KARACHI: /DNA/ – The Ambassador of Azerbaijan Khazar Farhadov, while highlighting the potential, opportunities and incentives being offered to foreign investors, invited the business and industrial community of Karachi to look into the possibility of investing in the Alat Free Economic Zone (AFEZ) where no value added tax, withholding tax or any other corporate tax was applicable and there was no restriction on foreign ownership.
Exchanging views at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Envoy added that Pakistani investors by setting up their business units in Azerbaijan, in addition to availability of complete infrastructure, tax exemptions and other incentives, will experience a business-friendly environment due to reduced red tape and ongoing reforms in the macroeconomic environment, human capital & labor market, infrastructure & utilities, investor protection, foreign trade facilitation and technology & innovations.
President KCCI Muhammad Idrees, Senior Vice President Abdul Rehman Naqi, Vice President Qazi Zahid Hussain, Chairman of Diplomatic Missions & Embassies Liaison Subcommittee Zia ul Arfeen, Former President KCCI Majyd Aziz, Second Secretary of Azerbaijan Embassy, Shahbala Karimov, Third Secretary/ Media Attaché Azerbaijan Embassy Elchin Mehdiyev and KCCI Managing Committee Members attended the meeting.
Azerbaijani Ambassador further pointed out that a total of 2137 Pakistani companies were registered in Azerbaijan covering key sectors including industry, trade, services, construction, transport and telecommunication while the overall investment by Pakistani companies in Azerbaijan stood at US$4.2 million during the period from 1995-2021. “Azerbaijan with a population of 10.1 million, GDP per capita of US$3693 and foreign direct investment of US$14.8 billion in the non-oil sector can offer profitable investment opportunities to the business community of Karachi in the agriculture, construction, petrochemicals, renewables, transport, mining, digital economy and tourism sectors”, he added.
Highlighting the business opportunities between the two countries, he said that Pakistani businessmen can export clothes and other textile products, optic and medical equipment, pharmaceutical products, rice, mangoes, bananas and other tropical fruits while Azerbaijan can export cotton & cotton yarn, polymers of ethylene or propylene, black fermented tea, tomatoes, hazzle nuts, strawberries, berries, vegetables, fruit juices, sauces etc.
Earlier, President KCCI Muhammad Idrees, w1hile welcoming the Ambassador, stated that during 2020, Pakistan’s exports to Azerbaijan stood at $11.63 million and imports totaled to $1.66 million which were quite meagre and much below the true potential. “It is essential that the two countries must get engaged in exchange of delegations at the governmental and the private sector level for promotion of bilateral trade and strengthening the economic cooperation and partnership”, he added.
Underscoring the need to explore other different products holding great potential, he stressed that trade could be enhanced by focusing on pharmaceutical, confectionary items, dates, flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloy steel, plastics and chemicals. “Moreover, as the construction sector is one of the fastest growing areas of Azerbaijan’s economy and Pakistan is a major exporter of top-quality cement, hence we can provide this essential raw material to Azerbaijan for fulfilling its construction needs.”
He further stated that Azerbaijan produces various agricultural products including cotton, grain, olives, sugar beets, hazelnuts, pulses, citrus and livestock etc. which were highly demanded in Pakistan as well hence, these commodities can be supplied by Azerbaijan.
“The two countries also have potential of joint ventures in pharmaceutical, agriculture and manufacturing sectors”, Muhammad Idrees said, “Pakistan can also export to Azerbaijan its value-added agricultural products like Basmati rice, mangoes, fruits, sports and surgical goods. Pakistan with a huge population of more than 221 million offers a lucrative consumer market to investors and traders of Azerbaijan.”
He invited Azerbaijan’s investors to explore business opportunities in Pakistan and also participate in the CPEC project through investments and joint ventures.
He also invited Azerbaijan business community to participate in My Karachi Exhibition scheduled to be organized in the month of March 2022. This mega event provides an excellent opportunity to businessmen for B2B meetings and for interaction providing a one window facility for promotion of trade.