Azerbaijan's Alat FEZ, Georgian Hualing FIZ ink memorandum of cooperation [PHOTO]
By Ayya Lmahamad
Azerbaijan's Alat Free Economic Zone (FEZ) and Georgian Hualing Free Industrial Zone (FIZ) have signed a memorandum of cooperation, Azernews reports.
The document was signed by Alat FEZ Board Chairman Valeh Alasgarov and Hualing FIZ Director-General Soso Nibladze within the Azerbaijani-Georgian business forum, which is being held in Baku on June 29.
Speaking at the forum, Georgian Ambassador Zurab Pataradze said that the relations between the two countries developed even more active during the coronavirus pandemic. In this regard, he mentioned that a meeting of the joint intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation between the two countries was held in Baku in 2021, adding that another meeting is expected to be held in Georgia this year.
"I would like to note that our cooperation has been established in political, economic and other areas. We are very pleased that the trade turnover between our countries has exceeded $1 billion," he said.
Noting that extremely favourable conditions for doing business have been created in Georgia, the ambassador stated that a large number of Azerbaijani entrepreneurs work in Georgia.
In this regard, Counselor of the Azerbaijani Embassy to Georgia Sarkhan Ismayilov stated that over 3,000 companies with Azerbaijani capital are registered in Georgia as of now, more than 1,000 of which are active companies. He added that more than 600 companies with Georgian capital are registered in Azerbaijan.
"Our countries continue to carry out trade and economic cooperation. We see great potential in this direction and are confident that these relations will only develop," he said.
Speaking at the forum, Adviser to the Head of Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Agency Zohrab Gadirov stated that the trade turnover between the two countries exceeded $340 million in January-April this year.
Noting that this figure increased compared to the same period last year, he added that the mutual investments in the economies of the two countries are also growing.
"Additionally, we see interest from Georgian entrepreneurs in doing business in Azerbaijan. We are ready to cooperate with potential investors and businesses to expand economic cooperation," he said.
Likewise, Sarkhan Ismayilov also noted that Azerbaijan has invested $3.5 billion in the Georgian economy until now. He added that more than $1.5 billion of investments accounted for the share of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR).
"Azerbaijan is Georgia's main trading partner and one of the largest investors. Our companies, operating in Georgia, have created thousands of jobs in this country and pay millions of dollars taxes every year," he said.
Moreover, Zurad Pataradze also noted that the flights between Azerbaijan's Baku and Georgia's Batumi will be resumed starting from July 1 this year.
He added that it is planned to resume passenger transportation by rail from Georgia to Azerbaijan in the future.
Azersun Holding CEO Savas Uzan also stated that the holding is planning to expand its activities in Georgia. He noted that the company has been operating in Azerbaijan since 1991 and in Georgia since 1993.
"In Georgia, the company is engaged in both commercial and industrial activities. We plan to operate in logistics in the coming years, having already created the relevant infrastructure in this regard," he said.
Noting that 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries, he stated that during this period, the countries have implemented large investment and logistics projects, adding that Azersun Holding is doing its best to be a part of this process.
Azerbaijan and Georgia are collaborating in a variety of economic spheres. Azerbaijan and Georgia signed a number of cooperation agreements in 2021 as part of a meeting of the joint intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation.
In 2021, the two countries' trade turnover totalled $763.6 million, with exports accounting for $661 million and imports accounting for $102.6 million.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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