LAHORE, Pakistan: Ambassador of Azerbaijan Dashgin Shikarov said on Saturday that Azerbaijan is keen to strengthen trade and economic ties with Pakistan and joint efforts from business community of both sides can help tap huge potential existed in both countries.
He was talking to Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad here at Lahore Chamber, where LCCI executive committee members were also present.
The Ambassador invited the Pakistani businessmen to participate in the exhibition and forum being planned for April 2016 in Azerbaijan and Pakistan. The proposed exhibition and forum would provide Pakistani entrepreneurs an opportunity to establish close contacts with their counterparts in Azerbaijan, he observed.
Shikarov said that bilateral trade between the two countries could be flourished through exchange of trade delegations and holding of single country exhibitions.
The LCCI President said that both Pakistan and Azerbaijan have good diplomatic relations and enjoy strong bonds of Islamic brotherhood but these ties are hardly reflected in two-way trade. He said that in 2013, the value of total exports of Pakistan to Azerbaijan was USD 49.7 million which shrunk to USD 27.7 million in 2014.
“It is unfortunate that Pakistan does not figure prominently among the trading partners of Azerbaijan and main reason of such a low level of trade is lack of proper information about each other’s markets,” he said. He proposed that commercial sections of respective embassies should share market survey reports with their national chambers.
Sheikh Arshad stressed need for providing every possible assistance to increase private to private contacts and bilateral trade. America has decided to lift economic sanctions on Iran which would certainly increase bilateral trade between Pakistan and Iran. It can be assumed that Pakistan can easily transport goods via Iran to Azerbaijan which would be beneficial for two way trade, he maintained.
Sheikh Muhammad Arshad said that ground realities favour trading of such products which are light in weight and costly in terms of value.
“Since the businessmen choose to get their shipments airlifted because of difficult and risky land routes, so we need to identify more such items like sports goods, technical/medical apparatus, tobacco and precious stones etc.,” he suggested.