Azerbaijan considers Pakistan and Turkiye as its special friends and wants to further strengthen bilateral trade and economic relations with them. Azerbaijan-Turkiye bilateral trade is approximately USD 6 billion and Azerbaijan wants a similar trade volume with Pakistan that would be very beneficial for both countries. This was said by Khazar Farhadov, Ambassador of Azerbaijan while exchanging views with the business community during his visit to Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI), said a press release issued here. Khazar Farhadov said that direct flights between Azerbaijan and Pakistan operated by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had improved bilateral trade three times between the two countries in 2022 and Azerbaijan Airlines will also start direct flights with Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad very soon and is also considering to start direct flights to industrial and export centres of Pakistan, which would further contribute to increase bilateral trade between the two brotherly countries. He said that Azerbaijan under the instructions of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has given exemption from customs duty on import of rice from Pakistan, and the Pakistani business community should take benefit of this facility. He said that Azerbaijan and Pakistan have formed Working Groups under Joint Ministerial Commission to increase bilateral cooperation in various sectors including agriculture, trade, banking, IT, tourism, transport, energy, health and said that ICCI should cooperate in identifying companies for these workings groups so that private sectors could lead the promotion of bilateral cooperation in these sectors between the two countries. Ambassador informed that 2023 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Heydar Aliyev, the founder of the independent state of Azerbaijan. He said that the Embassy of Azerbaijan in collaboration with ICCI is planning to organize a joint event on the founding role of Heydar Aliyev in development of Azerbaijan-Pakistan relations. Speaking at the occasion, Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that Pak-Azerbaijan bilateral trade is not up to the real potential of both countries and stressed for exploring new ways of increasing trade between both countries. He emphasized creating better awareness in the private sectors of both countries about each other’s markets to increase business ties. He said that both countries are doing trade in limited items and there is a need of finding new product lines and avenues of cooperation for enhancing trade volume between the two countries. Faad Waheed, Senior Vice President, ICCI said that both countries should encourage regular exchange of trade delegations to explore all untapped areas of mutual cooperation. He assured that ICCI would provide a list of companies for Working Groups to make them more effective and result-oriented. Zafar Bakhtawari, former President ICCI welcomed the establishment of direct airlinks between Pakistan and Azerbaijan, which are very important to promote people-to-people and trade relations. He said that ICCI would cooperate in promoting “Made in Azerbaijan” in Pakistan and hoped that the Ambassador would also cooperate in promoting “Made in Pakistan” in Azerbaijan to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. Raja Imtiaz, Rizwan Cheema and others were also present at the occasion.