Islamabad: According to news sources, despite the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic had devastated the Italian market, Pakistan’s exports to Italy increased by 49% year on year to $786 million in the previous fiscal year 2020-21 (FY21).
According to details, Pakistani Ambassador to Italy, Jauhar Saleem, said during a zoom link webinar hosted by the Pakistani embassy in Rome on Sunday that the country had a $300 million trade surplus with Italy in FY21, adding that the trade surplus was created by export expansion and import contraction.
Italy was one of the first European countries to be badly affected by the pandemic. In 2020, Italy’s GDP dropped by 9.6%, the steepest drop since World War II. Furthermore, imports from non-EU nations fell by 14% in Italy.
Despite these adversities, Saleem claims that Pakistan has not only recovered from pandemic-related export issues but has also experienced exceptional growth throughout the period under consideration.
In response to a query, the ambassador noted that, despite India’s bogus claim to exclusive Geographical Indication (GI) rights in the EU and Italian market, Pakistan remained the market leader in rice with 37.4 percent market share, while India provided only 12% of total imported rice in Italy.
He predicted that this upward trend will continue in FY22.
Furthermore, Saleem stated that the Pakistan-Italy bilateral relationship is exploring new dimensions in order to improve mutual cooperation and economic activities in various areas. Both sides are nearing an agreement on strengthening cooperation in the areas of commerce, labor market, tourism, agriculture, energy, investment, innovation and skills, and the media.
He went on to say that the mission is pushing a joint venture (JV) model for Italian investment in Pakistan, which will aid in the transfer of technology and skills to our industries. Once travel restrictions are eased, the number of Italian investor delegations to Pakistan will increase.
He also emphasized the steps taken to boost tourism, particularly the capacity-building of Pakistani tourism stakeholders by Italian specialists.
On the multilateral front, the ambassador announced that Pakistan has been elected as the president of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) for a two-year term, which will help promote Pakistan’s leadership role in various forums while also allowing Pakistan to benefit from IDLO’s technical assistance.