By Abdul Kerimkhanov
The North-South International Transport Corridor, which is a multi-modal network of ship, rail and road routes from India to Azerbaijan, is strengthening Azerbaijan’s role as Europe’s and Asia’s economic partner, U.S. expert Peter Tase, a strategic adviser on international affairs for governments told in an interview with Day.az.
"Trade communications and cooperation in the field of logistics services are the cornerstones of this strategic project, which made Azerbaijan a key economic partner of the countries of Europe and Asia. As Azerbaijan becomes the main actor in this intercontinental transport corridor, we observe a higher level of economic development in the regions of Azerbaijan, and the country is becoming a reliable trading partner that connects the markets of India with Europe," the expert said.
He noted that since 2005, Azerbaijan has also been conducting dynamic economic diplomacy, which includes the development of the North-South transport corridor and, of course, contributes to regional development on both sides of the Caspian Sea and Eastern Europe.
Tase emphasized that after the completion of all infrastructure projects in this corridor, it will be possible to organize direct rail transportation of goods from Baku to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic via Iran.
"The development of this project will directly contribute to increasing employment and ensuring sustainable growth of the national economy of Azerbaijan. The country has an exceptional geographical and geostrategic location. These two factors are combined with the competent policies of President Ilham Aliyev, a statesman who works to ensure that his country is more competitive and strengthening economic growth in the midst of a global crisis, "said Peter Tase.
The American expert called the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway an outstanding initiative, which since October 2017 has generated a large flow of goods and services between Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia.
"This railway project is designed to transport more than 17 million tons of goods annually, it also connects residents of the three countries and subsequently develops a sustainable tourism industry and provides economic diversification in the Central Asian region and, above all, is a continuation of China's One Belt and One Way Initiative.
"The tourism industry in Azerbaijan has reached a record level of growth thanks to the vision of President Ilham Aliyev and his energetic leadership, which allowed Baku to implement a number of projects in the field of rail transportation, which have direct economic influence both on the people of Azerbaijan and on the peoples of the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe, "said Tase.
Commenting on the capabilities of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), the expert said that he has the technological capabilities to transport natural gas from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.
"An investment of $40 billion, in which more than a dozen energy companies participate, is a symbol of the success of the Azerbaijani government," said Peter Tase.
He called the SGC a star project, which has already become a strategic asset for Europe, thanks to the large volumes of natural gas that can be delivered to Austria, Italy and other parts of Europe.
"The European Commission and large European countries are showing great interest in increasing the supply of natural gas through the Southern Gas Corridor. This pipeline is capable of doubling the current flow rate of gas pumped to the shores of the Adriatic. With the potential to double the level of transportation, SGC can play an important role in ensuring the supply of Turkmenistan’s natural oil and Kazakhstan in the near future, "he said.
Tase noted that in the coming decades, the European Union will need to import more natural gas.
"There is a certain level of fragile decision-making and insecurity, but one thing is a fact, namely: gas consumption and the development of the gas market in the EU will increase; the volume that will be covered by imported natural gas will certainly increase. Therefore, in Azerbaijan higher economic indicators will be achieved, and the welfare of the Azerbaijani people will be significantly improved, "the American expert concluded.
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