By Nigar Orujova
The role of the non-oil sector in the expansion of the Italy -Azerbaijan relations is gradually increasing, Italian Ambassador to Baku Giampaolo Cutillo said.
The statement was made on October 21 at the opening ceremony of the 21st BakuBuild Azerbaijan International Construction Exhibition.
“Italy is one of the main trade partners of Azerbaijan,” Cutillo stressed. “We have very developed relations in the oil sector, and we are interested in further expanding relations with Azerbaijan in non-oil sector as well, and the construction sector is one of the areas of interest for us.”
Italy’s interest in cooperating in this area was confirmed by the fact that the Italian national delegation was largely represented at the exhibition by various interested parties.
This year, the exhibition is being attended by about 80 Italian companies, while last year their numbers did not exceed 70.
“I am also very pleased with increase in the number of Azerbaijani companies. This exhibition plays an important role in establishing contacts and developing relations between our countries,” the ambassador said.
BakuBuild 2015, the largest construction event in the Caspian region, is underway in Baku on October 21-24. The exhibition gathers over 530 companies from 30 countries.
Italy is eager to bring economic relations with Azerbaijan to a new level at present, and many Italian companies want to enter this market.
Earlier, Baku hosted a bilateral meeting between the representatives of Italian and Azerbaijani companies.
Riccardo Monti, the president of the ICE-Italian Trade Promotion Agency, said his company served over 500 Italian companies in the last 12 months, so there is a lot of interest toward Azerbaijan.
Italian companies express interest in engineering, construction, fashion and the alternative energy sector.
To date, Italy has invested more than $480 million in Azerbaijan's economy, only $120 million of which alone was from the non-energy sector. There are 66 companies with Italian investment in Azerbaijan.
Italy tops the list of Azerbaijan’s foreign trade partners, with a trade turnover of $1.95 billion in the first eight months of this year, accounting for 13.86 percent of the country’s total trade volume, said a report from Azerbaijani State Customs Committee.
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
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