ISLAMABAD: All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) and the Embassy of Italy in Pakistan has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at establishing and promoting trade links through mutual collaboration in the areas of common interests.
President APBF Mr. Ibrahim Qureshi and Italian Ambassador in Islamabad, Mr. Stefano Pontecorvo signed the MoU during a ceremony held here on Tuesday. The signing ceremony was attended by high-profiled members of the business community, media personnel, political figures, government officials and academia.
According to the MoU, APBF and the Italian Embassy have reached an understanding to cooperate in key developmental areas like; promotion of mutual trade links, facilitation of closer understanding between the business communities of Italy and Pakistan, facilitation of B2B meetings and visits of business delegates, increasing educational ties and working in collaboration for social development.
President APBF Mr. Ibrahim Qureshi, addressing the ceremony, expressed his gratitude to the Italian Ambassador and acknowledged the valuable collaboration of Italy in a wide range of programs including; trade, health, education, public diplomacy and development in Pakistan.
Ibrahim Qureshi reiterated that APBF will continue to put its best efforts in establishing the most favorable business environment in Pakistan, and will identify and engage resourceful organizations and vital entrepreneurs to create and seize new opportunities for mutual development and growth.
The Italian Ambassador to Pakistan admired the dynamic role of APBF – a business association comprising more than 2,000 enterprising members, towards creating an enabling environment for businesses to perform well and invest confidently in Pakistan. He also appreciated APBF for supporting the diplomatic community in Pakistan, which is engaged in various efforts to strengthen international trade and harmony.
Responding to a question regarding lengthy procedure for visa, Mr. Pontecorvo said that a special desk in Italian Embassy is being established to grant business visas on priority basis. Moreover, Italy was reopening its Trade Commission in Karachi while reinforcing its Trade Office in the Embassy so as to better cover Punjab and especially Lahore.
He said, “As Italian envoy my prime objective would be to promote economic ties and take the bilateral trade to a new height.”
The Ambassador said that several Italian companies were looking at Pakistan as a possible investment destination since Pakistan not only provided lower labour cost but also could be a hub for exports to a wide region extending from China in the east to Lebanon in the west and including entire central Asia.
Mr. Pontecorvo discussed the potential areas of investment for the Italian businessmen like transport, agricultural machinery, frozen food, furniture making, marble industry, textile, leather and energy sector would be the main areas of our interest. The Italian envoy said that the Italian businessmen were closely following the Pakistani market and products and appreciated skills and talents of the people.
On this occasion, the APBF president announced that a delegation of Pakistani businessmen would visit Italy in April to establish contacts, holding B2B meetings and exploring new markets there.
Ibrahim Qureshi said that the bilateral trade between the two countries had stagnated for some years and now was the time to trade in new and niche products to improve the trade figures.
“We want to diversify our exports and want to find new partners for doing business.”