By Sara Israfilbayova
Italy intends to take serious steps for development of cooperation with Azerbaijan in non-oil sector, said Italy’s Minister of Economic Development Carlo Calenda.
Calenda made the remarks during his meeting with Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov , who is on an official visit in Italy, on April 20.
Azerbaijan is an important economic partner of Italy, Italian companies operate successfully in Azerbaijan, particularly, in the energy sector, and it is necessary to take serious steps in order to continue this cooperation, said Calenda.
The two ministers expressed satisfaction with the level of bilateral relations both in political and economic spheres, and noted the importance of continuing the efforts to further strengthen the ties.
Relations between the two countries have strategic nature, said Mammadyarov.
He noted that Italy is the biggest trade partner of Azerbaijan and the two countries are cooperating successfully in such spheres as energy, petrochemical industry, transportation, tourism, humanitarian sphere and others.
Calenda and Mammadyarov also noted the importance of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) for Italy in terms of providing additional gas volumes.
The two ministers also exchanged views on transnational transport corridors.
In 2016, the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Italy amounted to $1.89 billion decreasing by 33.5 percent as compared to 2015. Italy, which has been ranking first among major trade partners of Azerbaijan during eight years, was the third in late 2016.
During the previous year, Azerbaijan exported goods worth $1.56 billion to Italy that accounted for 17.06 percent of Azerbaijan’s total export volume. Import from Italy totaled $332.19 million decreasing by 43.5 percent as compared to 2015.
However, in early 2017, Italy again became the leader among Azerbaijan’s trade partners. According to Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee, the two countries’ trade turnover amounted to $461.5 million in January-March 2017, increasing by 41.4 percent as compared to the 1Q2016.
Italy also remained as the main importer of Azerbaijani products. The volume of export to Italy amounted to $422.67 million. Azerbaijan, for its part, imported Italian goods worth $38.84 million.
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