ISLAMABAD, MAR 1 /DNA/ – The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) opened CARs and Azerbaijan Facilitation Desk to help its members in promoting trade and exports with Central Asian Republics and Azerbaijan. The Desk was inaugurated by H.E. Atadjan Movlamov Dean of Diplomatic Corps CARs and Ambassador of Turkmenistan, H.E. Khazar Farhadov Ambassador of Azerbaijan, H.E. Yerzhan Kistafin Ambassador of Kazakhstan, H.E. Ismatullo Nasredin Ambassador of Tajikistan and H.E. Ulanbek Totuiave Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan during their visit to ICCI.
Speaking on the occasion H.E. Atadjan Movlamov Dean of Diplomatic Corps CARs and Ambassador of Turkmenistan congratulated ICCI for opening a Facilitation Desk for CARs and Azerbaijan as it would boost Pakistan’s trade ties with these countries. He said that ICCI should set up a web portal on its websites for CARs to help private sectors of Pakistan and CARs to share business proposals with each other.
H.E. Khazar Farhadov, Ambassador of Azerbaijan said that the geographical location of Pakistan is special for CARs and Azerbaijan as these landlocked countries can access many markets through Pakistani ports. He said Azerbaijan would launch more direct flights with Pakistan to promote people to people and B2B ties.
H.E. Yerzhan Kistafin Ambassador of Kazakhstan said that the ICCI Facilitation Desk would be a great milestone to promote trade ties. In April the direct flights between Almaty and Lahore and in May between Almaty and Karachi will start.
H.E. Ulanbek Totuiave Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan said that his country is keen to promote strong economic ties with Pakistan and said that this Facilitation Desk would help in achieving this goal. He said that his country will organize the Investment and Business Forum and invited the ICCI delegation to participate in it.
H.E. Ismatullo Nasredin Ambassador of Tajikistan termed the Facilitation Desk a very good initiative to promote Pakistan’s business relations with CARs and Azerbaijan.
Speaking on the occasion, Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) said that Central Asian Republics (CARs) and Azerbaijan are estimated to be over 90-billion-dollar market with huge potential for business and investment, however, Pakistan’s trade with these countries is not up to the mark. He said that Pakistan can export many products to these countries including textiles, leather, pharmaceuticals, agricultural products, electrical appliances, communications, machinery & equipment and various services. He said that these countries import a large variety of machinery and equipment from various sources, and Pakistan can become a major exporter of these high value products to them. Similarly, Pakistan can import energy and other products from these countries. He said that Pakistan also provides shortest routes through its ports to the landlocked CARs for international trade. He hoped that the CARs and Azerbaijan Facilitation Desk at ICCI would help business community in identifying new areas of promoting trade and investment with these countries.
Faad Waheed, Senior Vice President ICCI said that Pakistan is a gateway for CARs. He said that Pakistan can import energy from CARs and export many products to them that they need.
Khalid Iqbal Malik Group Leader ICCI stressed that the work on CASA 1000 and TAPI projects should be expedited for their completion that would bring many benefits to Pakistan’s economy.
Zafar Bakhtawari, former President ICCI also spoke on the occasion and highlighted many areas that offer good potential for business collaboration between Pakistan and CARs & Azerbaijan. He stressed the need of regional cooperation and development as the bilateral relations are important, but real economic development is only possible by the regional cooperation among Pakistan, CARs & Azerbaijan.