In follow-up of the Prime Minister of Pakistan’s visit to Azerbaijan last month, Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Defense Production has developed a joint action plan to enhance exports to $500 million.
The decision was taken during an Inter-Ministerial Working Group held here the other day, which was co-chaired by the Minister for Commerce, Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan and Minister for Defense Production, Mr. Rana Tanveer.
The Prime Minister had constituted a committee headed by Minister for Commerce and including Secretaries Ministries of Commerce, Defense Production, Industries & Production, Information Technology & Telecom, National Food Security and Research and Foreign Affairs as its members for enhancing trade and economic relations with Azerbaijan.
The Secretary Commerce has been nominated as the focal person for trade and economic relations. The committee was entrusted with the responsibility of finalizing the way forward clearly listing the steps to be taken up.
It was also decided during the meeting that under the action plan, the Minister for Commerce will lead a delegation to Azerbaijan later this month, which would comprise of prominent businessmen from export-oriented sectors of Pakistan.
On the sidelines of the visit, a meeting of Pakistan-Azerbaijan Joint Business Council will also be held in Baku for which FPCCI has already finalized members of JBC from Pakistan side. The plan also includes holding of trade exhibitions and restoring trade connectivity between two countries. After soliciting input from all the relevant ministries, the working group decided to submit the recommendations of the forum to the PM Office within two weeks.
During the meeting, Minister for Commerce said that Azerbaijan has shown particular interest to import pharmaceuticals and experience sharing in textile value addition from Pakistan as part of the enhanced cooperation plan.
“We have prepared a Five Years Trade Cooperation Plan to increase the bilateral trade to US$ 500 million and for diversification of export sectors,” he said.
“The plan envisages of enhanced market access to Azerbaijan through the preferential trading arrangement, which subsequently will be upgraded into a free trade agreement with mutual consent,” the Minister added.
Minister for Defense Production, Rana Tanveer said that Azerbaijan is more inclined towards Pakistan to import defense-related products, technology, and technical training.
This is pertinent to mention here that the total Pakistan exports to Azerbaijan were $60 million by the year 2015-16, which is dominated by a single product i-e Rice. Whereas, Pakistan’s imports from Azerbaijan were only $0.031 million for the same year.
Source: Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage