By Leman Mammadova
EU, the main trade partner of Azerbaijan, has been implementing major projects in the country to achieve improvements in many directions of economy.
Two thirds of European companies operating in Azerbaijan consider the possibility of additional investments in projects in the country, states the EU Azerbaijan Business Climate Report 2019.
According to the report surveying 130 European companies operating in Azerbaijan, 64 percent of respondents believe that the economic prospects in the country will be stable in 2019. At the same time, 45 percent of respondents predict a stable investment trend, and 47 percent plan to keep the staff at the current level.
As for the sectoral forecasts, 61 percent of respondents rate the sphere of their activity satisfactorily, 16 percent - strongly and 23 percent - weakly. For comparison, last year 33 percent of respondents rated the sphere of their activity weakly and only 46 percent – satisfactorily.
Some 41 percent of the surveyed companies expect growth in their revenues, 35 percent - maintaining them at a stable level, and only 16 percent expecting their reduction.
At the same time, 29 percent of the companies intend to increase their capital expenditures in the current year, while 45 percent plan to keep them at the current level.
The report also reads that the European companies operating in Azerbaijan expect the implementation of five major reforms in the country. Some 17 percent of the companies expect the increase of transparency in the tax system, 16 percent - in customs system, 13 percent - harmonization of education system to European standards, 13 percent - increase of transparency in the legal system, and 11 percent - transparency and stability in the financial sector.
Azerbaijan and EU successfully cooperate in various fields, and relations are constantly developing. To date, important documents such as Partnership and Cooperation, Visa and Readmission Agreements, Action Plan under the European Neighborhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership Initiative have been signed that raised relations to a higher level.
The four main areas of cooperation in EU-Azerbaijan relations under the Partnership Priorities reflect those identified under the Eastern Partnership framework, namely: strengthening institutions and good governance; economic development and market opportunities; connectivity, energy efficiency, environment and climate action; mobility and people-to-people contacts.
EU and Azerbaijan are currently working on strategic partnership agreement on cooperation. Currently, bilateral relations between the EU and Azerbaijan are regulated on the basis of an agreement on partnership and cooperation that was signed in 1996 and entered into force in 1999.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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