Azerbaijan, Belarus keen to strengthen multifaceted cooperation [PHOTO]
By Nigar Abbasova
Baku and Minsk have managed to bolster bilateral ties in 2016, strengthening cooperation in a number of important spheres.
Belarusian Ambassador to Baku Gennady Ahramovich said that the activation of bilateral relations between the two countries became the main outcome of the year.
Speaking at a press conference on December 28, the envoy said that the sides are currently working to ensure a long-term and sustainable character of the relations, adding that the countries intend to further strengthen cooperation in 2017.
Commenting on negative effects of the global crisis on trade relations , Ahramovich said that the volume of trade turnover decreased by almost 50 percent as compared to the figures of 2015 amounting to some $104 million in January-October 2016.
The envoy mentioned that the sides will spare no effort to increase the figure in 2017, adding that a significant increase - nearly threefold - has already been recorded in Azerbaijani exports.
The envoy stressed that the industrial cooperation accounts for some 20 percent of the trade turnover between the countries.
He went on saying that the two countries will work on the expansion of export volumes of vehicles and agricultural machinery, manufactured at the Ganja Automobile Plant, to third countries.
“I want to emphasize the activity of Ganja Automobile Plant. The range of Belarusian vehicles assembled at the plant is steadily increasing. The plant has so far manufactured over 8,000 “Belarus” tractors and more than 3,000 MAZ freight vehicles,” he said, mentioning that the plant also implements equipment supplies to third countries.
“We have already organized the export of tractors to Georgia and are currently engaged in increasing the supplies to third countries. Besides, the work is underway on the launch of manufacture of units and assemblies for further transfer to Belarus. One of the other perspectives is manufacture of Belarusian busses in Ganja,” he added.
In addition, Minsk Tractor Plant and Ganja Plant intend to bring the joint annual level of equipment assembly to the level of 2,000 units by 2020.
As for the cooperation in the agriculture sector, the ambassador said that the first store of Azerbaijani products will be opened in Belarus in 2017, noting that this was the key issue of talks held within a visit of Azerbaijan’s Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev to Belarus.
“The talks are underway on the creation of Azerbaijani trade houses in Belarus. Belarus may be interested in the supplies of tobacco, cotton, wine, cognac and other production,” he said.
Ahramovich also added that some five stores with Belarusian goods already operate in Baku, while similar sale points are planned to be created in other cities.
More than 270 Belarusian and Azerbaijani companies, which deal hundreds of commodities, are involved in mutual trade. Around 45 Azerbaijani companies are dealers and distributors of the Belarusian enterprises in Azerbaijan.
Ahramovich also touched upon the issue of energy cooperation, saying that his country is interested in the processing of Azerbaijani oil at its refineries.
He mentioned that Azerbaijan earlier supplied some 85,000 tons of oil to Mozyr refinery, providing uninterrupted operation of the plant.
“There are two refineries in Belarus (in Mozyr and Navapolatsk) that are able to produce oil products corresponding to Euro – 5 and Euro – 6 standards. Therefore, it is worthwhile to talk about cooperation. Both sides are interested in the processing of Azerbaijani oil in Belarusian refineries, as well as in further sale of production abroad. As for the forecasted volumes of oil supplies from Azerbaijan to Belarus in 2017, the envoy said that the volume will between determined by the relevant companies of the two countries.
In October, the first oil batch of Azerbaijani oil (84,700 tons) was shipped from the Supsa port to the Odessa port being further and loaded to rail tankers and delivered to Mozyr via Ukraine. The shipment was implemented by SOCAR Trading.
Nigar Abbasova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @nigyar_abbasova
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