Ilham Aliyev: Additional measures required to foster economic cooperation with Russia
Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Maxim Oreshkin paid a working visit to Azerbaijan, during which the participants discussed the current state and prospects of trade and economic relations between the two countries.
Within the visit, Oreshkin attended the enlarged meeting of the Russian-Azerbaijani and Azerbaijani Russian business councils and the opening of the representative office of REC in Azerbaijan.
At first the Russian minister was received by President Ilham Aliyev, who emphasized that bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Russia are successfully developing in all spheres, and noted the importance of taking additional measures to further expand economic cooperation and increase trade turnover. The President expressed satisfaction with the growth of Azerbaijani exports to Russia.
The head of state said that the visit of Maxim Oreshkin to Azerbaijan creates a good opportunity to consider the issue of expanding the two countries’ import and export opportunities.
The Russian minister noted with satisfaction the growth of agricultural products from Azerbaijan by 60 percent.
Saying that even in the Soviet period, Russian consumers received quality agricultural products from Azerbaijan, Oreshkin noted that this growth was perceived by Russians as good news.
He added that Russia made a decision on the entry of agricultural products of 14 more Azerbaijani companies to its markets.
During the meeting, the importance of the International North South Transport Corridor for both countries was emphasized.
Meanwhile, the dynamic growth in trade relations between the two countries was noted, and the opportunities of cooperation in the areas of mutual investments, tourism and transit transport were discussed.
Russian Export Center appears in Azerbaijan
The opening ceremony of Russian Export Center (REC) office in Baku, an additional powerful mean assisting growth of trade turnover between the two countries, was held on December 25. It is REC`s fifth office worldwide after Iran, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Vietnam.
Addressing the event, Azerbaijani Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev said that opening of the REC office in Baku will foster development of trade turnover between Russia and Azerbaijan.
The minister stressed that the relations between Azerbaijan and Russia dynamically develop in all spheres - political, economic and humanitarian ones.
“As for the economic sphere, I should note that the trade turnover and the volume of mutual investment between our countries are steadily growing,” he said. “We constantly apply new tools, and the opening of the REC office in Azerbaijan is one of such tools. Besides, it is necessary to note the opening of the trade representation of Azerbaijan in Russia and the fact that this is the first Azerbaijani trade representation in a foreign country. This once again shows the partnership level between our countries.”
In turn, Russian Minister for Economic Development Maksim Oreshkin noted that trade between Azerbaijan and Russia is growing successfully, and therefore, all the tools that will foster this growth are very important.
“The REC office in Azerbaijan will also help us create joint production chains and value chains, and both Azerbaijan and Russia will benefit from this,” said Oreshkin.
Speaking at the event, head of the REC Group Peter Fradkov stressed that the portfolio volume of the REC on the support of Russian companies in Azerbaijan amounted to almost $500 million, adding that the opening of a representative office in Azerbaijan is very important for the REC.
He went on to say that the funds of the REC were allocated for projects in various spheres of the economy, including railway engineering and transport projects, as well as support of investments in Azerbaijan.
“At the same time, we understand that there is much greater potential for cooperation. Therefore, the opening of this office shows that we will continue supporting not only large companies, but also small and medium-sized enterprises,” he added.
REC is a state institution supporting non-resource exports, providing Russian exporters with a wide range of financial and non-financial support measures.
The mission of the REC is to support and develop non-resource exports through participation in public policy and the creation of a single effective development institution.
Business councils’ meeting
Later on, Azerbaijani-Russian and Russian-Azerbaijani business councils held an expanded meeting, which brought together officials, representatives of companies operating in industry, construction, banking, food, mechanical engineering, metallurgy, transport, and pharmacy.
At the meeting, Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev emphasized the high level of Azerbaijani-Russian relations and the level of strategic partnership, the importance of mutual visits of the heads of state in the expansion of cooperation. Speaking about the economic relations between Azerbaijan and Russia, Mustafayev noted that Russia is one of the key trade partners of Azerbaijan and trade relations between the two countries are developing dynamically in 2017.
Azerbaijan attaches special importance to the development of economic ties in Russia, and from this point of view it is very important to use new mechanisms to expand trade and economic cooperation, he noted.
Presently, Russia is one of the main trade partners of Azerbaijan, he said, adding that Russia ranks third in the overall commodity turnover as well as in terms of imports, and first in Azerbaijan’s nonoil export.
“This is a good indicator, but it is necessary to use new mechanisms for the future development of trade between our countries,” he noted. “We are already applying various mechanisms, including the opening of the Azerbaijani business center in Astrakhan city and the establishment of the Astrakhan business center in Azerbaijan, as well as today’s opening of the Russian Export Center’s office in Baku.”
Mustafayev also noted the high volume of mutual investments between the two countries, stressing that the volume of Azerbaijani investments in Russia exceeded $1 billion. In addition, more than 700 companies with Russian capital operate in Azerbaijan.
Positively assessing the work of business councils, Mustafayev called on the Azerbaijani-Russian and Russian-Azerbaijani business councils to hold discussions with the participation of AZPROMO and similar Russian structures to establish concrete cooperation. He noted that the creation of joint ventures in industrial parks of Azerbaijan, cooperation in the field of oil engineering, production of agricultural products for the Russian market are examples of such cooperation.
While making remarks at the event, Oreshkin said that Russia’s investments into Azerbaijan have reached $1.5 billion.
The minister stressed the high potential of economic relations between the two countries.
“This is a positive fact that the volume of mutual investments between the two countries is growing,” he said. “Russia’s investments into Azerbaijan have already reached $1.5 billion. Azerbaijan is also actively investing in Russia.”
Oreshkin added that the two countries have achieved great progress in solving many issues.
“A week ago, 14 Azerbaijani companies received permission for the supply of tomatoes to the Russian market,” he said. “The capacity of these companies is more than 60,000 tons, so we expect big volumes to be supplied to Russia.”
“Both sides have outlined directions for further work and they will continue to work in this direction with the aim of diversifying the Azerbaijani and Russian economies,” the minister said.
The minister also stressed the possibility of joint export of both Russian and Azerbaijani products to the markets of third countries.
Then, a ceremony of signing a number of memorandums of understanding (MoU) between the Azerbaijani and Russian companies was held.
President Ilham Aliyev received a delegation led by Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Maxim Oreshkin.