By Leman Mammadova
The UK is a strategic partner of Azerbaijan in many spheres of cooperation and both countries are interested in expanding economic ties, particularly in the non-oil sector.
The development of bilateral relations was discussed at the meeting between Shahin Mustafayev, Minister of Economy, and Carole Crofts, UK ambassador to Azerbaijan, who has completed her tenure in the country.
Pointing to the development of Azerbaijan-UK relations, Mustafayev said that cooperation in various sectors of the economy, including energy, trade, investment, transport, agriculture, small and medium-sized businesses, tourism and other areas, is developing.
“The UK, which has invested $28 billion in our country, is the largest investor in Azerbaijan. The trade between Azerbaijan and the UK increased by 87 percent in 2018, and the growth trend continues this year,” noted Mustafayev, adding that about 440 British companies operating in various fields are registered in Azerbaijan.
There is a broad cooperation between the two countries in the oil and gas sector, he added.
Referring to the reforms, favorable business and investment climate in the country, he invited British companies to invest in Azerbaijan’s non-oil sector, including transport, industry, agriculture, ICT, tourism and other sectors, as well as to take advantage of the business climate created in industrial parks.
Highlighting Crofts’ efforts for the development of Azerbaijani-British relations, Mustafayev wished her success in her future activities.
Crofts, in turn, stressed the country’s achievements in recent years and expressed the UK's interest in expanding ties with Azerbaijan. She highlighted the great potential for expansion of economic cooperation.
The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and the UK stood at $525.2 million in 2018, according to the State Customs Committee. About $261.4 million accounted for the export of Azerbaijani products.
For the UK, the Caspian region is an area of great opportunity as Azerbaijan makes the most of its strategic geographic position, energy resources and transport links.
UK’s BP is the largest foreign investor in Azerbaijan that helped the Azerbaijani government transform the economy, establishing a solid foundation to build business success.
In recent years, the bilateral relations have been made even stronger with the establishment of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission between the two countries and the UK-Azerbaijan Partnership Program in the Oil and Gas Sector.