ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Defence Production has developed a joint action plan (JAP) to enhance exports with Azerbaijan to $500 million. The decision was taken during an Inter-Ministerial Working Group held on Wednesday, which was co-chaired by Commerce Minister Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan and Defence Production Minister Rana Tanveer. The prime minister had constituted a committee headed by the commerce minister and included secretaries of Ministries of Commerce, Defence Production, Industries and Production, Information Technology and Telecom, National Food Security and Research and Foreign Affairs as its members for enhancing trade and economic relations with Azerbaijan. The commerce secretary has been nominated as the focal person for trade and economic relations. The committee was entrusted with the responsibility of finalising the way forward clearly listing the steps to be taken up. It was also decided during the meeting that under the action plan, the commerce minister would 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 would also be held in Baku, for which FPCCI has already finalised members of JBC from Pakistan side. The plan also includes holding of trade exhibitions and restoring trade connectivity between the two countries. After soliciting input from all the relevant ministries, the working group decided to submit the recommendations of the forum to the PM’s Office within two weeks. During the meeting, Commerce minister 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-year Trade Cooperation Plan to increase the bilateral trade to $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 would be upgraded into a free trade agreement with mutual consent,” the minister added. Minister for Defence Production, Rana Tanveer said that Azerbaijan was more inclined towards Pakistan to import defence-related products, technology, and technical training. This is pertinent to mention that the total Pakistan exports to Azerbaijan were $60 million by the year 2015-16, which is dominated by single product rice, while, Pakistan’s imports from Azerbaijan were only $0.031 million.