Italy would establish a gemstones training institute in Gilgit-Baltistan in order to exploit the potential of these areas as well as enhancing mutual cooperation between both countries.
This was stated by Ambassador of Italy to Pakistan Andreas Ferrarese while talking to Chairman Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Qurban Ali.
He said Italy wanted to start a new era of economic and trade cooperation with Pakistan through a transfer of technology and for the up-gradation of Pakistan’s textile industry.
“We were considering to establish a training institute to promote the gems and jewelry and gemstone industry in Gilgit-Baltistan to promote trade and investment opportunities in these areas”, the Ambassador of Italy added.
Italy’s assistance to Pakistan
He said that currently, Italy was providing technical assistance to Pakistan in agriculture and textiles industry up-gradation through modern machinery, value addition in agriculture, leather, and marble sectors.
Pakistan was also working to expand its cooperation in agricultural items including dairy, livestock, olive and olive products, processed food, and the construction sector in the Italian market.
The Ambassador further informed that dairy and livestock, olive and olive products, plastics, processed food, and the construction sector were the areas where Italy could extend its cooperation with Pakistan.
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Speaking on the occasion Qurban Ali said the move of the Italian government would be a milestone in the development of the gems and jewelry industry in Gilgit-Baltistan also help to achieve the objective of employment generation in the region.
Chairman FPCCI said that Gilgit-Baltistan was currently a region rich in natural resources, including precious stones and minerals.
He said that Italy-Pakistan’s economic cooperation, including in bilateral trade, industry, and agriculture was exemplary, which would be further enhanced.
Pakistan’s gemstone industry
Pakistan has an export potential of worth US $32 billion annually in the latent gemstones industry to earn revenue for strengthening the country’s economy, he said adding that local exporters of gemstones must go for innovation and add on modern technology to enhance the value of precious and semi-precious stones for the international competitive market to earn more profits.
Qurban Ali said that Pakistan was home to precious and semi-precious stones and for utilizing this potential, the establishment of the technology and innovation drove the industry to attract foreign investors from the European Union and the United States of America.
He said mainly these precious stones were explored from almost inaccessible territories of the hilly regions in the south and north as the most extensive Ruby deposits in Pakistan were located in the Hunza valley of the Gilgit Baltistan.
He informed that after Burma, Hunza was the only region in the world that has produced “Blood Red Ruby”.
Chairman FPCCI said that some of the finest ‘Emeralds’ in the world are being found in Swat and Aquamarine also explored from the Shigar valley of Baltistan, Chitral, Kaghan, and Neelam Valley of Azad Kashmir.
He further said that Pakistan was a country of young people and they need employment opportunities and through the gems and stones industry, “we can create a huge opportunity of employment for local youth of GB region including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
He also proposed the Ambassador bring investment in the potential areas of tourism, gemstones, livestock, mines and minerals, transport, and housing sector to enhance the cooperation between both of the countries.
FPCCI chairman further said that CPEC related Gilgit Baltistan Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and others would increase the business and industrial cooperation between the business sector of Italy and Pakistan.
He said that Italian investors and businessmen can invest and start Joint Ventures with local industrialists in Gilgit Baltistan, SEZ in the value addition of agriculture, livestock, mines, and minerals, and milk products.