By Leman Mammadova
Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan have great potential to expand cooperation in industry, agriculture, tourism, trade, investment and other spheres of economy.
This was stated by Shahin Mustafayev, Minister of Economy, at a meeting with Sardor Umurzakov, Uzbek Minister of Investment and Foreign Trade, on October 14.
Stressing Azerbaijan's favorable geostrategic location and great transit potential – the country is located at the crossroads of international transport corridors – Mustafayev pointed out to opportunities for the development of transport and transit cooperation with Uzbekistan.
Mustafayev noted that about 30 companies with Uzbek capital are currently operating in the fields of transit, trade, industry and services in Azerbaijan.
“Following the results of 2018, the trade turnover between the two countries increased by more than 46 percent, and for the first eight months of 2019 - by 63 percent,” the Azerbaijani minister said.
He reminded that favorable conditions have been created for businessmen in Azerbaijan in view of the development of non-oil sector as a priority sector of economy.
In turn, Umurzakov noted that Uzbek businessmen are interested in expanding cooperation with Azerbaijani partners.
The parties also discussed the creation of a joint working group to expand and strengthen economic cooperation, the presentation of investment opportunities of Uzbekistan in Azerbaijan, the mutual exchange of experience in various fields, in particular tourism, engineering and cotton growing, as well as other issues.
On the same day, Umurzakov also met with Samir Sharifov, Azerbaijani Minister of Finance, to discuss cooperation in the field of financial and budget management.
Umurzakov noted that Uzbek businessmen are keen on expanding cooperation with Azerbaijan particularly in trade, industry, agricultural engineering, services etc.
Umurzakov is in Azerbaijan as part of the Uzbek delegation to attend the convening of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States, also known as the Turkic Council, that is attended by heads of the Turkic Council member states.
In 2018, the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan increased by 46.5 percent and reached $44 million.
Today, Uzbekistan supplies vehicles, non-ferrous metals, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, electrical and mechanical appliances, agricultural products to Azerbaijan. In turn, Azerbaijan exports mechanical equipment, confectionery, various organic and chemical compounds, tanning and coloring extracts to Uzbekistan.
The intergovernmental commission, established in 1997, also plays a major role in the development of bilateral economic relations. In 2011-2015, bilateral agreements have been reached in various spheres, in particular, in promotion and mutual protection of investments, exemption from double taxation, economic cooperation, free trade, customs cooperation etc.
Transport projects implemented in the South Caucasus are of great importance for Uzbekistan in terms of Central Asia-Europe trade routes.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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