By Leman Mammadova
Thanks to its economic potential and the projects implemented in the region, Azerbaijan is an attractive market for Switzerland. Close ties have been established between the business circles of the two countries in many spheres of economy.
A business delegation from Western Switzerland will visit Azerbaijan in October. Thirty companies to participate in the visit have been determined at a business forum in Switzerland, organized by Azerbaijani Embassy in Switzerland and the Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The event was attended by 85 Swiss businessmen representing energy, agriculture, construction, tourism, ICT, healthcare and food industry.
In her presentation, Khanim Ibrahimova, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Switzerland, pointed to the business climate and investment opportunities of Azerbaijan and encouraged Swiss businessmen to invest in various fields of economy.
She stressed the high level of political relations between Azerbaijan and Switzerland as well as the development of trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.
Ibrahimova reminded that as part of the visit by a large delegation led by the Minister of Economy of Switzerland to Azerbaijan last year, the opening of a plant built with the Swiss investments in the city of Sumgayit took place.
She further noted that the growth recorded in the tourist flow after the launch of direct flights between the cities of Baku and Geneva, as well as the signing of a cooperation agreement between the travel agencies of the two countries.
Furthermore, Ibrahimova highlighted the regional projects implemented by Azerbaijan and the existing business prospects for Swiss companies, as well as spoke about the work on the improvement of transport infrastructure in the country, realization of the country’s transit potential and development of transport corridors.
Switzerland is one of the largest investors in the non-oil sector of Azerbaijan's economy. In the period of 1992-2018, Switzerland invested about $851.9 million in Azerbaijan’s economy.
Azerbaijan closely cooperates with Switzerland in the financial sphere, particularly, with the SECO and SDC (Cooperation and Development Agency). As mentioned in the Swiss Cooperation Strategy South Caucasus 2017–2020, Swiss assistance to Azerbaijan aims to create a conducive and risk-conscious business environment that will lead to the improvement and diversification of the country’s income base.
Switzerland supports large-scale energy and transport projects implemented in the region by Azerbaijan. Last year, trade turnover between the two countries increased 2.7 times compared to 2017 ($240 million) and reached almost $650 million. The Swiss exports to Azerbaijan accounted for $513 million in 2018.
Recently, the 8th meeting of the Azerbaijani-Swiss intergovernmental commission and Azerbaijani-Swiss business forum has been held in Switzerland.
As a part of the visit to Switzerland, Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Swiss Thurgau canton.
At the same time, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Agency for Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) of Azerbaijan and the Swiss Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises on cooperation issues at the meeting of the intergovernmental commission.
The two countries mull the possibility of creating joint ventures for activities in industrial parks in Azerbaijan.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz