Minister: UK largest foreign investor in Azerbaijan [PHOTO]
By Ayya Lmahamad
The UK is the largest foreign investor in Azerbaijan with an investment of over $32 billion, Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov said during the fifth session of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission between the government of Azerbaijan and the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on economic cooperation which was held in London, Azernews reports.
He noted that last year the trade turnover between the two countries increased by 47 percent and amounted to about $668 million. In his speech, the minister appreciated about $29 billion investment in the country's oil and gas sector by bp so far and the energy security projects such as the Southern Gas Corridor as an indicator of successful energy cooperation.
"The UK is our partner who plays an important role in the economic independence of our country with its investments and support for the development of the energy sector from the very beginning," he said.
Shahbazov also underlined that the high political dialogue between the two countries that marked the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations complemented the exemplary strong economic partnership in the South Caucasus.
Moreover, he stated that this cooperation entered a new stage in line with global challenges.
"We see our long-term partnership with the United Kingdom in the field of energy as an important contribution to the strategic energy sustainability and the implementation of green energy agenda," he said.
Speaking about the 240 MW solar power plant project in Jabrayil, the minister expressed the belief that the construction of this plant will be soon a confirmation of the country's successful cooperation with bp on green energy, decarbonization and, in general, energy transition.
"The development of the liberated territories in the green energy zone concept with net zero emissions, the approach to achieving green growth and clean environment at the level of the country's national priority, and plans to focus on the production/export of 157 GW of wind energy of the Caspian Sea, electricity and hydrogen are great opportunities for the development of green cooperation with the UK," he said.
The minister also brought to the attention that Azerbaijan's liberated lands are one of the most mine-contaminated areas in the world, adding that the difficulties in neutralizing mines and unexploded ordnance are the main obstacles to the socio-economic reintegration of these territories and the implementation of important projects. He underlined the importance of international support and assistance in this issue.
In turn, UK's Exports Minister Mike Freer stated that "it's great to mark the 30th anniversary year of our diplomatic relations with these important trade talks between our two nations. With our trade worth already over £1 billion, this JIC is a chance to widen and deepen our ties".
He mentioned that UK companies are working with Azerbaijan as they transition to renewable energy, and invest in new technology, healthcare and education.
"And we look forward to finding many more opportunities to work together in the years ahead," he added.
Moreover, during the meeting, a memorandum of understanding on cooperation was signed between IDRAK Technological Transfer and ApplianSys of the United Kingdom. In addition, the protocol on the outcomes of the fifth session of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission between the Government of Azerbaijan and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on economic cooperation was signed.
At the meeting, the work done after the 4th Meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission was reviewed and discussions were held and mutual presentations were made on cooperation in the fields of energy transition, further improving the business environment and increasing investments, combating the mine threat, digital economy, infrastructure, health, education and agriculture. Detailed information was provided about the new investment opportunities. The participants emphasized the importance of the launch of the Azerbaijani-British Chamber of Commerce and the necessity of accelerating the processes related to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the development of bilateral economic relations.
The parties agreed to hold the 6th meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission in Baku in 2023.
It should be noted that prior to the fifth session o JIC, UK Prime Minister's Trade Envoy to Azerbaijan Baroness Emma Nicholson received a delegation led by Parviz Shahbazov, Energy Minister, co-chair of the Intergovernmental Commission. In addition, bilateral meetings were held between Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov and Greg Hands, UK Minister of State (Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change) and Mike Freer, Minister for Exports. At the meetings, discussions were held on the current status and development prospects of relations between the two countries.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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