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TEXT: As we celebrate 77th anniversary of the Republic Day, National Day of Italy, I am pleased to speak to our Pakistani friends. I would start by thanking all those who sent messages of warmth and solidarity on this auspicious occasion.

This year also marks 75th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between our two countries. The time-honoured Italy-Pakistan relations are marked by emergent bilateral cooperation and harmony of views on a great range of issues. Our cooperation encompasses, but is not limited to political, economic, cultural and social spheres. Italy values the vital support and continued cooperation that Pakistan extended to the international community.

With a community exceeding 180.000, Italy is home to the largest Pakistani diaspora in Europe (post-Brexit). Their contribution to the Italian economy, as well as to that of their native country, is remarkable. Worker remittances from Italy to Pakistan have been on all-time high in past two years (more than 1 billion Euro a year). Italy was the seventh largest source of worker remittances to Pakistan globally, and the top one within the EU countries. Both countries appreciate the importance of people-to-people contacts that foster bilateral ties. The Embassy is strongly committed to improve consular services.

The fifth Italy-Pakistan Joint Economic Commission (JEC) took place on 29-30 May in Rome, where the two sides agreed to establish a joint framework to deal with climate change and cooperation in water management. Both sides signed an important “Roadmap for Cooperation” which covers climate change, trade & investment, heritage & culture, agriculture, technical cooperation, higher education and transfer of technology in related sectors.

Italy remains among top ten exporting countries for Pakistan in the world, and third major trade partner in the EU. Both our countries are in favor of trade liberalization scheme at World Trade Organization, and contest the idea of unilateralism. With a population of around 240 million, and a constantly growing demand of high-end products, Pakistan continues to be an attractive market for Italian companies and businesses. Some of renowned Italian companies have established their presence in Pakistani market lately.

I am pleased to share with you an exciting news; that is the establishment of Italian Trade Agency (ICE) office in Islamabad and assignment of the first Italian Trade Director to Pakistan. This would be a major step towards an enhanced trade cooperation. We shall continue to explore the avenues with focus on agriculture, renewable energy, textiles, construction and tourism. Collaboration in fields of textiles, agriculture, livestock, marble, pharmaceuticals and mass manufacturing would help enhance Pakistan’s industrial scope and increase exports of value added goods.

In addition to economic affairs, Italy remains active in community uplift projects and several fruitful programs in various fields have been accomplished. Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) has supported a number of projects in fields of agriculture, health and infrastructure in diverse regions of the country. We are excited to see the initial success of “Olive Culture Project” in Pakistan that would bear tangible fruits for the country in future.

Our Archaeological Mission is one of the oldest present missions in Pakistan, and has made great contributions to Pakistan’s already rich archaeological scene. Italians’ love for Pakistani mountains is no secret and that reflects through their activities of conservation and uplift of Pakistan’s mountainous areas. You would be pleased to learn about all these activities through articles published in this supplement.

The Embassy of Italy in Islamabad is committed to further strengthen bilateral ties, with an aim to take mutual trade to its natural size. We look forward to a deeper collaboration with Pakistani business community, relevant bodies such as chambers of commerce and industry in both countries.

From everyone at the Italian Embassy in Islamabad: “buona festa della repubblica”.

Viva l’Italia!

Pak-Italy dosti zindabad!

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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