By Sara Israfilbayova
Baku hosted the first meeting of Azerbaijan-Pakistan Joint Working Group on agricultural cooperation on December 7.
Pakistani Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan and Azerbaijani Minister of Agriculture Heydar Asadov discussed the level of political relations between the two countries.
Speaking of this, Asadov stressed that the political relations between the two sides are at the high level, adding that these relations are manifested in all spheres.
Further, the minister noted that Azerbaijan, which is keen to diversify its economy on the basis of further development of the non-oil sector, defines agriculture as one the main directions.
The minister went on to say that the total value of agricultural products imported from Pakistan to Azerbaijan amounted to $3 million in 2016, while export from Azerbaijan to Pakistan amounted to $10,000, adding that it is necessary to strengthen the legal framework for improving the relations between Azerbaijan and Pakistan in the agrarian sphere.
“The working group should investigate the structure of imports and exports and compare prices. At present Pakistan annually imports agricultural products worth $7 billion, some of them, such as grapes, apples, etc., can be imported from Azerbaijan at cheaper prices. The group should in a short time give concrete proposals for expansion of trade,” the minister stated.
Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, in turn, said he is ready to provide the necessary support for cooperation.
He also noted that Pakistani farmers are interested in tractors “Belarus” produced in Azerbaijan.
Further, the Pakistani Minister mentioned that Pakistan is the 4th largest cotton producer in the world, adding the countries have the opportunity to exchange experience and cooperate in the production of cottonseed oil.
At the first meeting of the Joint Working Group, other issues of mutual interest in agriculture were discussed and a final protocol on cooperation in this sphere was signed.
Moreover, he said that Pakistan is an exporter of rice. The country produces about 7 million tons of rice a year, of which 4 million are exported, according to him.
In conclusion, Bosan proposed to hold an exhibition of Pakistani products in Azerbaijan, starting from May next year.
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan was one of the first countries that recognized the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan on December 12, 1991. The diplomatic relations between two countries were established on June 9, 1992.
The military cooperation takes a special place in Azerbaijan-Pakistan relations. Pakistan backed Azerbaijan during and after the Nagorno-Karabakh War and it is the only country that does not recognize Armenia.
Pakistan also adopted a resolution strongly condemning the genocide against the civilian population of Khojaly, which was committed by Armenian armed forces.
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