ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Thursday invited the Italian businessmen to explore renewable energy, auto and agricultural machinery manufacturing sectors for investment.

Talking to the Italian business delegation here, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar assured it all possible cooperation and facilitation.

The delegation was led by Director General, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Carlo Formosa, and included representatives of Bellelli Engineering, Elettronica, ENI, CNH, Finmeccanica, ICE, Mpaei, Beretta and SACE.

On the occasion, Dar expressed his gratitude to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the support and assistance it provided for holding ‘Pakistan Trade & Investment Forum’ in Italy earlier this month.

He said the Special Economic Zones offered multiple business opportunities, which the Italian companies could look into. “There are also opportunities for relocating manufacturing units from the areas and regions, where they are no longer competitive,” he informed the Italian delegation.

The minister directed the Board of Investment, Ministry of Industries as well as the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources to maintain close liaison with the representatives of the Italian companies and provide them complete guidance for investment in Pakistan.

Members of the delegation, representing reputed Italian firms, shared with Dar their plans for investment in different areas in Pakistan, including automotive industry, oil and gas, agriculture, security and aviation.

They informed the minister that following the recently announced auto policy, the Italian automotive companies had developed keen interest in investing in the sector.

"Pakistan has become fashionable in Italy, People have deep interest in visiting this country and explore investment opportunities there,” Formosa said, and added, “Italy has the desire to see resurgence of Italian brands in Pakistan.”

The delegation also held a separate meeting with Minister of State for Board of Investment Dr Mifta Ismail, the basic agenda of which was to bring Italian investment to Pakistan.

Zeeshan Yousaf from CNH said his company wanted to introduce combined harvesting agriculture in Pakistan, and for that he had already talked to Minister for National Food and Security Sikandar Hayat Bosan.

Giorgio Guidi, MD from ENI, expressed the desire to invest in alternative energy in Pakistan.

Valdez Lisbi, from Automotive Trains Unit of SACE, said his firm could provide financial services/assistance and bank guarantee on behalf of the Italian companies.

Federal Secretary for Industries Khizar Hayat suggested that Italy should invest in the Large Export Processing Zone in Gwadar since it offered tremendous opportunities to the foreign investors.