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Italy third largest trading partner of Pakistan: envoy

Italian Ambassador to Pakistan Adriano Chiodi Cianfarani has said that Italy is Pakistan’s third largest European Union (EU) commercial partner with the exports from Pakistan to Italy in 2011 worth $0.7 billion and imports worth $0.5 billion.

He expressed these views over a luncheon meeting hosted by the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) here on Tuesday.

He said: “The economies of both countries complement each other in many ways, with Italy being a world leader in sectors such as machinery, automotive, infrastructures, energy, textile, leather, jewelry, fashion and agriculture”. All these areas are of key interest to Pakistan, posing a huge scope for mutual economic collaboration, he added.

Speaking at the occasion, PBIT Chief Executive Officer Habib ur Rehman Gilani stated that Punjab is suffering from power paucity and the announcement of Italian firm ENI to initiate spade work on the construction of a 400 megawatts (MW) power generation project in Pakistan despite all difficulties is indeed encouraging.

He further highlighted that Punjab offers great opportunities in the energy sector for investments. Coal-based power generation, hydropower projects, solar energy projects and power generation from biomass are some of the ready project opportunities. Punjab government has devised various interventions in the energy sector to facilitate investments, he said.

Honorary Consul General of Italy in Lahore Hussain Dawood said that Italy has an important role to play in supporting the effort of the Pakistani government in reducing gas and electrical shortages, through investments, technology transfer and best practices. An Italian energy conglomerate ENI Spa, is operating both on land and off-shore through a network of extraction plants and platforms and is today the major foreign oil and gas extracting company in Pakistan, extracting over 10 percent of the Pakistani gas.

Parliamentary Secretary Dr Saeed Elahi said the Punjab government would like to explore ways of cooperation and support from Italian companies working in energy sector.

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