ISLAMABAD -  Italy Ambassador to Pakistan Stefano Pontecorvo and State Finance Minister Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan on Friday discussed Pak-Italy Joint Economic Commission (JEC) session to be held at Rome on the 29th and 30th of this month.

The minister said that he looked forward to participating in the session of the JEC with a view to further enhancing the economic cooperation and all around partnership between the two countries in different areas. The ambassador and the minister discussed the schedule of the JEC and his other related engagements.

Later, the minister had a separate meeting with all the officials concerned regarding the preparations of the Pakistani delegation for the event.

He said the event will be used to further expand the business and investment linkages between the countries.

Sources informed The Nation that Pakistan can ask Italy in the upcoming JEC to influence the European Union (EU) for signing of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Pakistan. They further said that Italy being a member of the EU can't sign a separate agreement with any country. Pakistan would offer Italy to invest in oil and gas, agriculture industry and auto sector, the officials added.  Last Pak-Italy Joint Economic Commission (JEC) session was held in December 2016 after the passage of a decade.

In the inaugural session of the JEC in March 22-23, 2006 in Rome, both sides had agreed to form four working groups, including energy and infrastructure development, trade and joint venture, agriculture and agro industries, and information technology collaboration.

Pak-Italy JEC in last meeting had agreed to enhance bilateral trade to $1.5 billion from $1 billion. The Italian government had explored the business and trade opportunities and long-term relationship in various sector of economy, including infrastructure, energy, ports, agriculture, textile, fashion design, railways and technical fields.

Italy had also appreciated China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and termed it the biggest global development project.