By Sara Israfilbayova
The 14th meeting of the intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan was held in Baku on December 7, where the sides discussed potential cooperation in the field of energy, agriculture, transport, tourism and railway engineering.
Addressing the meeting, Azerbaijani Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov noted that the commission has carried out professional, constructive, complex and fruitful work over the past two days.
“Our countries were developing rapidly, very dynamically over these years,” he said. “Both countries have rich natural resources and have been able to attract foreign companies for cooperation.”
The minister said that both countries have favorable geographic location, adding that as a result, the countries successfully implement transport projects.
SOCAR Trading company transported 835,100 tons of Kazakh oil in 2016 and 3,500 tons of Kazakh oil for 10 months of this year.
Speaking at the event Kazakh Energy Minister Kanat Bozumbayev said that the trade and economic cooperation in core of relations between the two countries.
“Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries, a constructive dialogue for solving topical issues has been dynamically developing,” the minister said.
Bozumbayev stressed the importance of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev's visit to Azerbaijan in April, when a number of agreements were signed and the task was set to double the trade turnover between the two countries.
Cooperation between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan in energy and transportation has great potential, the minister noted.
“I am confident today’s meeting will contribute to development of cooperation between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan,” said Bozumbayev.
The minister also noted that the commission’s meeting will contribute to strengthening of bilateral relations and will help fulfill the tasks set by the Azerbaijani and Kazakh presidents.
Touching upon the trade turnover between the countries the minister noted that it does not correspond to its potential.
Following the event the sides adopted a “road map” of trade and economic cooperation for 2018-2020 and signed the final protocol of the 14th meeting.
Commenting on this, Shahbazov told reporters that the intergovernmental commission was instructed to hold a meeting within the year and reach agreements on all spheres of cooperation.
“The task and activity’s directions were clear, and during the last two days, intensive work was carried out at the expert level, as a result of which a protocol and an action plan, which will serve as a basis for further cooperation, were agreed upon,” he said.
The minister added that a number of concrete proposals were reflected in the “road map.”
“The document covers a lot of areas of cooperation between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan: trade, transport, agriculture, engineering, tourism,” Shahbazov said. “These are the spheres where we have outlined close cooperation over the next three years.”
Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in August, 1992. Both countries are full members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Turkic Council, Joint Administration of Turkic Arts and Culture, Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
The two countries have already signed over 100 agreements, which constitute legal basis for negotiations between the countries. More than 20 of those are in the field of economy.
Both Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan attach great importance to the development of bilateral trade and economic ties. There is a successfully operating Intergovernmental Commission, and business forums are held regularly.
Today, about 37 Kazakh companies involved in different sectors of economy are successfully doing their business in Azerbaijan. In a western region of Kazakhstan alone, a total of 46 companies with Azerbaijani capital are registered.
For Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan the most important points of cooperation appear to be the contacts on energy issues, oil transportation, agriculture, and the use of the Caspian Sea as an important international traffic artery.
Now the two countries are working on promotion of a joint transport project - the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR), which involves cargo transportation from China via Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and further via Turkey and Ukraine to Europe.
The trade turnover between the sides increased by 3.7 percent and amounted to $102.5 million over the three quarters of this year.
In particular, export from Azerbaijan increased by 7.3 percent and amounted to $21.8 million, while import from Kazakhstan increased by 2.7 percent and amounted to $80.7 million.