By Leman Mammadova
Holding strong relations in the energy sector, France and Azerbaijan intend to strengthen bilateral cooperation particularly in the non-oil sector sphere.
The economic relations between France and Azerbaijan have significantly increased over the past decades, and have been established especially in energy, transport, food, tourism, agriculture, high technology, telecommunications, etc.
Given the fact that France is one of the world's largest economic powers, the economy of which is based on the most modern technologies, Azerbaijan can significantly benefit France’s experience for the development of its economy.
Azerbaijan is also an important country for France in terms of its development potential and energy resources. The favorable investment climate created in Azerbaijan makes the country attractive for French companies.
Ministry of Finance on July 10 held a meeting with a delegation of French companies led by Geoffroy Roux de Bezieux, President of MEDEF (Movement of the Enterprises of France), and representatives of French companies operating in various fields.
Samir Sharifov, Minister of Finance, co-chair of the Azerbaijan-France Intergovernmental Economic Commission, said that Azerbaijan attaches great importance to the relations with France and explores the possibilities of implementation of new projects in various spheres.
He noted that Commission supports the further development of cooperation between the two countries in economic, financial, humanitarian and other spheres.
Sharifov stressed that French Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire is expected to visit Azerbaijan in late July to expand economic and financial dialogue.
He also highlighted the recent reforms conducted in Azerbaijan, measures taken to improve the business environment and socioeconomic successes, significant projects for the country and the region. He further pointed out that the non-oil sector is a priority of the country's economy.
Sharifov went on to say that the business circles of the two countries should take advantage of the favorable business environment created in Azerbaijan and implement joint projects that will greatly contribute to the development of economic and trade relations.
In turn, Geoffroy Roux de Bezieux said that he came to Baku with a large delegation representing 60 companies.
“There are representatives not only of oil sector, but also of construction, banking, digital technologies and agriculture. Our goal is to get acquainted with the business potential of Azerbaijan and to develop business relations between France and Azerbaijan,” he added.
De Bezieux noted that France attaches great importance to the development of relations with Azerbaijan, adding that favorable business and investment climate created in the country opens wide opportunities for French companies.
Referring to the meeting with President Ilham Aliyev, he stressed that various issues related to production of agricultural products, automobile roads and digital technologies were discussed.
The trade turnover between the two countries totaled $625 million in 2018, $183 million of which accounted for the imports from France and $442 million – for the exports from Azerbaijan.
Presently, Azerbaijan is becoming a huge transport hub due to the implementation of major transport project in the region. French companies such as Alstom, Thales, Iveco are more actively operating in this sphere in the country.
In addition, agriculture is a promising field of cooperation as the negotiations are being intensified in recent times, due to the frequent visits of the representatives of this sphere to France.
Expansion of diverse economic cooperation, surely, will also contribute to the deepening of relations between Azerbaijan and France in cultural, social and other fields.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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