Lahore: Ambassador of Azerbaijan Khazar Farhadov has said that Azerbaijan is keen to strengthen trade & economic ties with Pakistan. Joint efforts from the business community of both sides can help tap huge potential exist in both countries.
He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir presented the address of welcome while 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 said that both Pakistan and Azerbaijan have good diplomatic relations and these should be translated into stronger bilateral trade relations.
He invited the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry 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 Pakistan and Azerbaijan have good diplomatic relations but we have yet to succeed in translating these ties into maintaining sound bilateral trade.
He said that according to the statistics by the State Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan’s exports to Azerbaijan in 2020-21 were 15.53 million dollars while our imports were merely 679 thousand dollars. There is a need to explore the ways of increasing trade between both countries. Even in the first four months of the current financial year (July-October 2021), our exports to Azerbaijan stood at 2.12 million dollars while our imports from Azerbaijan stood at 205 thousand dollars.
The LCCI President said that Pakistan’s exports to Azerbaijan are mainly comprised of Rice, textile, and frozen meat while we import Petroleum gas from Azerbaijan. There is definitely a need of finding new products lines and new avenues of cooperation for enhancing trade between Pakistan and Azerbaijan.
“It has 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 adding 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.
Mian Nauman Kabir said that the geographical location of two countries is the greatest reason in the way of developing direct trade links. We had better engage Iran as one of the partner for starting transit trade. He said that there is also an immediate need to initiate direct air links between the two countries. Besides that we should develop banking channels between Pakistan and Azerbaijan in order to ensure maximum facilitation for enhancing bilateral trade volume.
He said that 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 President hoped that the working relations between Embassy of Azerbaijan and Lahore Chamber of Commerce will get further strengthened.
He quoted the thought visualized 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 has 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. He said that the poet and philosopher Nẹzāmī, called Ganjavī after his place of birth, Ganja, was the author of Khamseh (“The Quintuplet”), composed some beautiful and romantic poems, including “The Treasure of Mysteries”, “Khosrow and Shīrīn” and “Leyli and Mejnūn” etc.