Azerbaijan, Poland discuss further cooperation

By Amina Nazarli

Azerbaijan and Poland agreed to expand cooperation in various fields during the Azerbaijan-Poland Business Forum, held in Baku on December 15.

The sixth meeting of the Azerbaijani-Polish intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation was held as part of the visit of Janusz Piechocinski, Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister of Poland who was accompanied by a large delegation representing various sectors of the economy.

The event was co-organized by the Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) and the Economy and Industry Ministry.

Earlier, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received the delegation led by Piechocinski.

Noting that the trade between the two countries has increased, the head of state said there were bright prospects for cooperation between the two countries in the economic, investment making and other areas.

The minister, for his turn, said Azerbaijan`s achievements in non-oil sector were followed with great interest in Poland.

During the meeting, the two sides talked about Azerbaijan’s role in EU energy security.

Azerbaijan’s large energy projects aim to ensure energy security of Europe, said Azerbaijani Energy Minister Natig Aliyev.

Aliyev also stressed Azerbaijan's interest in sharing its experience in exploration and development of natural resources. "The bilateral cooperation in the fields of energy efficiency, alternative and renewable energy sources is attractive for Azerbaijan.”

Piechocinski noted that Poland will support Azerbaijan's efforts to ensure energy security of the EU and the works carried out in the gas sector.

“I hope that Azerbaijani companies can also operate in the Warsaw Stock Exchange, the largest one in Central and Eastern Europe,” he said. “Thus, it may give further impetus for cooperation of Azerbaijan with the EU countries.”

Piechocinski stressed the necessity of creating effective and reliable energy supply system with non-EU partners. “I am sure, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, to be built by Azerbaijan will be perceived in Europe as an important mechanism ensuring European energy security, as well as a source of long-term and lucrative contracts.”

Azerbaijani gas can reach Poland, if it is included in European gas pipeline system, he added.

“We doubled our gas reserves at the state level, and built some gas ports and gas terminals. So, we are now ready to sign contracts for liquid gas to ensure Europe’s energy security,” Piechocinski noted.

During the meeting, the sides proposed to hold an event for presenting their transport opportunities, in particular, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars new railway line and port facilities in Azerbaijan. They also stressed necessity of developing a roadmap for cooperation in the transport sector.

“The increasing trade turnover between the two countries and the ever-increasing import of Azerbaijani goods show that Poland is ready to buy the Azerbaijani products,” Piechocinski said.

He further noted that only last year, the Azerbaijani fruit and vegetable exports increased thrice, adding that the growing cooperation paves the way for the two sides to talk about mutual investments.

“We invite Azerbaijani companies to the Polish stock exchange, which is the largest one in Eastern Europe. We also need to consider the possibility of mutual business services, including in the finance and insurance,” he said.

Azerbaijan and Poland can work together on the third markets, he added. “It is necessary to seize the opportunity to strengthen our joint work and create a climate for further expansion of relations,” the minister noted.

The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Poland stood at nearly 72.4 million manats ($92,600,222.) for 11 months of 2014, according to Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee.

Meanwhile, some $56.95 million accounted for Poland’s import and some $15.48 million for its export.

The trade turnover between the two sides has increased by more than 48 percent in 2014 compared with last year.

During the meeting, the two countries also discussed issues connected with tourism, noting that both sides are interested in increasing tourist flows.

“Unlike other areas of cooperation, tourism lags behind other sectors in terms of development. It is necessary to coordinate our efforts to increase the tourist flows in both directions. We have a great capacity in this field,” Aliyev said.

During the meeting the sides also expressed their willingness to cooperate in housing and communal services, transport, agriculture, food industry, energy, environmental protection, chemical industry, transport and logistics fields.

The meeting also discussed the expansion of economic ties, cooperation in the field of agriculture, the organization of industrial parks and agro-parks and others.

The Polish minister stated that the visit to Sumgayit Chemical Industrial Park will create appropriate grounds for cooperation between the two countries.

Following the forum, a protocol was signed between the two countries.