By Aynur Karimova
Azerbaijan has invited Swiss companies to take an active part in the privatization of state enterprises in the country.
Addressing the 7th meeting of the Azerbaijani-Swiss intergovernmental commission in Baku on March 10, Shahin Mustafayev, Azerbaijan's Economy and Industry Minister said that trade cooperation between the two countries is developing successfully.
Mustafayev believes that that there is a potential to increase Swiss investments in Azerbaijan.
Switzerland is one of the largest investors in the non-oil sector of Azerbaijan's fast-growing economy. Currently, some 65 companies with Swiss capital are operating in the country. They have invested $220 million in the country's economy. One of them is Holcim Azerbaijan, which is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the non-oil sector of Azerbaijan.
Mustafayev also highlighted the activity of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, which has successfully implemented 30 projects worth $90 million in Azerbaijan. The secretariat itself has allocated $25 million of this amount.
Currently, SECO is implementing eight projects worth $15.7 million in the country, including the infrastructure projects and the projects on improving the business field.
Today, Azerbaijan and Switzerland are also successfully cooperating in the fields of transport and tourism. Mustafayev believes that the two countries should increase the tourist flow between each other.
The minister further added that Azerbaijan's state energy company SOCAR has invested 400 million francs in Switzerland’s energy sector.
To date, SOCAR has bought 148 filling stations in the country. Seven percent of the retail market and eight percent of the wholesale market of oil products, as well as 25 percent of the LPG market of Switzerland account for SOCAR.
Also, large Swiss companies are considering the possibility of producing their products in Azerbaijan.
In particular, SIKA Company is interested in receiving a status of resident of the Sumgayit chemical-industrial park.
During the meeting of the commission, it was noted that the company plans to invest $5.3 million in the creation of production of construction mixes in the Park.
Meanwhile, Swiss multinational ABB Global Marketing FZ Company intends to open production sites in Azerbaijan. The company is mainly engaged in the production of energy equipment.
Nоvaritus Pharma Services and Roche companies, in turn, study the possibility of cooperation with Azerbaijan in the production of medicines.
During the meeting, the two countries also discussed the possibility of cooperation in the field of production of medical equipment.
Azerbaijan and Switzerland agreed to expand cooperation in the industry, trade, investment, agriculture, energy and tourism sectors.
The relevant protocol was signed at the end of the 7th meeting of the intergovernmental commission by Mustafayev and Livia Leu, a representative of SEKO.
The document says that physical end legal entities of Azerbaijan and Switzerland should respect territorial integrity sovereignty of the two countries, fundamental norms and principles of international law.
Aynur Karimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Aynur_Karimova
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