A 16 companies delegation of Azerbaijan led by Vice Chairman Yousif Abdullah, Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry to discuss and explore business collaborations. Ambassador of Azerbaijan H.E. Mr. Ali Alizada also accompanied the delegation. The delegation was representing various sectors including oil & gas, steel, transport, food processing, farming, trade, packaging and paper industry, production of fruits & vegetables, milk and dairy products, chocolates, hospitality, furniture, cosmetics, mineral waters, cotton and other sectors.
Speaking at the occasion, H.E. Ali Alizada, Ambassador of Azerbaijan said that during 2016, bilateral trade between Azerbaijan and Pakistan witnessed three times increase, but there was still lot more potential to improve it. He said leadership of both countries was determined to establish strong bilateral trade and economic relations, which was reaffirmed during the visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir to his country in 2016. He hoped that the current visit of Azerbaijan delegation to Pakistan will help in exploring new areas of mutual cooperation.
Yousif Abdullah, Vice Chairman, Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation said that many companies of Azerbaijan were interested in doing business with Pakistan. He said the purpose of their current visit to Pakistan was to study Pakistani market and explore opportunities of business collaborations in agriculture and other fields. He said Azerbaijan offered attractive incentives to foreign investors and provided 7 year tax holiday for investing in its Industrial and Technology Park. He stressed that Pakistani businessmen should explore investment opportunities in his country.
In his welcome address, Khalid Malik, Senior Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that Pakistan and Azerbaijan enjoyed good political relations, but bilateral trade was not up to the desired level. He said Pakistan could export many of its products to Azerbaijan including ready-made garments, cotton products, engineering and consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, rice, textile fabrics, sports goods, surgical instruments and tents. Similarly, Pakistan could import many products from Azerbaijan including metals, oil & petroleum products, chemical products, canned fruit juices, raw cotton, LPG etc. He said to improve two-way trade, it was crucial to develop strong connectivity between private sectors of both countries.
He identified agriculture, energy, infrastructure development and transport as potential areas of mutual cooperation between Pakistan and Azerbaijan. He said both countries could set up joint ventures in pharmaceuticals as Pakistan has proven expertise in this field. He stressed that Azerbaijan should facilitate Pakistani pharmaceutical companies to get registered there for introducing their products in its market. He said frequent exchange of trade delegations and organizing exhibitions on reciprocal basis should be encouraged to improve two-way trade. He said both countries consider finalizing a Free Trade Agreement. He said Azerbaijan could use Gwadar Deep Seaport for promoting its exports to Asia Pacific, South East Asia and South Asian region. He urged that Pakistan and Azerbaijan should restart direct flights that were vital for promoting trade, people to people contacts, tourism and business linkages.