Azerbaijan keen to enhance trade with Pakistan

Azerbaijan is keen to promote bilateral trade with Pakistan as both countries have tremendous scope to enhance trade and economic cooperation in many fields, said Azerbaijan Ambassador Ali Alizada.

Azerbaijan keen to enhance trade with Pakistan

During his meeting with the business community at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), he said, “Azerbaijan and Pakistan enjoyed excellent relations at the political level, but trade and economic relations were not up to the mark, therefore, there is a need to focus on enhance trade relations that would yield highly beneficial results for the economies of both countries.”

Alizada informed the businessmen that Azerbaijan has signed free trade agreements with 10 countries of the region including Russia, therefore, by investing in Azerbaijan and increasing trade cooperation with it, Pakistani investors could promote exports to all these regional countries.

The envoy said, “Covid-19 has caused a slowdown in trade activity between the two countries, but after the coronavirus is over, bilateral trade is expected to boost.”

“Azerbaijan is interested in developing railway links and direct flights with Pakistan soon after the end of Covid-19.” He identified agriculture, industry, tourism, mining, hospitality and defence as potential areas of bilateral cooperation between Azerbaijan and Pakistan.

The ambassador said Pakistani pharmaceutical companies have huge potential in his country and they should set up manufacturing plants in Azerbaijan.

Furthermore, he apprised the business community that Azerbaijan was establishing a free economic zone next to the port of Baku and Pakistani investors should explore joint ventures and investment in this facility.

He urged the Pakistani business community to attend an online business forum planned in March to explore business collaboration with the counterparts of Azerbaijan.

Speaking on the occasion, ICCI President Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan said the bilateral trade of around $16-17 million between Pakistan and Azerbaijan was quite nominal given the actual potential of the two countries and efforts were needed from both sides to improve it.

He highlighted that many good quality Pakistani products including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, surgical instruments, sports goods, cutlery, electrical appliances, textile and leather products, furniture, home-made crafts, food and fruits products, engineering and consumer goods, rice have a scope in Azerbaijan and it should increase imports of these products from Pakistan. Khan added,

“Pakistan is setting up many special economic zones (SEZs) under CPEC that offered 10 years’ tax holiday, therefore, investors of Azerbaijan should explore opportunities of joint ventures and investment in these SEZs that would help in further strengthening bilateral business cooperation between the two countries.”

Originally published at The express tribune