LAHORE:Ambassador of Azerbaijan Khazar Farhadov said on Wednesday that Azerbaijan was keen to strengthen trade and economic ties with Pakistan, and called for joint efforts by the business community of both sides in order to tap huge potential in both countries.
He was talking to business community here at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
The LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir, Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan and Vice President Haris Ateeq also spoke on the occasion.
The Ambassador called for improvement in direct links between the business community of Azerbaijan and Pakistan to increase bilateral trade between the two countries.
He invited the LCCI to arrange a sector specific delegation for Azerbaijan. The Ambassador also gave a detailed presentation on trade and economic scenario in Azerbaijan and trade between the two countries.
LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir said that both countries had good diplomatic relations ,adding ,”We have yet to succeed in translating these ties into maintaining sound bilateral trade”.
He said that according to the statistics by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Pakistan’s exports to Azerbaijan in financial year 2020-21 were 15.53 million dollars, while the imports were merely 679,000 dollars.
“Even in the first four months of current financial year (July-October 2021), our exports to Azerbaijan stood at 2.12 million dollars while our imports from Azerbaijan stood at 205,000 dollars”, he added.
Mian Nauman said that Pakistan’s exports to Azerbaijan mainly comprised rice, textile, and frozen meat while we import petroleum gas from Azerbaijan.
“It had been observed that Pakistani products are in great demand in Azerbaijan and many items are transported or delivered by Irani businessmen to Azerbaijan. That is why these trade figures do not reflect the actual trade”, he said.
He said that Pakistani products including pharmaceuticals, surgical instruments, sports goods, cutlery, electrical appliances, textile & leather products, furniture, home-made crafts, food and fruits products, engineering & consumer goods and rice have great scope in Azerbaijan.
The LCCI president said the “geographical location of two countries is the greatest reason in the way of developing direct trade links. We better engage Iran as one of the partner for starting transit trade”.
He said that there was also an immediate need to initiate direct air-links between the two countries, besides that, “we should develop banking channels between Pak-Azerbaijan in order to ensure maximum facilitation for enhancing bilateral trade volume”.
He said that commercial sections of our respective embassies had to play some positive role in this connection.
The president hoped that the working relations between Embassy of Azerbaijan and LCCI would get further strengthened.
He quoted the thought visualised by Mammad Araz, a well known Azerbaijni Poet: “If there were no war, we can construct a bridge between earth and mars by melting weapons in an open hearth furnace”.
He said that in the course of its long history, Azerbaijan had given the world a number of outstanding thinkers, poets, and scientists. Among the medieval scientists and philosophers, Abul Hasan Bakhmanyar (11th century), the author of numerous works on mathematics and philosophy, and Abul Hasan Shirvani (11th–12th centuries), the author of Astronomy, may be noted.