By Leman Mammadova
Azerbaijan strives to expand the sales of local products in Chinese markets under the Made in Azerbaijan brand to promote the non-oil exports of the country.
The next export mission to China, organized by the Ministry of Economy and the Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO), has headed to Yiwu, one of the commercial cities of this country.
A business forum with participation of representatives of Azerbaijani companies producing food, juice, wine and spirits, as well as local businessmen was held within the visit to the city of Yiwu.
Speaking at the opening of the forum, Vice Mayor of Yiwu Li Junfu said that the city, China's "capital of small-scale goods”, is ready to cooperate with Azerbaijan, which is located on the Silk Road. He stressed that China's "One Belt, One Road" strategy created new great opportunities for cooperation between the two countries in various fields.
He called on businessmen from both countries to take advantage of these opportunities and thus to contribute to bilateral economic and trade relations.
Speaking about recent developments in economic and trade relations between the two countries, Trade Representative of Azerbaijan in China Teymur Nadiroglu said that Azerbaijan was one of the first countries who supported China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative.
He noted that Azerbaijan, located on transport routes between Asia and Europe, is able to make a major contribution to the implementation of this strategy with its economic, including transit-logistical, capabilities.
At the end of the forum, bilateral meetings were held between businessmen, discussions on export of competitive products to China were held and initial agreement was reached in this regard.
Recently, Azerbaijani and Chinese companies have signed ten agreements covering various fields on the sidelines of the Second Belt and Road Forum. The total worth of the contracts is $821 million.
At present, Azerbaijan’s trade and wine houses operate in Shanghai, Urumqi and Liuzhou cities to ensure the export of local products to China under the Made in Azerbaijan brand. In addition, the country is planning to open its trading house in the city of Xi'an.
Trading houses play an important role in promoting Azerbaijani products to the Chinese market. They help the entrepreneurs to establish direct contacts with their customers, get support in promoting their products and analyze the potential sales markets.
Azerbaijan is China's key trade partner in the South Caucasus region. Last year, the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and China exceeded $1.3 billion, making up 43 percent of China’s total trade turnover with the countries of the South Caucasus.
Over the past period, Azerbaijan invested $1.7 billion in China, and Chinese investments to Azerbaijan exceeded $800 million.
Azerbaijan became a signatory to the Belt and Road Energy Partnership Declaration in October 2018. China announced the Belt and Road initiative in 2013, aimed at creating infrastructure and establishing links among the Eurasian countries back. This Chinese strategy envisages two key areas of development: the economic belt of the Silk Road and the maritime Silk Road. It is related to the creation of trade corridor for direct deliveries of goods from East to West on preferential terms.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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