakistan but “we have decided to enhance our bilateral trade to US $ 1.5 billion from this year”.

Speaking on the occasion the Italian Deputy Minister for Economic Development Ivan Scalfarotto said that they were visiting Pakistan to explore the business and trade opportunities and do log term relationship in various sector of economy including infrastructure, energy , ports, agriculture, textile, fashion design, railways and technical fields.

He also appreciated China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and termed it the biggest global development project.

He added the CPEC would also help connectivity in the region and beyond benefiting a large number of people.

Replying to a question , he said that Italy being the part of European Union said that Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are done under the ambit of EU. AFP