By Ayya Lmahamad
Azerbaijan and Italy have discussed prospects for the development of relations between the business communities of the two countries.
The discussion took place during the meeting of Azerbaijan’s Agency for Small and Medium-sized Businesses Development Chairman Orkhan Mammadov and Italian Ambassador Claudio Taffuri on October 11.
During the meeting, the parties discussed existing cooperation in the mentioned field. Various proposals were made to expand relations between the two countries' businessmen.
Moreover, the parties discussed the support and services provided by the Agency to SMBs, its cooperation with the relevant Italian agencies and the work to be done in the bilateral documents signed between the parties.
Azerbaijan is one of Italy’s main energy suppliers. Over 100 Italian companies, operating in various fields, are registered in Azerbaijan. In addition, Italian companies have contracts worth over 10 billion euros ($11.8bn) for Azerbaijani projects both outside and inside the country.
Azerbaijan’s overall investment in Italy’s economy is estimated at 1.7 billion euros ($2bn), while Italy invested about 770 million euros ($910.8M) in Azerbaijan
At the same time, Azerbaijan accounts for more than 90 percent of Italy’s total trade with the South Caucasus countries. Azerbaijan is the main destination of Italian exports to the South Caucasus region, with a 7 percent increase in 2020 as well.
Additionally, Italy was one of the first countries that voiced its support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and later on interest in participation in restoration works carried out in Azerbaijan's liberated territories. Thus, Italy and Israel have already started the implementation of a joint project to turn the liberated Zangilan region into a smart city.
The trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $5.1 billion in the first eight months of 2021, making Italy Azerbaijan’s largest trade partner.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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