ISLAMABAD: The third session of Pak-Italy Joint Economic Commission (JEC) is scheduled to be held in Rome, Italy on January 29-30, 2018. Finance and Economic Affairs Minister for State Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan will lead the Pakistani delegation and co-chair the session along with Italy’s Economic Development Deputy Minister Ivan Scalfarotto.
Meanwhile, Italy had previously cancelled debt amounting to Rs 6.4 billion (€ 64 million) and is expected to cancel the rest at the completion of Pak–Italian Debt Swap Agreement (PIDSA) by end of 2018.
On January 29, 2018, both sides will hold discussions and negotiations on various agenda items and sign the protocol and agreed minutes of the JEC on January 30.
Both sides will review the recent economic outlook and the economic development goals of their respective countries in the coming years. They will exchange views on the prospects of the bilateral commercial and investment relationship between the two countries.
Both countries will also sign three Letters of Intent (LoI) on cooperation in the areas of textile, footwear and gemstones industry. A MoU between Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and ICE-Italian Trade Agency is also expected to be signed at the JEC.
Moreover, a Memorandum of Intent between Pakistan Stone Development Company (PASDEC) and its Italian counterpart Confidustria Mardomacchine will also be inked on this occasion.
The JEC will especially focus on joint projects to expand technology transfers, multi-sector training, services and technical support, by engaging public and private actors, sharing the common objective to support the growth and competitiveness of SMEs.
It is worth mentioning that Italy has been supporting Pakistan through humanitarian as well as technical assistance in rehabilitation projects carried out through the provincial governments and civil society organisations, as well as by a contribution worth € 40 million to poverty reduction through Rural Development in Balochistan, KPK and bordering areas of Afghanistan.
Italy has also approved soft loans amounting to € 22.50 million for Gilgit-Baltistan Economic Transformation Initiatives and € 20 million for Professional Capacity Building and Extension in Agriculture (TVET). Italy has also cancelled debt amounting to Rs 6.4 billion (€ 64 million), roughly 77 per cent of the total amount of debt amounting to Rs 8.2 billion (€ 72 million) owed by the government of Pakistan. Pak–Italian Debt Swap Agreement (PIDSA) will be completed by end of 2018, and the remaining debt will also be cancelled by the Italian government.