By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
European Union (EU) and Azerbaijan cooperate in different fields and energy cooperation, which was launched in 2006, is especially noticeable.
EU is still the main trade partner of Azerbaijan, Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said at the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Brussels on May 13.
He said EU accounts for approximately 42 percent share of Azerbaijan’s foreign trade turnover.
Mammadyarov also stated that EU holds the main place among the biggest investors in Azerbaijan and noted that traditional joint EU-Azerbaijan Business Forum attracts many representatives of EU’s various industries and services sector.
Then, he added that next business forum will be held in Baku on June 13, where EU states will demonstrate Europe’s industry and its business objectives in Azerbaijan.
Mammadyarov noted that realistic consideration of different challenges in the region must be a base for cooperation within the framework of EaP and this is offered by last Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels in 2017.
The FM emphasized that focus must be made on the benefits and potential value-added for countries, which have various degrees of political and trade cooperation with the EU.
“We believe that once implemented, those deliverables will have a potential to bring a greater degree of resilience, prosperity, development and connectivity to our region,” he said.
Mammadyarov also stated that discussions on “20 Deliverables for 2020” must be held in equal conditions for partners and tangible results will determine success of this project.
He pointed out that some of those goals are also in line with Azerbaijan’s strategic roadmaps on key sectors.
“Institutional and structural reforms are being continued in order to ensure a sustainable economic development and socio-economic growth in Azerbaijan,” Mammadyarov added.
The minister also said that according to the latest “Doing Business Report”, published by the World Bank, Azerbaijan ranks 25th in the world thanks to the reforms carried out and the improved business climate. Moreover, according to the assessment of Davos World Economic Forum, Azerbaijan is ranked 34th with regard to the quality of growth.
Mammadyarov further noted that the Azerbaijani government keeps on carrying out large-scale programs regarding human rights and highlighted the recently adopted State Program on the Development of Justice in 2019-2023.
The FM also stressed that promotion of regional trade corridors can be provided by the extension of the indicative map of the Trans-European Networks to Azerbaijan and further to Asia.
“In fact, port and rail administrations, as well as some private logistics companies from Georgia, Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Austria, and Germany are already there with Azerbaijan in some regional trade corridors. That list continues to grow,” he said.
Mammadyarov underlined the interest of Europe in being partner with Azerbaijan in this strategic trade area and added that zerbaijan shares own opportunities and infrastructure with neighbors and the countries in Asia and Europe.
Ttaking into account EU’s various cooperation strategies with some Asian countries, East-West, North-South and some synergies are possible, the FM added.
“Azerbaijan goes beyond its land borders to create more trade dynamic across the wider region, and is doing so despite being a land-locked country. Therefore, we have established credible partnerships with the ports in the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and Romania, just to name a few,” he stated.
Mammadyarov also added that Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is in the very final stage of construction.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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