Pakistan-Italy trade surplus reach $300 million in FY 2020/21

Web DeskWeb Editor

30th Jul, 2021. 02:54 pm

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has posted a trade surplus of $300 million with Italy in the fiscal year 2020/21, which was 49 per cent higher than the previous year of 2019/20, a diplomat said.

Talking to newsmen through a ‘Zoom Link’, organised by the Embassy of Pakistan in Rome, Ambassador of Pakistan to Italy Jauhar Saleem said that Pakistan’s exports to Italy had reached an all-time high of $786 million in FY 2020/21.

The trade surplus has been created by export enhancement and import contraction, he said, adding that the value-added sectors were the main drivers of this growth.

Moreover, Italian imports from non-EU countries declined 14 per cent, he said, adding that Pakistan posts a record trade surplus and export growth in the Covid-19-hit Italian market.

The ambassador said Italy has been among the first few countries in Europe that were severely hit by the pandemic.

The Italian GDP fell as low as 9.6 per cent in 2020, which is the largest fall since World War-II, he said. However, despite these difficult conditions, Pakistan has not only recovered from the pandemic-led export challenges but also registered impressive growth of 9.1 per cent in FY 2020/21.

Responding to a question, the ambassador said despite the Indian false claim over Basmati’s exclusive Geographical Indication (GI) rights in the EU and Italian market, Pakistan maintained its position as the market leader in rice with 37.4 per cent share, whereas India supplied only 12 per cent of the total imported rice in Italy.

Italy hosted the largest Pakistani diaspora in the EU countries, he said, adding that in FY 2020/21, workers remittances from Italy reached $601 million, which was an all-time high figure.

It was 66 per cent higher, compared with the annual figure of FY 2019/20 that was $369 million, he said.

It has made Italy, Pakistan’s seventh largest destination for workers remittances globally and No 1 from the EU.

The ambassador expected this growth streak to continue in FY 2021/22.

Saleem said that Italy and Pakistan have agreed, in principle, to negotiate a labour agreement that would give Pakistan comprehensive market access to the Italian labour market.

Pakistan has been included in the Italian Seasonal Work Visa for 2022, which would offer immense opportunities for the Pakistani labour force working in agriculture and services sectors to come and work in Italy with legal entry mode.

The Italian firms were investing in energy, food processing, leather, textiles, construction and furnishing, he said, adding that the mission was promoting joint venture mode for the Italian investment in Pakistan that would help in technology and skill transfer to Pakistani businesses.

Ambassador Saleem also said that once the travel restrictions were eased, an increased number of Italian investor delegations would visit Pakistan.

He also highlighted the initiatives that have been taken to promote tourism, especially capacity-building of Pakistan’s tourism sector stakeholders through Italian experts.

On the multilateral front, Ambassador Saleem said that Pakistan has been elected the president of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) for two years, which would help promote Pakistan’s leading role on different fora along with taking advantage of the International Development Law Organization’s technical assistance for Pakistan.

 

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