Economic relations between Azerbaijan, US enter new phase - AmCham President [PHOTO]
Economic relations between Azerbaijan and the US, dynamically developing, have entered a new phase, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan (AmCham) Nargiz Nasrullayeva said in an interview with Trend.
Nasrullayeva reminded that diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1992.
"The relations between Azerbaijan and the US have covered various spheres over 30 years. The partnership has been strengthened between the two countries in economy, energy, security, and other spheres," she noted. "At the initial stage of this partnership, AmCham was founded in 1996, which from the first days of its activity helped establish economic ties between the businesses of the two countries."
"Today, the Chamber represents 19 sectors of the Azerbaijani economy and being the leading business association in Azerbaijan, unites more than 250 companies, in which, along with the US and Azerbaijani capital, multinational corporations are also represented," she further said.
"The US constantly supports the development of oil and gas fields in Azerbaijan and other regions of the Caspian basin. Thus, Azerbaijan's oil and gas resources were supplied to the European and other markets, and this makes an important contribution to economic development and global energy security," Nasrullayeva also noted.
Besides, according to the president of AmCham, in the past years, agricultural forums, bringing together politicians and agricultural producers from the US and Azerbaijan, were held in Oklahoma and Illinois.
"The purpose of these events was to establish cooperation between businessmen operating in the agricultural sector of the large agricultural states from the US and Azerbaijani businessmen," she explained.
The events were also aimed at viewing new methods used in the agricultural sector to develop livestock, manage medium and large farms and increase productivity, as well as discussing the issues of growing grain and legumes by using modern methods, Nasrullayeva added.
"In recent years, we have also organized a business trip to the US for representatives of large US investors and multinational companies operating in Azerbaijan. As part of this visit, the delegation held meetings with members of Congress and senior representatives of the US government," the Chamber’s head reminded. "The main purpose of the visit was to inform the American side about the current economic situation in Azerbaijan, business opportunities and favorable conditions for investors."
"During the meetings, there were discussed positive changes in Azerbaijan in recent years, which allowed the country to take a higher position in the Doing Business and Global Competitiveness ratings," she also added.
AmCham president highlighted the process of organizing several events within the "Caspian Policy Center" on the initiative of an independent US analytical center, dedicated to the discussion and development of relations between Azerbaijan and the US in trade, infrastructure development and energy partnership.
Nasrullayeva noted that during the 2020 second Karabakh war, AmCham, both independently and jointly with other business associations, made various statements, unequivocally supporting the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, expressing support for the president and people of the country, and strongly condemning the aggressive actions of Armenia against Azerbaijan.
She noted that following the war, AmCham continued to provide support in this direction, appreciating the establishment of the YASHAT Fund by President Ilham Aliyev and providing this fund with some assistance.
"The US companies have always been interested in expanding their business in Azerbaijan. For example, jointly with the Karabakh Revival Foundation we organized trips to Aghdam city liberated from Armenian occupation [in the second Karabakh war], where our companies were provided with extensive information about potential conditions for possible investment in this region," the AmCham’s head emphasized.
"The ongoing restoration work in the liberated territories, including the reconstruction of energy infrastructure, the vast potential of water, solar and wind energy in the region, plans to create a "green energy zone" in these territories on the instructions of President Ilham Aliyev and activities generally carried out in this area are in the focus of special attention of the members of our organization," Nasrullayeva stressed.
She pointed out that Azerbaijan attaches great importance to the expansion of international economic ties, and in this regard events organized with the participation of business circles play an important role in deepening cooperation between the US and Azerbaijan.
"We believe that trade missions and other joint activities contribute to the development of US-Azerbaijani economic cooperation and increase the interest of potential investors in the economic opportunities available in our country," the head of AmCham also said. "The fact that over 200 US companies are present in various sectors of the Azerbaijani economy, including industry, agriculture, construction, services and other areas, as well as the recent growth in trade between the two countries compared to previous years, is indicative of the high level of trade and economic relations between our country and the US."
Azerbaijan is interested in developing trade and economic ties with the US and is taking important steps towards expanding cooperation, she added.
"The number of US companies in our country and related indicators could grow even more. At present, there is a favorable economic environment for this, and attracting foreign investment in the economy is an important component of the economic development strategy of our country," the Chamber’s president noted. "Economic development and the stable political situation in Azerbaijan have further increased the interest of foreign countries in long-term investment in the economy of our country."
According to her, 2022 will give rise to the development of a new era of economic relations between the two countries, and we can also predict growth in investment opportunities and trade achievements overall.
“We believe that in the near future we’ll witness the positive results of these works and achieve an increase in the role of American companies in the country's economy," she noted.
Besides, according to her, after the signing of the "Contract of the Century" in 1994, economic ties between Azerbaijan and the US began to expand even more.
"Our countries are successfully cooperating in the field of investment, and most of them are in the oil and gas sector. So, in this sector of the Azerbaijani economy, the volume of US investments amounted to $12.8 billion, and in general, this figure reaches $14 billion," she also said.
"The large-scale projects being implemented in the energy sector serve as a powerful impetus to the development of the region as a whole. Today, Azerbaijan is a gas exporter due to the launch of the Southern Gas Corridor, as well as participation in ensuring the energy security of Europe," Nasrullayeva noted. "It is very remarkable that the US provides ongoing support for the implementation of large-scale and strategic projects initiated and with the participation of Azerbaijan."
At the same time, she noted that the oil and gas sector of Azerbaijan has come a long way in its development and continues to make a special contribution to the development of the country.
"Among the members of our Chamber, there are many companies operating in the oil sector. Meanwhile, one of the key economic priorities of our state in the direction of increasing the efficiency and competitiveness of the economy is to ensure the development of the non-oil sector," she emphasized. "Namely, therefore, measures to develop the non-oil sector in our country and cooperate in this area with the government, regularly providing our recommendations."
"It’s gratifying that some of the recommendations proposed by our Chamber in this direction have been reflected in strategic roadmaps and government programs," she said.
Summing up, the president of AmCham said that in the coming years it’s planned to continue activities in the direction of developing the business environment and strengthening the dialogue between the public and private sectors in Azerbaijan.
"Given the fact that the development of the non-oil sector in Azerbaijan is a priority, we plan to carry out intensive work to improve it and attract foreign direct investment to our country," Nasrullayeva said. "Along with this, as part of our corporate social responsibility policy, we plan to implement a number of new projects in the education field."
"In the near future, we also intend to implement various projects to develop small and medium-sized businesses, which are the leading force in the economy, including women's entrepreneurship and family businesses," she concluded.
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