New era in rise of Azerbaijan-China trade relations [COMMENTARY]
China stepped out among the traditional trade partners of Azerbaijan by leaving them behind in imports. Russia and Turkiye ranked first and second places in imports since the inception of Azerbaijan's independence. It is the first time, China has overtaken them. Until eight years ago, China even was not among the top five importers and it ranked third place for eight years from 2016-2022.
In 11 months of the current year, Azerbaijan's imports from China soared by 47 percent and amounted to $2.5bn. However, Azerbaijan's imports from Russia increased by 19 percent, and from Turkiye grew by 5.6 percent. It is interesting how long China will stand on holding the first place.
In a comment for Azernews on the issue, Sinomach Holding Eurasian Region Commercial Director Kanan Guluzade noted that China is the main trade partner of Azerbaijan. The development of trade and economic relations between the two countries is based on the development of political relations in recent years. As for the products Azerbaijan purchases from China, he noted that these are mainly construction materials, equipment, electronics, cars, and some other designated products.
“As I mentioned earlier, we can show Azerbaijan's participation in the "One Belt, One Road" initiative, which envisages rapprochement with China, as well as Azerbaijan's geostrategic position and restoration of the historical Silk Road.
At the same time, I would like to emphasize the fact that the People's Republic of China supports Azerbaijan's territorial integrity in the international arena and that recently the heads of both states have frequently met and discussed the Trans-Caspian and Middle Corridor logistics routes,” K. Guluzade noted.
As for the question of who can challenge China in the Azerbaijani market in the future, the Director of the Holding noted that it could be India. He pointed out that India is a rising power in terms of production in Asia and very soon it could be seen that the Azerbaijani market filled with Indian-made products.
“The strengthening of production, the clash of commercial interests, convergences based on the demand of the time, etc. repeated throughout history. In this direction, the rapid development of Indian production is noticeable. I think that after some time it is predicted that Indian products will appear and dominate the Azerbaijani market,” he said.
Apart from these, it should be noted that Azerbaijan's exports to China amounted to $74m which is very low compared to imports. So, it is observed a negative balance worth $2.5bn in trade turnover between the two countries in favor of China. During the said period, Georgia, the neighboring country, exported products worth $274 m to China which is 3.7 times more compared to Azerbaijan.
Kanan Guluzade answered the question that arose in this regard. He attributed the reason that despite the fact that the economy of Azerbaijan is strong among the South Caucasus states, it does not export as much goods to China as Georgia, because the Chinese market is different from other markets.
"The Chinese market is different from other markets and it is very specific. Different cultures and different customs determine the type and characteristics of non-oil products exported from Azerbaijan to China. As regards Georgia, the country's development in this direction is also different. Both countries are members of the International Trade Organization, which allows Georgian products to enter the Chinese market without import duties. Thus, Georgian wines, which are more resistant to competition, are sold cheaper in China. Due to the fact that price is one of the main elements of the market, the corresponding wines have gained a special rating in the Chinese market.
Azerbaijani products also have a special potential in this direction. I can especially emphasize the efforts of our country's newly appointed ambassador to China, Bunyad Huseynov, and Trade Representative Teymur Nadiroglu.
Besides, Azerbaijan Trading Houses, which have started operating in many Chinese cities, are an example of this. I believe that in a short time, a positive balance in trade turnover between Azerbaijan and China will be in our favor,” the expert added.
Qabil Ashirov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @g_Ashirov
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