The Ambassador of Italy to Pakistan Andreas Ferrarese on Wednesday said there are vast opportunities for mutual trade and investment between Pakistan and Italy, from which businessmen and traders of both the countries can reap the benefits. Pakistani businessmen and traders move forward and work to promote mutual trade and economic ties between Pakistanis in Italy, he said. Economic, trade and cultural relations between Italy and Pakistan are at an all-time high, he said this while hosting a dinner in honour of senior business leaders and presidents of different trade chambers of the country at his residence. Renowned business leaders including former President of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce Zafar Bakhtawri, Chairman Federation Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Capital Office Qurban Ali, President Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) Muhammad Nasir Mirza, President Gujranwala Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Umer Ashraf Mughal, President Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sherbaz IIyas Bilour and Abdullah Shad Abbasi participated on the occasion. The ambassador informed that Italy hosts the largest Pakistani diaspora in the European Union (EU) countries. In FY 2020-21, workers remittances from Italy reached $601 million which is an all-time high figure, he said. It has made Italy, Pakistan’s 7th largest destination for workers remittance globally and number-1 from the EU. He said that there was huge trade potential in different sectors of the economy which needed to be explored and in this regard both sides were engaged in the dialogue process through the Pak-Italy Joint economic commission forum for bilateral economic engagements. The ambassador said that currently Italy was providing technical assistance in agriculture and textiles up-gradation 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 the construction sector in the Italian market. Andreas Ferrarese was of the view 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. He said green economy, transfer of technology for the industrial sector including textile, agro industry, construction sector, education and health are major areas of focus to extend the bilateral cooperation. The ambassador said through the green economy, Italy wanted to cooperate with Pakistan for environment protection, circular economy, resource saving and management, ecosystem protection and recovery, water conservation and natural disaster prevention. The ambassador said that Italy has established the Italy-Pakistan Textile Technology Center (IPTTC) in Faisalabad at the National Textile University (NTU) to upgrade the local textile sector. He said the training centre, which was the first of its kind for Italian textile machinery technology in Pakistan, was inaugurated in the recent past. He said this project was financed by the Italian government to support the development of the local textiles industry, by equipping it with Italian machinery. During fiscal year 2020-21, textile, leather, rice, ethanol, textiles articles, sets, worn clothing, cotton, apparel, crocheted, cereals, raw hides and skins, beverages and footwear were major areas of Pakistan export to Italy, he said. As Pakistan’s imports from Italy increased in these sectors, it included ships, boats, and other floating structures, machinery, pharmaceutical products, aircraft, spacecraft, electrical, electronic equipment, organic chemicals, iron and steel, miscellaneous chemical products, optical, photo, technical and medical apparatus. Replying to a question, he said currently, Italy was providing technical assistance to Pakistan in textiles, leather and marble sectors. 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 The new economic mission has been deployed in Pakistan to further promote bilateral trade and economic cooperation in different potential areas, he said. Initially the new economic mission has been 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. He underlined the importance of promoting cultural connectivity to promote bilateral trade. He said that he would also encourage exchange of students to further strengthen bilateral relations. The senior diplomat said that Italy was committed to extend the cooperation of a diverse potential sector to enhance the bilateral economic cooperation between Pakistan and Italy.