Azerbaijan Envoy for Strengthening Economic Ties with Pakistan

Azerbaijan Envoy for Strengthening Economic Ties with Pakistan

Karachi, April 19, 2024 – Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Pakistan, Khazar Farhadov, emphasized the critical need for enhancing economic collaboration between Azerbaijan and Pakistan during a meeting at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI).

Farhadov underscored the existing strong political, defense, and historical ties between the two nations but highlighted the necessity of further developing economic and business relations, urging for increased engagement of the private sector.

Addressing the gathering, Ambassador Farhadov highlighted the significance of Joint Working Groups established as part of the Azerbaijan-Pakistan Intergovernmental Joint Commission’s seventh session in December 2021. He stressed the importance of involving private entities in these groups to bolster trade and economic cooperation across various sectors such as trade, agriculture, banking, energy, tourism, and information technology.

Furthermore, Farhadov informed attendees about ongoing efforts to negotiate Transit Trade and Preferential Trade Agreements between Azerbaijan and Pakistan, aimed at fostering improved trade ties. He noted that a significant step towards this goal was the exemption of import customs duty on rice imported from Pakistan by Azerbaijan until December 31, 2027.

The ambassador highlighted the momentum gained in bilateral relations following the official visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to Azerbaijan in June 2023. He outlined the mutual commitments made during the visit to enhance cooperation in information communication technologies, transport, defense industry, energy, and trade, which have resulted in tangible achievements.

Regarding energy cooperation, Farhadov mentioned the resumption of LNG supplies by the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) to Pakistan and the potential for mutual investments in energy and IT sectors. He noted a significant increase in bilateral trade transactions, exceeding US$100 million in 2023, reflecting a threefold increase compared to previous years.

In addition to economic collaboration, Farhadov emphasized the importance of people-to-people contacts facilitated by initiatives such as direct flights between Baku and major cities in Pakistan operated by Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL). He highlighted the role of such connectivity in fostering trade and cultural exchange between the two nations.

President of KCCI, Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh, expressed Pakistan’s commitment to furthering its historical relationship with Azerbaijan, stressing the need for enhancing trade cooperation. Sheikh highlighted the untapped potential in bilateral trade, especially in sectors such as agriculture, energy, textiles, and pharmaceuticals.

Sheikh underscored the significance of Azerbaijan’s assistance in addressing Pakistan’s energy challenges, as well as opportunities for joint ventures and investments in Special Economic Zones under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He urged Azerbaijan to participate in upcoming trade exhibitions in Karachi to explore potential business opportunities and deepen economic ties between the two countries.

In conclusion, both Ambassador Farhadov and President Sheikh reiterated their commitment to fostering economic collaboration and leveraging the existing strong bilateral relations to unlock new avenues for mutual prosperity and development.