By Rasana Gasimova
The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Italy increased by 10,5 percent in the period of January-September year-on-year in 2019, Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov has said.
Addressing the 5th meeting of the Azerbaijani-Italian Intergovernmental Commission on economic cooperation held in Rome on January 14, Shahbazov said that Italy is one of Azerbaijan’s main trade partners and some 113 Italian companies operating in various fields are registered in Azerbaijan.
Italy has so far invested $770 million in Azerbaijan’s economy, and Azerbaijan has invested $1.7 billion in the Italian economy.
Shahbazov noted that the economic partnership between the two countries is primarily based on the energy sector and Azerbaijan is one of Italy's major oil suppliers, saying that SOCAR has supplied 15.9 million tons of crude oil, 189,000 tons of oil products and 43,700 tons of petrochemical products to Italy over the last two years.
Noting that Italian companies are involved in Azerbaijan’s important energy projects, the Minister spoke about the importance of TAP as a project to strengthen energy cooperation.
“This year the Southern Gas Corridor will be commissioned, and this is of strategic importance for ensuring the energy security of our countries, partners, and Europe. The implementation of more than 90 percent of the project is an indicator of the support that Italian government has provided for the project,” he said.
Shahbazov said that the joint efforts will ensure the timely completion of the TAP project, noting that it will also contribute to address issues such as safe, diversified and competitive energy supply, as well as decarbonization.
He also spoke about the reforms carried out in the country under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, diversification of the economy and measures to increase the availability of the business environment.
He invited Italian companies to benefit from the economic opportunities available in Azerbaijan and cooperate in areas such as energy, non-oil sector, new technologies and investments.
Addressing the event, Manlio Di Stefano, Secretary of State of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said that the meeting will play an important role in assessing existing cooperation and developing relations in new areas.
Joint measures to deepen cooperation in trade and economic, energy, logistics and infrastructure, agriculture, culture and tourism and other fields were identified during the meeting. AZPROMO, Azerbaijan Investment Company, the Agency for Development of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan and relevant Italian agencies reviewed Investment opportunities in both countries.
Following the meeting, a protocol was signed by the co-chairs of the intergovernmental commission - Parviz Shahbazov and Manlio Di Stefano.
As part of the 5th meeting of the Azerbaijani-Italian Intergovernmental Commission, Parviz Shahbazov met with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, Italian Minister of Economic Development Stefano Patuanelli and State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Manlio Di Stefano. During the meetings, the sides exchanged views on measures to expand political and economic relations, as well as the Southern Gas Corridor and its integral part TAP.
It was noted that the Azerbaijani-Italian trade and economic partnership, in particular in the energy sector, is strategically important, and the meeting of the intergovernmental commission and meetings will provide important steps to strengthen these relations.
Shahbazov also met with the leaders of 8 Italian companies, including “Maire Tecnimont”, “Ansaldo Energia”, “Tenaris” and “Technip Italy”.
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