By Nigar Abbasova
Russia may increase the volume of its investments in the agricultural sphere of Azerbaijan, as the two countries eye bolstering of the cooperation in the sector.
CEO of Azerbaijan-Russia Business Council Farkhad Sattarov told Trend that the sides are currently discussing implementation of new projects in the sphere.
“We consider a number of projects to attract investments both from Russia to Azerbaijan and vice versa. The talks are currently on the initial stage, therefore it is early to talk about the details,” he said.
Last November, Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev said that Russia invested over $3 billion in Azerbaijan's economy since early 2016, while Azerbaijan invested more than $1 billion in Russian economy.
The agricultural sector is of significant importance for Azerbaijan, which is keen to diminish its dependence on the oil sector. Azerbaijan, being engaged in increasing its export potential and boosting and protecting the population's food security, sees the agricultural sector as a central direction in a bid to diversify the national economy.
Sattarov further said that the agriculture, along with oil, banking sphere is a traditional sphere for Russian investments.
“A branch of Russian VTB Bank and Lukoil company are operating in Azerbaijan. These spheres enjoy great level of potential for the development,” he added.
Talking about the activity of business councils between Azerbaijan and Russia, Sattarov said that a number of mutual visits may be paid in the short run.
The first meeting of Azerbaijan-Russia Business Council, organized by the Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO), was held in October 2016. The event gathered together representatives of about 50 leading companies from the fields of agriculture and food industry, construction, financial sector and other sectors of the economy.
Russia currently ranks the second among foreign trade partners of Azerbaijan. The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Russia exceeded $2.05 billion, with $1.6 billion falling to a share of the import of Russian production.
Some 170 agreements, with 50 being in the sphere of economy have been so far concluded between the two countries.
The government of Azerbaijan earlier took a decision to appoint trade representatives in the Azerbaijani embassies and consulates abroad to facilitate business ties and increase the effectiveness of export promotion measures, represent and fully protect the trade and economic interests of the country.
Ruslan Aliyev, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ateshgah Insurance Group, has been appointed trade representative of Azerbaijan to Russia.
Nigar Abbasova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @nigyar_abbasova
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