By Leman Mammadova
The trade partnership between Azerbaijan and Switzerland has seen dramatic increase in the recent years.
Thus, the trade turnover between the two countries increased five-fold in January-August in 2019, compared to the same period in 2018, Yusif Abdullayev, Acting Head of Azerbaijan Investment and Export Promotion Fund (AZPROMO), said during the Azerbaijan-Swiss business meeting held in Baku on October 21.
“Following the results of January-August 2019, the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Switzerland increased five times and reached $1.3 billion,” Abdullayev noted.
Referring to the investments, Abdullayev said that Azerbaijan invested $2.7 billion in the Swiss economy ($1.9 billion in the oil sector and $760 million in the non-oil sector), while Switzerland invested $861 million in the Azerbaijani economy, of which $794 million accounted for the non-oil sector.
“The trade between our countries amounted to $648 million in late 2018, of which $135 million accounted for exports from Azerbaijan, while $513 million for import from Switzerland,” he added.
In turn, Vincent Subilia, Director General of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, praised the work of SOCAR Trading in Switzerland.
Around 2,500 companies are represented in the chamber and it would be good to establish closer relations with Azerbaijani companies, Subilia said, adding that Swiss companies operating in medical and infrastructure sectors are keen on building partnership with Azerbaijan.
Alexey Strunilin, CEO at Swiss bank Hyposwiss Private Bank Geneva SA, said that the Bank is studying cooperation opportunities in Azerbaijan. “Founded in 1899, the Bank widely operates in the Eastern Europe and Caucasus. We are aiming to study cooperation opportunities in Azerbaijan."
Khanim Ibrahimova, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Switzerland, pointed out that currently, 67 Swiss-based companies operating in Azerbaijan. “Holcim is the major company in the country with the largest investment.”
The business meeting mulled the possibilities to expand cooperation particularly in logistics, banking, health and infrastructure.
As part of visit, the representatives of Swiss business circles met with Mahmud Mammadguliyev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
During the meeting, the sides stressed great potential for cooperation in the fields of communications, information technology, tourism, transport and other areas.
Swiss businessmen representing the financial and banking sectors expressed their interest to establish business relations in Azerbaijan’s insurance sector.
Swiss representatives stressed that they have discussed cooperation with China on the transportation of goods via transport and transit corridors through Azerbaijan as part of the Belt and Road initiative.
The delegation praised the cooperation with Azerbaijan in various fields of economy and finance, including SOCAR’s activity in Switzerland, and partnership with Pasha Bank.
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). Thus, 38 projects with SECO and 16 projects with SDC are being implemented.
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.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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