By Leman Mammadova
Azerbaijan will cooperate with Turkey in standardization in a bid to increase the competitiveness of the country's economy and provide unimpeded export of manufactured products and services to foreign markets.
A protocol on cooperation has been signed between Turkish Standards Institution, the Institute for Scientific Research on Economic Reforms (ISRER) under the Ministry of Economy and Sumgayit Chemical Industrial Park LLC.
The document was singed at an international conference "Application of Standards: Azerbaijan-Turkey Cooperation" held in Baku on October 8.
Niyazi Safarov, Deputy Economy Minister, said that the protocol will have a positive impact on the further development of relations in this area as well as on the implementation of international standards in enterprises.
Referring to the cooperation with the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), he noted that since early 2019, 32 projects have been completed, work on 13 projects is underway.
“Turkey is Azerbaijan’s second foreign trade partner. The trade between the two countries increased by 30 percent totaling $2.7 billion in January-August 2019,” he said at the conference.
Noting a dynamic increase in bilateral trade with Turkey, Safarov stressed that trade between the two countries amounted to $3.4 billion at the end of 2018, which is 28 percent more compared to 2017.
He underlined that the existing legal framework contributes to the development of economic relations. “Among the signed documents, one of the most important is the avoidance of double taxation and mutual protection of investments.”
He added that Azerbaijan and Turkey aim to bring mutual trade turnover up to $5 billion a year, by 2024 - up to $15 billion.
Safarov further noted that there are no Turkish companies among residents working in industrial parks of Azerbaijan.
“Today Turkish businessmen are working on the creation of two companies in industrial districts, particularly in Hajigabul Industrial Estate,” he stressed.
In his words, one of the two companies is focused on the production of packaging materials, and the other on the production of biological fertilizers.
“At the moment, enterprises are in test mode. Work in this direction will be continued,” he said.
Safarov also emphasized that the Ministry of Economy carries out large-scale work on the development of industrial zones in Azerbaijan.
“The residents of industrial parks and quarters in Azerbaijan have already invested $3.4 billion in projects,” he noted.
He added that the total cost of projects implemented by residents of industrial parks and quarters in the country is estimated at $3.8 billion.
In his words, currently, nine industrial parks and quarters have been created in Azerbaijan, where 82 residents are registered. In addition, 45 residents have already started production activities.
Safarov further pointed out that the Ministry of Economy has so far issued documents on investment promotion to 345 business entities on 407 investment projects.
“Total investments in these projects are estimated at 3.9 billion manats ($2.29 billion). The implementation of these projects will open up more than 27,000 jobs. Today, 245 enterprises are already operating, investments in which amounted to 2.5 billion manats ($1.47 billion),” he noted.
Safarov also stressed that Azerbaijan and Turkey prepare draft agreement on preferential trade.
“Such agreement has already been concluded between the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan and Turkey. Under the agreement, products from Nakhchivan AR will be delivered to Turkey on favorable terms,” he added.
He underlined that due to the blockade of the Nakhchivan AR, the region’s economy is slightly different from the general economy of Azerbaijan. “In this regard, the new agreement provides its own characteristics.”
The preferential trade agreement that the countries will sign by late 2019, provides for the introduction of a zero rate of customs duty on mutual deliveries of goods between Turkey and Azerbaijan.
In October 2017, Turkey also exempted goods supplied from the Nakhchivan AR from duties. In total, the list includes 43 names of products (13 agricultural, 30 industrial goods).
Recently, Azerbaijan and Turkey set up Intersert joint venture in standardization.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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