Businessmen call for improved trade links with Azerbaijan Both Pakistan and Azerbaijan have good diplomatic relations
Businessmen called for improvement in direct links with their counterparts in Azerbaijan to increase bilateral trade between the two countries, TheNews reports.
“Both Pakistan and Azerbaijan have good diplomatic relations but these are not translated into stronger bilateral trade relations,” Nasir Hameed, acting president of Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said during a meeting with a visiting delegation from the south Caucasus country.
Hameed said values of total exports of Pakistan to Azerbaijan were recorded at $50 million in 2013, $28 million in 2014 and $42 million in 2015. “As far as the imports from Azerbaijan to Pakistan are concerned, these are virtually negligible.”
He said Pakistani products are in great demand in Azerbaijan and many of these items are transported or delivered by Iranian businessmen to Azerbaijan, “that is why the trade figures do not reflect the actual trade.”
“In this context, it becomes very important that the business communities of both the countries must interact with each other on regular basis so that direct trade links could be established,” he added. “Similarly, the commercial sections of our respective embassies have to play some positive role in this connection. They should share market survey reports with their national chambers on regular basis.”
The LCCI acting president said since Iran comes in between Pakistan and Azerbaijan, “so, both the countries should make efforts for signing transit trade agreement.” “Such arrangements help avoid routine taxes and avail preferential treatment,” he added. “That is how we can easily exchange goods via Iran, which will be much beneficial for the two way trade.”
Hameed further said businessmen of both the countries should start joint ventures in pharmaceuticals, fresh fruits and vegetables, fruit juices, sugar and confectionery, cotton, chemical products, cosmetics and furniture.
Azerbaijan Ambassador Ali Alizada said Azerbaijan has always supported Pakistan at all the international forums. “Growing cooperation between the two countries at economic matters is a good sign.”
Alizada was leading the 20-member delegation, which held business-to-business meetings and agreed to begin joint ventures in fruit, vegetables, textile, food, farming, packaging, restaurants and hotels.
The delegation members said the meetings would help in strengthening trade and economic ties between the two countries.
“Azerbaijan is keen to strengthen trade and economic ties with Pakistan,” Alizada said. “Joint efforts from the business community of both the sides can help tap huge potential existing in both the countries,” he added. “Bilateral trade between the two countries could be flourished through exchange of trade delegations and holding of single country exhibitions.”
The envoy said another delegation would visit Pakistan in March. He called for identification of trade and investment opportunities to exploit potential.
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