Trade, en­ergy re­la­tions be­tween Azer­bai­jan, Czech Repub­lic high­lighted

Azer News - - Front Page - By Kamila Aliyeva

Azer­bai­jani Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev held a meet­ing with a del­e­ga­tion led by Min­is­ter of In­dus­try and Trade of the Czech Repub­lic Marta No­vakova on Septem­ber 12.

Azer­bai­jani Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev held a meet­ing with a del­e­ga­tion led by Min­is­ter of In­dus­try and Trade of the Czech Repub­lic Marta No­vakova on Septem­ber 12.

Re­call­ing Pres­i­dent of the Czech Repub­lic Mi­los Ze­man's visit to Azer­bai­jan, Pres­i­dent Aliyev em­pha­sized that bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries have been de­vel­op­ing suc­cess­fully since that visit.

He de­scribed the devel­op­ment of re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries in var­i­ous fields as sat­is­fac­tory. The head of state un­der­lined an in­crease in trade turnover and stressed the ne­ces­sity of defin­ing ad­di­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties for en­hanc­ing eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion.

Em­pha­siz­ing a broad agenda of the eco­nomic part­ner­ship and suc­cess­ful op­er­a­tion of a num­ber of Czech com­pa­nies in Azer­bai­jan, Il­ham Aliyev noted the im­por­tance of ex­pand­ing trade, in­vest­ment co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries.

In turn, Marta No­vakova, say­ing that her del­e­ga­tion also in­cludes Czech busi­ness­men, stressed the im­por­tance of the Azer­bai­jan-Czech busi­ness fo­rum held in Baku on the same day.

The is­sues of co­op­er­a­tion in the fields of in­dus­try, in­fra­struc­ture, au­to­mo­bile in­dus­try, agri­cul­ture and tourism were dis­cussed dur­ing the meet­ing.

Azer­bai­jan’s role in in­ter­na­tional projects praised

As part of the visit, Marta No­vakova and the Czech del­e­ga­tion also held a meet­ing with the Azer­bai­jan Rail­ways CJSC, the Pub­lic Re­la­tions Depart­ment of the com­pany re­ported.

Chair­man of Azer­bai­jan Rail­ways CJSC Javid Gur­banov in­formed the mem­bers of the Czech del­e­ga­tion about the trans­port and lo­gis­tics po­ten­tial of Azer­bai­jan, the Baku-Tbil­isi-Kars rail­way, as well as the Trans-Caspian In­ter­na­tional Trans­port Route, North-South and South­West trans­port cor­ri­dors.

He noted the high level of re­la­tions be­tween the rail­way agen­cies of the two coun­tries.

Thus, in an ef­fort to im­ple­ment the sec­ond phase of the Re­con­struc­tion of Azer­bai­jani Rail­ways pro­ject, Azer­bai­jan Rail­ways CJSC and the Czech MO­RAVIA STEEL Group A.S. com­pany signed on April 14, 2015, an agree­ment was signed be­tween as an ad­den­dum to the ex­port con­tract "On ma­te­rial and tech­ni­cal sup­ply and over­haul of the 600-kilo­me­ter Baku-Boyuk-Ke­sik sec­tion of rail­ways of the Repub­lic of Azer­bai­jan".

The im­ple­men­ta­tion of the new pro­ject be­gan at the end of Oc­to­ber 2015. The re­pair work in this di­rec­tion is al­ready com­ing to an end.

In turn, the Czech min­is­ter ap­praised the work car­ried out by the Azer­bai­jani side in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of in­ter­na­tional and re­gional projects. The fur­ther ex­pan­sion of bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion was dis­cussed dur­ing the meet­ing.

Azer­bai­jan, Czech Repub­lic may sign new deal

In the course of her visit, Marta No­vakova held a meet­ing with Azer­bai­jan’s En­ergy Min­is­ter Parviz Shah­bazov to ex­change views on the devel­op­ment of en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries and the nec­es­sary mea­sures for the ex­pan­sion of this co­op­er­a­tion.

Not­ing that a sig­nif­i­cant part of the Czech de­mand for oil has been se­cured by Azer­bai­jan, No­vakova spoke about the fu­ture di­rec­tions of co­op­er­a­tion in the en­ergy sec­tor.

Czech Repub­lic is in­ter­ested in con­struc­tion and re­con­struc­tion of new ob­jects in crude oil, nat­u­ral gas, elec­tric­ity, petro­chem­i­cal in­dus­try in Azer­bai­jan. At present, work is un­der­way to de­velop co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries in the field of res­i­den­tial sec­tor and large-scale in­dus­trial en­ter­prises with ex­pe­ri­ence ex­change on en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, al­ter­na­tive and re­new­able en­ergy re­sources and tech­nolo­gies, bioen­ergy and waste man­age­ment.

High­light­ing the cur­rent level of co­op­er­a­tion with the Czech Repub­lic in en­ergy sphere, Shah­bazov said there was a great po­ten­tial for deep­en­ing these re­la­tions. The Azer­bai­jani min­is­ter said that talks with Mavel and PBS Power Equip­ment com­pa­nies on use of al­ter­na­tive en­ergy sources and the Czech ex­pe­ri­ence in the sphere of re­new­able en­ergy would be ben­e­fi­cial for Azer­bai­jan.

The meet­ing also dis­cussed the im­por­tance of the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor in en­sur­ing Europe's en­ergy se­cu­rity. The rel­e­vant bod­ies of the two coun­tries stressed the im­por­tance of sign­ing an agree­ment on en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion in the near fu­ture.

Czech Repub­lic's main trade part­ner in South Cau­ca­sus

The Azer­bai­jani-Czech busi­ness fo­rum was held later on the same day with par­tic­i­pa­tion of Marta No­vakova and Azer­bai­jan’s Econ­omy Min­is­ter Shahin Mustafayev.

Ad­dress­ing the event, Mustafayev said that the two coun­tries have great po­ten­tial for de­vel­op­ing re­la­tions in many ar­eas.

“There is great po­ten­tial be­tween our coun­tries for de­vel­op­ing re­la­tions in fi­nance, in­dus­try, en­gi­neer­ing and chem­i­cal in­dus­try,” he said.

The min­is­ter noted the planned co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Ganja Au­to­mo­bile Plant and the Ta­tra com­pany, and also em­pha­sized the devel­op­ment of re­la­tions in the field of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

Last year, the Ganja Au­to­mo­bile Plant signed a mem­o­ran­dum of co­op­er­a­tion with Ta­tra com­pany, and this mem­o­ran­dum in­volves the assem­bly of Ta­tra trucks, he said.

“I think that pro­duc­tion will be launched within the next two years. I would also like to note the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Czech com­pa­nies in the devel­op­ment of the trans­port sys­tem of Azer­bai­jan. There are also great op­por­tu­ni­ties in the field of con­struc­tion of rail­way cars, in par­tic­u­lar, box­cars, pro­duc­tion of rail­way con­tain­ers,” Mustafayev noted.

He stressed that both coun­tries are in­ter­ested in in­creas­ing the value of mu­tual in­vest­ments.

“So far, the in­vest­ments of the Czech Repub­lic in Azer­bai­jan have amounted to $30 mil­lion, and Azer­bai­jan’s in­vest­ments in the Czech Repub­lic are slightly higher than this fig­ure,” the min­is­ter said. “There are 25 Czech com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in Azer­bai­jan. Czech com­pa­nies are con­trac­tors in eight projects to­tal­ing more than $2 bil­lion. Of course, these indicators are far from our ca­pa­bil­i­ties, and we need to con­tinue to build up mu­tual in­vest­ments,” Mustafayev added.

No­vakova, in turn, said that the Czech Repub­lic is in­ter­ested in es­tab­lish­ing joint ven­tures (JVs) with Azer­bai­jan. Phar­ma­ceu­tics and petro­chem­i­cal in­dus­try are of the great­est in­ter­est for Czech en­tre­pre­neur, she added.

In ad­di­tion, the min­is­ter un­der­lined the pos­si­bil­ity of cre­at­ing a joint ven­ture for pro­duc­tion of rail cars, adding that the Czech Repub­lic has also good ex­pe­ri­ence in the pro­duc­tion of trains. The Czech Repub­lic has good ex­pe­ri­ence in the pro­duc­tion of trains, No­vakova said.

She noted that Azer­bai­jani mar­ket is at­trac­tive for Czech com­pa­nies and Azer­bai­jan is tra­di­tional part­ner of the Czech Repub­lic, adding that the two coun­tries have no prob­lems re­gard­ing po­lit­i­cal or eco­nomic is­sues.

Czech Repub­lic is ready to share ex­pe­ri­ence with Azer­bai­jani part­ners and of­fer tech­nolo­gies in the sphere of do­mes­tic waste pro­cess­ing, con­struc­tion, trans­port, en­ergy and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, ac­cord­ing to the Czech min­is­ter.

There are op­por­tu­ni­ties to create joint ven­tures in the petro­chem­i­cal field, No­vakova added. In 2019, Prague will host the next meet­ing of the Azer­bai­jani-Czech in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal com­mis­sion for eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion.

Speak­ing to jour­nal­ists later, Mustafayev also said that Azer­bai­jan is the main trade part­ner of the Czech Repub­lic among the coun­tries of the South Cau­ca­sus. Azer­bai­jan's share ac­counts for 85 per­cent of the Czech Repub­lic’s trade with the coun­tries of the South Cau­ca­sus.

“In the end of 2017, our trade turnover with the Czech Repub­lic more than dou­bled, com­pared to the end of 2016. It is grat­i­fy­ing that the pos­i­tive dy­nam­ics con­tinue this year as well. Thus, in the first half of this year, trade turnover with the Czech Repub­lic in­creased again by al­most two times com­pared to the same pe­riod last year,” the min­is­ter said

Speak­ing to re­porters, Marta No­vakova said that the Czech Repub­lic is in­ter­ested in in­creas­ing oil im­ports from Azer­bai­jan. She pointed out that presently the Czech Repub­lic im­ports one third of the con­sumed oil from Azer­bai­jan.

The bulk of oil in the Czech Repub­lic is pro­cessed at the Kralupy re­fin­ery, No­vakova noted. She went on to say that the in­crease in im­ports di­rectly de­pends on the in­crease in re­fin­ery ca­pac­ity.

Un­for­tu­nately, the Czech Repub­lic can­not in­flu­ence this is­sue, since the re­fin­ery is presently man­aged by a Pol­ish com­pany, how­ever, ne­go­ti­a­tions re­gard­ing this is­sue are un­der­way, No­vakova added.

Azer­bai­jan is the sec­ond big­gest oil sup­plier to the Czech Repub­lic af­ter Rus­sia. Over 80 per­cent of the trade turnover be­tween Azer­bai­jan and the Czech Repub­lic ac­counts for oil and oil prod­ucts.

At the same time, busi­ness re­la­tions be­tween Azer­bai­jan and the Czech Repub­lic are be­gin­ning to re­vive in the non-oil sec­tor as well. Czech Iveco buses and L-39 planes are sup­plied to Azer­bai­jan.

Azer­bai­jan’s trade turnover with the Czech Repub­lic amounted to $473.02 mil­lion in Jan­uary-July, and al­most $394.3 mil­lion of this vol­ume ac­counted for the ex­port of Azer­bai­jani prod­ucts to the Czech Repub­lic, ac­cord­ing to the State Cus­toms Com­mit­tee of Azer­bai­jan.

In 2017, the trade turnover be­tween the two coun­tries amounted to $664.5 mil­lion, and in 2016 - to $316.3 mil­lion. Azer­bai­jan’s ex­ports to the Czech Repub­lic last year amounted to $556.86 mil­lion [a 2.6 times year-on-year in­crease].

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