By Leman Mammadova
Demonstrating impressive dynamics of cooperation, Azerbaijan and China intend to broaden cooperation in infrastructure projects.
The cooperation issues have been discussed at the meeting between Azerbaijani Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev and representatives of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) under the China Railway Construction Corporation.
"Relations with China are developing in all directions. This includes logistics and transit of goods, trade and investment, ICT. The two countries are cooperating in the humanitarian field, working to expand tourism exchange,” said Mustafayev.
He also stressed the great potential for further expansion of ties. Mustafayev noted that there are the trade representative office, trading and wine houses of Azerbaijan in China.
In his words, the Azerbaijan-China Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation plays an important role in expanding bilateral cooperation.
Mustafayev also informed about the projects on reconstruction of the road infrastructure and the railway network in Azerbaijan.
He added that the favorable investment environment in Azerbaijan creates a good base for cooperation with the CCECC.
In turn, Yuan Aimin, CCECC Director General of the Department of Foreign Investments in Eurasia, expressed interest in participation in successful infrastructure projects in Azerbaijan.
"Given the close cooperation between the two countries, including within the framework of the Belt and Road project, the experience of the company's international activities can be useful in Azerbaijan," he said.
Operating in more than 100 countries, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation mainly specializes in the construction of high-speed railways, airports, subways, ports and power plants.
China is the third largest trading partner of Azerbaijan, holding the third position in Azerbaijan’s exports and the fourth in imports. The trade turnover between China and Azerbaijan reached a record level of $1.31 billion in 2018.
Currently, over 20 Chinese enterprises, engaged in energy, construction, information and communications, aviation, transport logistics, retail trade, restaurant business etc., operate in Azerbaijan. Chinese enterprises invested $800 million in Azerbaijani economy, while counter investments amounted to about $8 million.
At present, Azerbaijan’s trading 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.
Azerbaijan is going to implement new projects together with the Chinese companies in view of the recently signed contracts worth $821 million covering many fields. The documents were signed the sidelines of the second Belt and Road International Forum in April this year.
The diverse relations between China and Azerbaijan, which have intensified in recent years, are expected to enter a new phase within the Belt and Road Initiative. Providing beneficial conditions on transit routes, Azerbaijan is an attractive transport hub for the Chinese companies for delivery of goods to the West.
Successful transport projects implemented by Azerbaijan, such as Baku-Tbilisi-Kars, South-North, Alat International Sea Trade Port, have considerably contributed to the Belt and Road Initiative.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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