ISLAMABAD

Pakistan and Italy on Tuesday agreed to provide institutional foundation for strengthening trade and professional linkages between the two countries through Joint Business Council and interaction between Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry with Italian counterparts.

The agreement came during a meeting of Italian Vice Foreign Minister Benedetto DettaVedova, with Federal Minister for Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan. The two sides discussed avenues to establish institutional mechanism to enhance mutual trade and investment.

Pakistan School of Fashion Design (PSFD) an institute under the Ministry of Commerce will sign MoU with a fashion school Polimoda of Italy on footwear designing and accessories. The Pakistani side also proposed affiliation of PSFD with Polimoda of Italy. The two organisations will work together to transfer knowledge and student and faculty exchange programmes.

It was informed in the meeting that Italy is Pakistan's third largest export destination within the Europen Union after UK and Germany and the bilateral trade volume between the two countries stood at $1.22 billion in 2013-14. Pakistan's main items of export are cotton fabrics, woven made-up articles of textile materials, articles of apparel, chemicals, leather products and cotton yarn. Major items of import from Italy include machinery and its parts, cereals and cereals preparations, medical and pharmaceutical products and wheat.

Italy's Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation also visited Board of Investment and met with MOS/Chairman, Board of Investment Dr Miftah Ismail wherein the Secretary, BOI Iftikhar Baber were also present.

Benedetto Della Vedova on Tuesday showed keen interest in different areas of investment in Pakistan specifically in LPG, energy, hydropower, mining, agriculture machinery, food processing, automotive, telecommunication, oil & gas and marble sectors. He said they are also willing for transfer of technology and knew how specifically for joint venture investment in Pakistan. The delegation also offers to boost export & import between the two countries and specifically to avail GSP+ status for export from Pakistan.

Dr Miftah Ismail assured them full cooperation and appreciated their proposals. He further said that BOI is mandated for promotion and provide facilitation to foreign investors.

Meanwhile, a delegation of Italian businessmen accompanied by Fabrizio Cosimi, Commercial Attache, Embassy of Italy and Imran Khan, Deputy Director, Board of Investment visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry and showed interest to enhance investment and joint ventures in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Water and Power and Defence, Khawaja Muhammad Asif has urged cooperation between Pakistan and Italy in the fields of alternative energy sources, smart metering and other consumers-end solutions for bringing in improvement in the efficiency of the distribution system.

The minister was talking to Italian Vice Foreign Minister Benedetto Detta Vedova, here on Tuesday. He said that introduction of modern consumers end technologies will also be cost effective bringing relief for the consumers.

The minister, while talking about Pakistan’s entry into the aeronautic market with debut of JF-17 Thunder, said that Pakistan’s defence production is matching international quality. He elaborated that there exist cooperation in the fields of defence and defence production between the two countries. He urged the need of further strengthening the cooperation.

The minister said that Pakistan’s energy sector is also keen to explore the expertise of the Italian companies in the field of security solutions for energy installations including water reservoirs.

The minister also invited Italian companies for investing in the development of small water reservoirs in all provinces of Pakistan as a lot of water goes into wastage every year due to non-existence of these reservoirs.

The Italian Vice Foreign Minister expressed satisfaction over the existing cooperation between the two countries. He said that the frequency of high level visits between the two countries has witnessed rise in the recent years which is indicative of further deeming of the ties between the two countries.

The visiting dignitary said that Italian companies are closely following investor friendly policies in Pakistan and are showing keen interest in various fields.