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Dar, Italian Dy Minister discuss avenues for economic cooperation


 Pakistan has submitted the letter of intent for joining the Open Government Partnership (OGP), after having become a signatory to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. In this regard, Italy has also appreciated Pakistan’s commitment to join OGP and accession to the OECD Convention.

In a meeting with the visiting Italian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Benedetto Della Vedova’, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that the government was fully committed to ensuring transparency and adoption of international standards of governance.
The Italian Deputy Minister said that Pakistan’s partnership with the OECD, including accession to conventions, was an important step as OECD maintained shared statistics which facilitated international trade and investments.
Finance Minister highlighted the historic and long-standing friendly ties between Pakistan and Italy and acknowledged the volume of bilateral trade between the two nations but emphasized that trade potential is much bigger than the current level.
He appreciated the cooperation and support of the Italian government for various development projects in Pakistan and said that Pakistan was fully committed to further enhancing and strengthening relations with Italy in existing and new areas including defense, economic cooperation, trade and investment.
The Deputy Minister recalled the visit to Pakistan last year by Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni at the time and now the Prime Minister of Italy, as well as the visits by the Italian Minister for Defense, and the Italian Deputy Minister for Economic Development along with a delegation of Italian businesspersons.
He said that the recent increase in high-level interaction between the two countries bodes well for relations between the two nations. The Deputy Minister said that bilateral trade figures are improving but there is huge untapped potential for further increase in bilateral trade.
He emphasized that Italy and the EU are fully committed to keeping international markets open for trade at the highest level. He said that the Italian Ambassador to Pakistan, Stefano Pontecorvo, is making active efforts to promote foreign direct investment by Italian companies in Pakistan in various areas including energy, infrastructure and machinery.
The Finance Minister shared with the Deputy Minister that after having achieved macroeconomic stability in Pakistan, the government is now focused on attaining higher, sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
He said that during the tenure of the present government, despite curtailing fiscal deficit by more than half, development spending has been more than doubled, and spending on social sector has been nearly tripled.
He also apprised the Deputy Minister of the merger of Pakistan’s domestic stock exchanges last year. He said that, in June last year, the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) was declared the best market in Asia, and in December, KSE-100 was declared the 5thbest performing stock index globally in 2016.