By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
Azerbaijan is pursuing successful foreign policy, which takes into account the economic interests of the country, and fruitful cooperation with EU member-states is an integral part of it.
Azerbaijani-Croatian Business Forum was held in Baku on April 29, Trend reported.
Speaking at the forum, Rufat Mammadov, Azerbaijan’s Deputy Economy Minister, stated that Azerbaijan and Croatia have great potential for diversification and increase in trade turnover.
He said that last year, the trade turnover between the countries grew by 16 percent, reaching $250 million. This pace can be considered satisfactory, but there is still potential for growth in trade, according to Mammadov.
He added that a broad legal and contractual basis has been formed between the countries, noting that there are significant agreements in many fields, especially in the field of trade and economy. Mammadov emphasized that these documents include agreements on the mutual protection of investments and the elimination of double taxation.
Stressing that all this creates an important platform for expanding trade and investments, Mammadov said that Azerbaijan is interested in expanding business cooperation with Croatia.
In turn, Marija Pejcinovic Buric, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia, stated that her country is open for Azerbaijani investments.
She said that low tax burden, a developed system of cargo transportation and the availability of highly qualified personnel in various fields are among the advantages of investing in Croatia. Buric added that favorable business environment has been formed in Croatia.
Speaking about relations with Azerbaijan, she noted the high level of development of cooperation in the economic sphere. Buric reminded that in 2013, a document on strategic partnership was signed, and the parties also signed an agreement on economic cooperation.
Buric also highly appreciated the pace of Azerbaijan’s development, noting that everyone who visits the country witnesses this.
During a press-conference on the same day, the Croatian deputy PM said that Azerbaijan and Croatia have the potential to increase the mutual trade turnover.
"Azerbaijan and Croatia intend to hold a business forum in Zagreb in the near future,” she said. “We have also created the joint Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation. Its meeting will be held within the forum till the end of 2019 or in early 2020."
In turn, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said that Azerbaijan and Croatia must strengthen cooperation in the transport sector.
"Azerbaijan and Croatia signed an agreement on strategic cooperation in 2013,” he said. “We have discussed this issue today. The volume of bilateral trade turnover is not very big. We considered the ways to increase these volumes. Croatia will receive gas through the Southern Gas Corridor. We also exchanged the views on this issue."
Mammadyarov further stressed that Croatia has repeatedly expressed its opinion on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the basis of four resolutions of the UN Security Council.
It’s evident that Croatia sees in Azerbaijan an important partner in the Caucasus. Given the enhanced interaction between the two countries, the trade and economic cooperation of Azerbaijan and Croatia is expected to reach a new level in the near future.
The turnover between two countries amounted to $247.77 in 2018, which is an increase of more than 15 percent compared to 2017. This proves that the countries' trade and economic cooperation is progressing.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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