KARACHI: Consul General of Italy Gianluca Rubagotti, while stressing the need to further increase cooperation between Italy and Pakistan, said that both countries must make collective efforts and should focus on enlarging the scope of partnership in trade.
“In this regard, the Italian Consulate in Karachi and the Italian Embassy in Islamabad with support from Italian Trade Commission (ITC) are trying to organize, for the very first time, a Road Show for Italy here in Pakistan to present the Italian economy and the possibilities of trading with Italy”, he added, while exchanging views at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).
President KCCI Younus Mohammad Bashir, Senior Vice President KCCI Zia Ahmed Khan, Vice President KCCI Mohammad Naeem Sharif, Chairman Diplomatic Mission & Embassies Liaison Sub-Committee KCCI and former SVP KCCI Mohammad Ibrahim Kasumbi and KCCI Managing Committee members attended the meeting. Italian Consul General Gianluca Rubagotti further said: “There is a lot of unawareness about Italy in Pakistan and there is a lot of unawareness about Pakistan in Italy so we have to try to bridge this distance and get to know each other more intensely.”
He informed that a two-member delegation from the Association of Companies in Milan, which represents hundreds of Italian companies from different sectors, will be visiting Karachi in mid-March which will be followed by similar visits to Islamabad and Lahore. “This visit of Italian businessmen will provide a great opportunity to the business community of Karachi to have firsthand interaction with Italian companies”, Italian CG said.
Highlighting the activities for the planned Road Show, he said that a session will be held to present Italy as a possible destination for Pakistani goods which will also focus on looking for possibilities of selling Italian products in Pakistan. “Secondly, we will also organize a series of meetings where the business community of Karachi can raise issues in dealing with Italian counterparts and ask for guidance and support, besides telling what they would like to do with Italy in this regard”, he added.
He was of the opinion that the Italian delegation on its return will do their homework pertaining to match matching which will be the first step towards bringing more Italian companies to Pakistan. “We will be happy to see if Karachi Chamber could also involve in this project and helps us identify a number of potentially interested companies with a view to explore further collaborations”, he added. Gianluca Rubagotti pointed out that that the bilateral possibilities, both in terms of trade and culture, have not been exploited so they have to be more active particularly in trade and investment fields and see whether the Italian companies can be encouraged to come to Pakistan which is, of course, our primary objective.
He opined that one of the major problems is the ‘misconception and misperception’ that Pakistan suffers. Although efforts were being made to bring Italian companies to Pakistan but the first objection being raised is the poor security situation which has improved dramatically during the past few years. “It has been observed that once people come here, experience the ground realities, move around and interact with Pakistani people, everybody wants to come back again and they are very happy about their Pakistan’s experience”, he added.
Earlier, while welcoming the Italian Consul General, President KCCI Younus Bashir underscored the need for exploring new bilateral trade prospects with Italy as Pakistan’s improved relations and enhanced trade with countries like Italy would pave way for resolving economic crisis and ensure prosperity for the country. Seeking Italian investment in Karachi, he said that Karachi, which is the economic hub of Pakistan, offers profitable investment opportunities and added facilities for investment and joint ventures to Italian Investors. “The city is an attractive place for foreign investors, who can surely earn maximum profits by setting up their businesses or undertaking joint ventures”, he added.
Commenting on Pakistan-Italian trade and economic relations, he said that both countries share healthy and dynamic bilateral relations based on the historical events and trade relations between Pakistan and Italy have been improving with the passage of time. “During Fiscal Year 2015, Pakistan exported goods worth $733 million whereas its imports were recorded at $347 million, indicating a trade volume of more than US$1 billion which can further be raised through collective efforts.
Younus Bashir said, “Pakistan and Italy have great economic potential and we warmly welcome Italy’s intentions to increase bilateral trade and cooperation with Pakistan in diversified areas of economic activity.” “KCCI wants to promote business, mutual understanding and friendly relations between the business communities of Pakistan and Italy. We also want to promote Italian investment in Pakistan and do everything for the development of Pakistan-Italian business cooperation”, he added.