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ISLAMABAD: Chief Executive Officer of Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) Mian Kashif Ashfaq on Monday said that Pakistan exports to Italy can exceed to $5 billion annually from existing level with the active participation of private sector by fully exploiting their potentials timely.

Talking to a delegation of exporters and importers led by honorary Investment Consular and Tourism Ambassador for Italy Muhammad Sheheryar Khan in Lahore, he said the exports to Italy and remittances to Pakistan has touched $2 billion recording highest ever annual growth. He said Italy posted the highest growth both in workers remittances among all countries with high numbers of Pakistan diaspora and for exporters among the top 10 export destinations of Pakistan.

He said this phenomenal growth has been achieved at a time when European economies in general and Italian economy in particular is demonstrating downward trend and confronted with multiple challenges due to Russian-Ukraine conflict, he added.

He said the value-added sectors were the main drivers of the exceptional export growth with exports of plastic products increasing by 208 percent, sports goods 80 percent leather 42 percent, home textile 36 percent and garments 35 percent which was possible due to the efforts and initiatives coupled with hard work of Pakistani exporters.

Ashfaq said Italy has become the third largest export destination for Pakistani footwear, 5th in home textiles and 6th in garments exports. He said Ambassador of Italy to Pakistan, Andreas Ferrarese, is a key driving force behind the further cementing trade relations with both countries. With its unique geo-strategic location and improved security conditions, he further said that Pakistan offers excellent investment opportunities for Italian companies. With a population of around 220 million and a constantly growing demand for high-end products, Pakistan remains an attractive market for Italian manufacturers and businesspeople.

Moreover, Italy is home to more than 150,000 Pakistanis, the largest Pakistani diaspora in Europe (after Brexit). Engaged in various production sectors in Italy, they continue to contribute to both countries’ economies.

Kashif Ashfaq said the Embassy of Italy in Islamabad is committed to boosting commercial ties between the two countries. Muhammad Sheheryar Khan honorary investment consular and tourism ambassador of Pakistan to Italy stressed the urgent need that both countries should explore all the possible avenues focusing on agriculture, machinery, textiles, and tourism.

He said with the revival of market activities after lifting of pandemic restrictions in Italy, the Pakistan Ambassador Jauhar Saleem has geared its activities to contact Pakistani businesses with Italian counterparts to sustain the exports and FDI growth.

He said during last fiscal year, Italian companies invested in food processing, chemicals, construction, leather, footwear, energy equipment and IT which he hoped will increase with the passage of time, he concluded.

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