By Leman Mammadova
Azerbaijan has been actively offering transport infrastructures through the South Caucasus for cargo transportation between Asia and Europe. Geographically, it is the shortest route between China and Western Europe.
Azerbaijan is one of the first countries that supported the Belt and Road project and is among the active participants in its implementation.
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.
Azerbaijan has a unique geographical position on the route of the New Silk Road. The country has created a transport network that includes seaports, airports, railways and land roads. Azerbaijan is also working on the development of East-West and North-South routes connecting the railway systems of Iran and Russia as well as Trans-Caspian International Transport Route.
China welcomes Azerbaijan's efforts in the construction of transport infrastructure and the implementation of various projects.
The Chinese Silk Road Fund explores the possibility of investment in infrastructure projects in Azerbaijan.
Rovnag Abdullayev, President of state oil company SOCAR, and Yang Zejun, Chairman of Board of Supervisors of the Silk Road Fund, have discussed prospects for cooperation.
Chinese representative highlighted the Fund’s great investment opportunities, which can contribute to the development of the world as a whole. In his words, the Fund is interested in expansion of financial opportunities and in investing in various areas.
Zejun also stressed that the Fund is involved in financing various infrastructure projects and is interested in cooperation with Azerbaijan in this direction. He further added that the Fund monitors the activities of SOCAR and is well acquainted with the concept of development of this company.
Abdullayev, in turn, informed the Chinese side about the infrastructure projects being implemented by the company and pointed to the prospects for cooperation with China on future energy projects.
The Silk Road Fund is a Chinese investment fund that primarily deals with major investments in infrastructure projects in countries along the New Silk Road and the Sea Silk Road in order to facilitate the marketing of Chinese products.
China announced the Belt and Road initiative in 2013, aimed at creating infrastructure and establishing links among the Eurasian countries. Azerbaijan became a signatory to the Belt and Road Energy Partnership Declaration in October 2018.
The creation of the Silk Road Economic Belt should contribute to the creation of a political link between the Eurasian countries, national leaders, as well as a common infrastructure (roads, railway junctions, airports, pipelines, telecommunications, postal services, border control, customs, quality control of goods, etc.) along the route.
In addition, the project envisages free trade flow, free monetary circulation, development of settlements in national currency. At the same time, it aims to promote communication and dialogue between different civilizations and religions, as well as educational and cultural exchanges, development of tourism.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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