Italy interested in investing in CPEC projects in Pakistan: Envoy

ISLAMABAD, Jan. 22 (Gwadar Pro) – Ambassador of Italy to Pakistan Andreas Ferrarese said Thursday afternoon that his country was interested in investing in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects and multiply business ties with Pakistan.

In a meeting with Federation Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and industry (FPCCI) Haji Qurban Ali at the Capital Office along with other businesspersons, Andreas Ferrarese said that Italy wanted to start a new era of economic and trade cooperation with Pakistan through transfer of technology and for upgradation of Pakistan’s textile industry, said a statement issued by the FPCCI after the meeting.

The envoy’s comments came after Haji Qurban Ali said that CPEC related Gilgit Baltistan (GB) Special economic Zone (SEZ) and others would increase the business and industrial cooperation between the business sector of Italy and Pakistan.

He said that Italian investors and businessmen can invest and start Joint Ventures with local industrialists in Gilgit Baltistan, SEZ in addition to agriculture, livestock, mines and minerals and milk products.

Ali said that the GB region is a gateway for CPEC to provide opportunities to the Italian business people to connect with China as well as regional countries including Central Asian Republics (CARs) to get benefits from their economies.

The senior businessperson said that in Gilgit Baltistan, there was huge potential for hydro power, which also supports any foreign investor for available cheap energy to the industrial sector and provides secure business opportunity.

Qurban Ali also said that the GB region had a huge potential for tourism and livestock as the region owns the 8 biggest mountains in the world, including many raw materials for the industrial sector and agro-industries.

In response, Ambassador Andreas Ferrarese said his country would love to invest in the CPEC projects and SEZs in Pakistan. He said green economy, transfer of technology for industrial sector including textiles and agro-industry, construction sector, education and health were major areas of focus to extend bilateral cooperation.

The Ambassador said through the green economy, Italy wanted to cooperate with Pakistan for environmental protection, circular economy, resource saving and management, ecosystem protection and recovery, water conservation and natural disaster prevention.

The Italian envoy said the new economic mission would be deployed in Pakistan to further promote bilateral trade and economic cooperation in different potential areas.

“Initially the new economic mission would be established in major cities of Pakistan including Karachi and Islamabad and later it would be expanded to other potential trade hubs to increase the economic and trade integration between Pakistan and Italy,” he said.

The Ambassador said that currently Italy was providing technical assistance in Agriculture and textiles upgradation through modern machinery, value addition in agriculture, leather and marble sectors.

He said Pakistan was working to expand it to agricultural items including dairy and livestock, olives and olive products, plastics, processed food and construction sector in the Italian market. Andreas Ferrarese underlined the importance of promoting cultural connectivity to promote bilateral trade.

He informed that dairy and livestock, olive and olive products, plastics, processed food and the construction sector were the areas where Italy could extend its cooperation with Pakistan.

The Chairman FPCCI Haji Qurban Ali stressed the need to enhance the economic and trade linkages between the business community of Italy and Pakistan to increase the trade between both sides.

The local business community wants equilibrium and to achieve trade balance as currently, Pakistan has a trade surplus in bilateral trade with Italy as was observed in FY 2019-20, senior business leader said.

Quban Ali said Pakistan exports to Italy were USD731million during 2019-20 while Pakistan’s major exports to Italy included textile, leather, rice, ethanol, including textiles articles, sets, worn clothing, cotton, apparel, crocheted, cereals, raw hides and skins, leather, beverages, spirits and vinegar, plastics, footwear and gaiters.

He also proposed to the Ambassador to bring in investment in the potential areas of tourism, livestock, Mines minerals, Transport and Housing sector to enhance cooperation between the two countries.