Commerce minister addresses conference on Pakistan’s Trade and investment Potential in Rome

Islamabad, October 30, 2013 (PPI-OT): Minister of State for Commerce and Textile Industry, Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan addressed a conference on the theme, “Strengthening Pakistan-Italy Partnership” at the Italian Chamber of Deputies (Lower House of the Italian Parliament) at Rome.

Other prominent speakers at the conference included Mr Rocco Buttliglione, senior member of the Italian Parliament, Ambassador Tehmina Janjua, Mr Adriano Chiodi Cianfarani, Italian Ambassador to Pakistan, Ms Luisa Santolini, a former member of the Italian Parliament, Mr. Vincenzo Prati, the former Italian Ambassador to Pakistan and Mr. Farid Ahmad Tarar, Commercial Counsellor.

The objective of the Conference, held jointly by the Embassy of Pakistan in Rome and the newly-formed Pakistan Italy Friendship Association, was to highlight Pakistan’s trade and investment potential. The Association has been launched under the umbrella of ISIAMED – ISTITUTO ITALIANO PER L’ASIA ED IL MEDITERRANEOISIAMED, an organization which promotes economic cooperation between Italy and Asian and Mediterranean counties.

In his remarks on the occasion, the Minister said that Pakistan was an ideal location for foreign investors due to its geostrategic location, a thriving middle class, a huge pool of youthful and skilled labour and a highly liberal investment regime that the recently elected democratic government had put in place. He added that there existed a vast potential for expanding trade ties between Italy and Pakistan as their economies complemented each other.

He also made a strong case for Pakistan’s inclusion in the European Union’s GSP+ Scheme which would allow greater market access to Pakistani exports at preferential terms. He said that the local Italian and European Industries should have no cause of concern at the prospect of increased textile exports from Pakistan as such fears were ill-founded and not supported by statistical evidence. To the contrary, greater business for Pakistan’s textile industry would translate into increased demand for the Italian textile machineries, dyes and chemicals, he added.

The audience at the conference included parliamentarians, representatives of Italian companies and chambers of commerce and members of the diplomatic community.

Earlier in the day, the Minister held meetings with his counterparts at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where he sought Italy’s support to Pakistan’s bid for inclusion in the GSP+ Scheme and discussed ways for further strengthening of economic ties.

The Minister held a luncheon meeting with leading businessmen and CEOs of major Italian companies. He also held a dedicated meeting with the Chairman, Cofindustria – Italian National Association of Employees. In the said meeting, the Minister of State sought support from the business community by highlighting that the textile industry of both the countries complements each other as it caters for different segments of the market.

While the Italian market caters for high end fashion products, Pakistani textiles are mostly concentrated in the low end home textiles. He also emphasized that granting GSP+ status to Pakistan would increase import of textile machinery and different chemicals and dyes from Italy.

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