March 22, 2016

PAKISTAN: Italian Firms Explore Pakistan for B2B Investment

The Express Tribune
written by Staff
Sunday March 19, 2016

LAHORE: Italian Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo has said that a large number of prominent Italian companies are presently exploring Pakistan as an investment destination because it has ample supply of cheap labour and has potential to be a regional hub for exports.

“Pakistan provides significant trade links including to China and the Central Asian region,” said Pontecorvo while talking to members of the All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) on Friday.

Italian Association of Foreign Trade Secretary General David Doninotti and several representatives of Italian companies also accompanied the ambassador. The meeting was aimed at boosting trade relations between Italy and Pakistan through business-to-business (B2B) engagements and match-making in varying sectors.

Pontecorvo noted that several Italian companies, including automaker Fiat, were viewing Pakistan as the next possible investment destination. Though Fiat had made a brief foray in the 1990s, it failed to gain a foothold before the financial crisis forced the company to exit the country.

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

He pointed out that the Italian embassy had signed a memorandum of understanding with the business forum for promoting trade links. He appreciated the forum for encouraging the trade links, facilitating closer understanding between business communities of the two countries, B2B meetings and visits of business delegates.

Italy is holding the Pakistan Trade and Investment Forum in Rome in April this year to promote bilateral trade. APBF President Ibrahim Qureshi will take a 16-member business delegation and meet the Italian minister for economic development, officials of government agencies, leading companies and foreign trade agencies.

Qureshi said the focus of the seminar would be on energy, infrastructure, automobiles, agro food, pharmaceuticals, marble, stones and textiles. Current trade between the two countries is around $300 million while foreign direct investment from Italy stands at around $200 million, which should be enhanced.

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

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