Expanding cooperation in business between UAE, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan’s Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev has visited Dubai, as business leaders from Azerbaijan and the UAE gathered in the financial capital to discuss opportunities to invest in Azerbaijan and boost business relations between the two countries.
The business delegation led by Mustafayev attended the 6th meeting of the Azerbaijan-UAE intergovernmental commission for trade, economic and technical cooperation in Dubai on April 21.
Mustafayev, addressing the event, said that Azerbaijan is ready to open a trading house in the UAE and appoint a trade representative there.
The minister noted that Azerbaijan can supply a number of agricultural products to the UAE – hazelnuts, tomatoes, persimmons, apples, sour and sweet cherries, cucumbers, tobacco, chocolate, grapes and others – as well as industrial products – aluminum plates, pipes and other goods.
Sectors in Azerbaijan, which presented opportunities for foreign investment included agriculture, ICT, trade, education and other areas.
Mustafayev said that there is great potential to develop cooperation effectively using the existing opportunities.
The United Arab Emirates has invested $778.1 million in the Azerbaijani economy so far, the minister said adding that Azerbaijan has invested $284.4 million in the UAE. Over 255 UAE companies operate in Azerbaijan.
The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and the UAE declined by 3 percent over the year. Nevertheless, exports from Azerbaijan to the UAE increased by over twofold in the same period.
Mustafayev recalled that the Baku-Dubai and Baku-Sharjah flights are currently being operated, while there is also a plan to launch the Baku-Abu Dhabi flight.
The minister stressed that after simplifying the visa regime and introducing the ASAN Visa system, the number of tourists from the UAE visiting Azerbaijan in the past two years increased by 30 times.
In turn, UAE Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori supported the idea of exporting Azerbaijani products to his country and noted that he would also support the opening of Azerbaijan’s trading house in the UAE and the appointment of a trade representative.
The minister added that the UAE attaches special importance to cooperation with Azerbaijan.
After the meeting, the two sides signed a protocol that provides for expansion of cooperation in communications and high technologies, alternative energy, industry, culture, tourism, transportation, trade, investments, agriculture, environment and other areas.
Within the framework of visit, a delegation of Azerbaijani entrepreneurs led by Mustafayev also had a meeting with the management of DP World Company in Dubai, said the Azerbaijani Economy Ministry.
The Azerbaijani delegation was informed about the work carried out by the DP World Group in the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in the Alat township of Baku’s Garadagh district. The sides discussed the general plan on construction of industrial and logistics infrastructure, development concept of the free trade zone and other issues.
Measures on creation of a free trade zone type special economic area covering the territory of the Baku International Sea Trade Port in the Alat township of Baku’s Garadagh district was inked by a presidential decree on March 17, 2016.
In September 2016, the Azerbaijani government and Dubai Port World (DP World), one of the world’s major port operators, signed an agreement on provision of consulting services for the creation of the FTZ.
During the visit, the Azerbaijani delegation also met with the management of VPS Healthcare Company.
Mustafayev recalled that currently, two medicine plants are being built in Azerbaijan’s Pirallahi Industrial Park, which specializes in pharmaceutics.
The minister noted that negotiations are also underway with other medicine producers.
Recalling that the Azerbaijan Investment Company (AIC) and VPS Healthcare signed a memorandum of understanding in February, Mustafayev said that the groundbreaking ceremony of a joint pharmaceutical plant will be held in the near future.
Moreover, a business forum, which was attended by entrepreneurs of Azerbaijan and the UAE operating in the spheres of industry, agriculture, construction, finance, tourism and others, was also held in Dubai.
The Azerbaijani delegation invited the UAE businessmen to invest in priority spheres of the Azerbaijani economy, such as industry, agriculture, IT and tourism.
Then the Azerbaijani delegation visited the Lulu supermarket chain and met with the company’s management. Participants of the meeting discussed the issues of cooperation and sale of Azerbaijani products in the company’s trade facilities located in the UAE and Gulf countries. It was noted that Azerbaijani products are in great demand in the UAE and some Azerbaijani goods, are already sold in Lulu supermarkets.
Azerbaijani entrepreneurs also visited the Union Coop chain of supermarkets and met with its management. During the meeting, the possibility of selling Azerbaijani products, especially fruits and vegetables, in Union Coop supermarkets was discussed. Representatives of the company noted that certain Azerbaijani products, which are in great demand in the UAE, are already sold in these supermarkets.