By Leman Mammadova
Azerbaijan and Ukraine enjoy great prospects of bilateral relations in political, economic, transport, humanitarian fields and especially in energy.
Ukraine plans to open an honorary consulate in Azerbaijan by the end of 2019, Ukrainian ambassador to Azerbaijan Vladislav Kanevsky said at a press conference in Baku.
Describing the opening of the honorary consulate as a rather ambitious project, he stressed that it is related to the development of trade and economic relations.
“As experience shows, this is an additional and broader opportunity for the development of the cultural and humanitarian sphere. The opening will give an additional impetus to the development of relations,” he said.
Currently, the Trading House of Ukraine in Azerbaijan is operating in test mode in Baku. “This is a very important element regarding the development of trade and economic relations,” Kanevsky said.
He pointed out that this is an integral platform not only to increase mutual trade, but also to implement consulting functions, find common logistics links, it is beneficial for local and foreign cooperation, and legal protection of companies entering the Azerbaijani market.
Kanevsky emphasized that the Trading House’s activities in Azerbaijan at first will be aimed at expanding relations in all areas.
Referring to the energy sector, he said that Ukraine would like to become a member of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) project.
“Azerbaijan is becoming an increasingly strong player, including in the energy sphere. Ukraine would like to participate in the Southern Gas Corridor project,” he noted, adding that Azerbaijan can supply fuel to EU countries through Ukraine.
Kanevsky further added that the state oil company of Azerbaijan SOCAR may expand its activities in Ukraine.
He noted that SOCAR is one of the main gas operators in Ukraine and this is the indicator of close ties between the countries in the field of energy.
“Today there are already about 60 SOCAR gas stations in Ukraine, and they can be brought up to 100, as there is great demand,” he added.
Touching upon the tourism relations, Kanevsky said that the tourist flow from Ukraine to Azerbaijan is expected to be about 50,000 people by late 2019.
“More and more Ukrainians come to see Baku. Unfortunately, there is a problem with the workload of flights. I think it is possible to increase the number of flights by both Azerbaijani and Ukrainian carriers,” he noted.
Kanevsky expects an increase in mutual trade. “In 2010, bilateral trade amounted to $1.6 billion, and according to the results of 2018, it reached $850 million, which is twice less. Now, there is a tendency to increase.”
He also stressed that Ukraine’s position on the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is consistent and unchanged. Ukraine and Azerbaijan support each other's territorial integrity, which has been repeatedly documented in statements, he said.
Kanevsy said that GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, of which Azerbaijan and Ukraine are members, is a good platform to discuss security issues and economic cooperation.
Ukraine is the second largest trade partner of Azerbaijan in the post-Soviet space. Azerbaijan is also considered one of the main trade partners of Ukraine.
Main goods imported from Ukraine are metallurgy products, machine building products, agro-industrial products and chemical industry products. Meanwhile, the main goods exported from Azerbaijan to Ukraine are products of fuel energy industry, chemical industry products, and agro-industrial products. Azerbaijan is currently the main supplier of oil to Ukraine.
Recently, Azerbaijan and Ukraine have been engaged in active development of economic cooperation. In June 2018, the first Trading House of Azerbaijan was opened in Kiev, and similar houses are planned to open in other cities of the country.