Italian Review

Pakistan-Italy trade relations
by Prof. Dr. Noor Ahmed Memon, Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education.

Pakistan and Italy have excellent relations and cooperation in the fields of both trade and service sectors. Italy has also supported Pakistan bid for a free trade agreement between Pakistan and EU.

Italy is an active investor in Pakistan and provided Pakistan, around US$100 million under the Pakistan Italian Debt for Development Swap Agreement to social development projects in health, education and sanitation. There are over 100,000 Pakistanis living in Italy, mainly living in the cities of Milan and Brescia, of whom a vast majority belong to the Punjab province of Pakistan.

Stefano Pontecorvo, Italian Ambassador
to Pakistan.

Ms. Anna Ruffino, Italian Consul
in Karachi.

Pak-Italy Trade

Italy has always followed with keen interest the Pakistani market and in the past decades has gradually increased its’ position, thereby becoming one of the top ten global trading partners of Pakistan and the third amongst the EU member States. The US$1.2 billion bilateral trade between the two countries in 2016-17 is the proof of this mutually reciprocal relationship.

The exports from Pakistan to Italy have increased under Generalized System of Preferences-Plus scheme implement in . However, over the past years trade between Pakistan and Italy has increased but the rise in exports has been greater than the imports. However, balance of trade in favour Pakistan decreased from US$ 386 million in 2014-15, to US$ 119 in 2016-17.Pak-Italian trade are given in Table 1.

Table 1: Pak - Italy Trade Balance
(US$ Million)

Year Production Exports Trade
2012 556 391 + 165
2013 671 355 + 316
2014 733 347 + 386
2015 642 409 + 233
2016 666 547 + 199
      Source: ACIMIT

Exports: Cotton fabrics and yarn, readymade garments, towels, hosiery, beddings, carpet and rugs, cotton, leather, sports goods and surgical instruments are the major items exported from Pakistan to Italy. Export of textile and other items from Pakistan to Italy are given in Table 2.

Table 2: Export of textile and other items
 from Pakistan to Italy


2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017

 Cotton fabrics

157,170 152,209 152,468


81,026 87,504 102,231

 Readymade garments

80,684 82,610 88,344


59,733 57,587 51,919

 Cotton yarn

15,071 16,372 21,740


31,239 30,853 32,593

 Textile made-ups

12,274 12,338 14,834

 Tents and canvas goods

132 66 109

 Art silk & synthetic textiles

9,406 8,204 5,229


63,316 56,357 49,652

 Carpets and rugs

3,908 3,582 4,014

 Surgical goods

6,954 6,973 6,850


19,647 18,420 17,385

 Leather gloves

7,279 6,519 4,499


185,741 102,758 114,713


733,580 642,352 666,580

 Source: Trade Development Authority of Pakistan

Imports: Textile machinery, general industrial machinery, power generating machinery, petroleum products, transport vehicles, iron and steel, pharmaceuticals, acrylic fibre, chemicals and paper and paperboard are the main items imported to Pakistan from Italy.

Pakistan is an important market for textile machinery. Textile machinery market is closely influenced by the textile industry; regulations affecting this market have a direct bearing on the textile machinery market. Italian textile machinery imports in Pakistan increased from 40 million Euros in 2014 to 87 million Euros in 2017, thus showing an average increase of 29% per annum. Most spinning mills successfully of Pakistan employ Italian machinery in the year 2017.

The most requested Italian machines were the finishing ones (45% of the total export towards Pakistan), followed by knitting (27%) and spinning machines (15%).

Future Prospects

Italian Ambassador to Pakistan Stefano Pontecorvo has emphasized that Pakistan is the most important country of Asia with a bright future. Private sector of Pakistan has the ability to do “economic miracles” and they must have strongest liaison with their Italian counterparts to extract huge benefits from Italian expertise.

The Italian investors can invest in marble, energy, agro-based industries, construction, mining, textiles and tourism sectors, adding that Pakistan could contribute and find complimentary areas in design and fashion. Other sectors included IT and telecommunication. Italian businessmen could take advantage from the investment-friendly climate of Pakistan that offered best return on the foreign investment with economic policies providing for legal protection to foreign investment.

Recently, Pakistan and Italy signed three letters of Intent (LoIs) for cooperation in textiles, footwear and stone sectors at the 3rd session of Pak-Italy Joint Economic Commission (JEC) held in Rome. During the meeting, a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also signed between Pakistan Stone Development Company (PASDEC) and its Italian counterpart Confidustria Mardomacchine.

Another Memorandum of Intent was also signed between Pakistan Stone Development Comp­any (Pasdec) and the Marble Association of Italy, and has already been approved by the Federal Cabinet. Pasdec and the Italian association will contribute an equal amount of 400,000 Euros each towards setting up of the centre in Risalpur. The project is expected to be completed within two years and it will also serve as an export promotion centre for the stones being extracted in Pakistan. The companies associated with the Marble Association of Italy supply the advanced technology that makes Italy a global leader in stone and manufactured stone industries.


  1. Association of Italian Textile Machinery Manufacturers (ACIMIT)
  2. Pakistan Bureau of Statistics
  3. State Bank of Pakistan-Annual Reports.
  4. Trade Development Authority of Pakistan.


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