Italy, Pakistan to expand relations in furniture industry

LAHORE, Pakistan: With improving law and order situation in Pakistan, there seems good potential of trade and investment between Italy and Pakistan, according to Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) press release.

Italy will provide special package of incentives to investment companies and business counterparts besides promoting and expanding cooperation in furniture sector of either side, it said.

As many as 37 Italian businessmen, headed by Italian Deputy Minister Ivan Scalfarotto, are currently on Pakistan visit for exploring the investment avenues besides joint ventures in various sectors.

The PFC organised a round-table discussion with the visiting Italian delegation in Lahore on Tuesday. PFC Chief Executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq briefed the delegation about investment potential in Pakistan’s furniture sector.

Business representatives from both sides agreed to regular exchange of visits, update each other on information that they have about new technological developments for machinery and accessories for the furniture sector in Italy and the international market as well as information about the production of furniture sector in Pakistan.

Italian Deputy Minister Ivan Scalfarotto said that Italy had always shown a keen interest in Pakistani market and had positioned itself among top ten global trading partners of Pakistan. “Italian companies will provide machineries and expertise for quality promotion and value addition of Pakistani products along with services for technological training and capacity building in rural development and health sector. Additionally, we can also invest in large manufacturing and infrastructure sectors,” he added.

Mian Kashif said the total volume of trade between Pakistan and Italy stood at US$1.1 billion and was in favour of Pakistan but they had decided to enhance their bilateral trade to US$1.5 billion from this year, and they had fruitful meeting and discussions with Italian business delegation, who expressed their desire to explore investment opportunities in Pakistan. There was much scope for Pakistan to explore cooperation in new areas, including trade and investment, for mutual benefit.

He said that Italy was the fourth largest investor in Pakistan following China, UAE and Hong Kong with a total investment valuing US$100 million along with bilateral trade worth one billion Euro. Our focus is on energy, infrastructure, automobiles, agro food, pharmaceuticals, marble, stones, furniture and textiles.

Pakistan’s main items of export are cotton fabrics, woven made-up articles of textile materials, articles of apparel, chemicals, leather products and cotton yarn. Major items of import from Italy include machinery and its parts, cereals and cereals preparations, medical and pharmaceutical products and wheat, adding he said we want to diversify our exports and find new partners for doing business.