ISLAMABAD: Italy has become the seventh billion-dollar export country for Pakistan in the world during FY 2021-22 with a record growth of export volume to $1.146 billion, while the remittances from Italy were also on the path to touch billion dollars soon with a total of $ 857 million during the year.

According to officials, June 2022 also set the record for highest export volume ever to Italy in a single month crossing $144 million.

This phenomenal growth in exports and remittances has come at a time when European economies in general and Italian economy in particular is slowing down and facing multiple challenges due to Ukraine war.

The exports to Italy of $1.15 billion in FY 2021-22 are 46 percent higher than the previous year, while the remittances are 41 percent higher for the same period than the last year.

Pakistans Ambassador to Italy, Jauhar Saleem paid glowing tributes to the Pakistani exporters for their initiative and hard work and to the Pakistani diaspora in Italy for standing by the country in a most challenging economic environment. He also shared that Pakistan had posted a record trade surplus of $573 million during the financial year 2021-22 which is 91 percent higher than the previous year.

According to the Envoy, the value-added sectors were the main drivers of the exceptional export growth with exports of plastic products increasing by 208 percent, sports goods 80 percent, leather 42 percent, home textiles 36 percent and garments 35 percent. The ambassador also shared that even as the pandemic hit global footwear market witnessed a contraction of demand during the year, Pakistan’s exports of footwear to Italy increased by 19 percent in the year and Italy has become the third largest export destination for Pakistani footwear. Italy is also the fifth largest destination for Pakistani home textiles and ranks No.6 in garments exports.

Ambassador Saleem also informed that with the revival of market activities after removal of pandemic related restrictions in Italy, the Pakistan Embassy in Italy was further pacing up its activities to connect Pakistani businesses with Italian firms to sustain exports and FDI growth. During the just concluded financial year, Pakistan received Italian investment in the sectors of food processing, chemicals, construction, leather, footwear, energy related equipment and IT.

The Ambassador also shared that some of the recent joint ventures between leading Pakistani and Italian footwear firms were enabling technology transfer, international marketing skills and supply chain management to Pakistani firms. Moreover, Italy was also providing technical support in agriculture sector especially related to olive and olive products. Similarly, Italy is supporting the efforts for reduction of risks of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) and hydrogeological hazards in mountainous areas by establishing an evidence-based assessment and monitoring system for glaciers in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Ambassador Jauhar Saleem also informed the media that Italy had announced to allow 69,700 seasonal workers from selected countries in 2022 to come to Italy for work. Pakistan has already been included in the Italian Seasonal Work Visa Programme for 2022, which would offer many opportunities to our workers in agriculture and services sector to work in Italy. He added that Italian government had recently reduced the timelines for work visa processing which had been a long standing demand from Pakistani workers.

With the record increase in remittances during the last three years, Italy has become the largest contributor to this financial sector from the European Union. In 2021-22, around 25 percent of the total Pakistan workers remittances from the EU came only from Italy, he said, adding that dynamic diaspora in Italy had helped post highest growth in workers remittances among all remittances destinations in the world making Italy Pakistan’s 8th largest destination for remittances globally and number one within the EU.

“Keeping in view the Italian labour market conditions and employment opportunities for Pakistani workers, the growth momentum would be maintained by connecting more Pakistani workers with Italian job market,” he continued.