July 29, 2021| Rome Embassy Post|
While talking to media, Pakistan`s Ambassador to Italy, Jauhar Saleem shared that Pakistan has posted a trade surplus of $ 300 million during the financial year 2020-21, which is 49% higher than the previous year.
Italy, the first country in Europe to be severely hit by the pandemic, suffered a record GDP fall of 9.6% in 2020, the biggest since the World War-II. Consequently Italian imports from non-EU countries declined 14%. Despite these difficult conditions, Pakistan has not only recovered from the pandemic led export challenges, but has registered an impressive growth of 9.1% in FY 2020-21. The Ambassador informed that Pakistan’s exports to Italy reached an all time high of $ 786 million during the year. The value added sectors were the main drivers of this growth which produced a trade surplus of $ 300 million.
While responding to a question, the Ambassador stated that despite the false and fabricated Indian claim over Basmati`s exclusive Geographical Indication (GI) rights in the EU and Italian market, Pakistan maintained its position as market leader in rice export to Italy with 37.4% share, whereas India supplied only 12% of the total imported rice in Italy.
He also shared that following the Brexit, Italy is now home to the largest Pakistani diaspora in the European Union (EU). In FY 2020-21, workers remittances from Italy reached $601 million, which marks a 66% increase over the last year, and is an all time high figure, making Italy Pakistan`s biggest source of remittances in the EU and the 7th largest in the world. He expected the growth streak continue in the FY 2021-22.
In the area of industrial and technological cooperation, Ambassador Saleem mentioned the various ongoing initiatives for technical training and informed that Italian firms were keen to invest in the fields of energy, food processing, leather, textile, construction and furnishing. He added that the embassy was promoting JV mode for increased Italian investment in Pakistan that will help in technology and skills transfer to our businesses. Once the travel restrictions were eased there will be multiple visits by Italian investors to Pakistan. He also highlighted the initiatives in tourism; especially in terms of capacity building of Pakistan`s tourism sector through providing experts.
Ambassador Saleem also shared that Pakistan and Italy had agreed in principle to negotiate a labour agreement that will give Pakistan a comprehensive market access to Italian labour market. He informed that Pakistan has been included in the Italian Seasonal Work Visa for 2022 also, which would offer many opportunities for our workers in agriculture and services sector to work in Italy. He also elaborated upon various initiatives for promoting welfare of Pakistani diaspora in Italy.
In the area of multilateral diplomacy, Ambassador Saleem informed that besides being elected as President of IDLO. Pakistan is in the FAO Council and IFAD Executive Board.
29 July 2021
Last modified: July 30, 2021
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