Islamabad : H.E. Khazar Farhadov, Ambassador of Azerbaijan said that the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) intended to invest USD 1 billion in Pakistan’s energy sector while many other companies were interested in JVs and investment in Pakistan as they consider Pakistan a potential market for business and investment activities. He said this while interacting with the business community during his visit to Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI).
The envoy said that the leadership of Azerbaijan and Pakistan have the will to upscale the economic cooperation and both countries should focus on promoting direct connectivity between their private sectors to enhance bilateral trade relations. He said that his embassy was ready to arrange virtual meetings between the companies of both countries that could be followed up with exchange of trade delegations. He said that Azerbaijan has signed agreements with EU and other countries and Pakistan’s close economic cooperation with it would provide Pakistani products easy market access to Central Asia and Europe. He said that Pakistan and Azerbaijan were working on a preferential trade agreement that would lower customs tariffs and improve bilateral trade between the two countries. He said that Pakistani companies including pharma units have good potential to set up production plants in Azerbaijan. He said that Azerbaijan was establishing a free economic zone next to the port of Baku and Pakistani investors should explore JVs and investment in this facility.
Speaking at the occasion, Muhammad Shakeel Munir, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that the bilateral trade of around US$ 16-17 million between Pakistan and Azerbaijan was quite less than the actual potential of both countries and stressed that more efforts should be made from both sides to improve it. He said that many Pakistani products including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, surgical instruments, sports goods, cutlery, electrical appliances, textile & leather products, furniture, home-made crafts, food and fruits products, engineering & consumer goods and rice could find a good market in Azerbaijan and emphasized that Azerbaijan should import these products from Pakistan.
Jamshaid Akhtar Sheikh, Senior Vice President ICCI said that Pakistan was focusing on Central Asia for trade & exports and close cooperation with Azerbaijan would help in getting better market access to this important region. He said that Azerbaijan was quite rich in energy and it should cooperate with Pakistan in meeting our country’s rising energy needs.
Muhammad Faheem Khan Vice President ICCI said that steps should be taken to bridge the gap between the private sectors of both countries to increase two-way trade up to the real potential of both countries.
Sheikh Ejaz, Hamayun Kabir, Saeed Khan, Mrs. Parveen Khan, Muhammad Naveed Malik, Hafiz Bilal Munir, Ch. Muhammad Ali, Raja Imtiaz, Akhtar Hussain, Ch. Mazhar and others also spoke at the occasion and gave useful proposals for further promoting bilateral trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Azerbaijan.