Azerbaijan, S. Korea ink framework agreement on grant support

14 January 2019 17:55 (UTC+04:00)

By Leman Mammadova

Being reliable partners Azerbaijan and South Korea are further developing bilateral economic ties with each passing day and both enjoy its positive outcomes.

Azerbaijan and South Korea have signed a framework agreement on grant support, Trend reports citing the Azerbaijani Economy Ministry.

The signing took place during the meeting of Azerbaijan’s Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev with Ambassador of South Korea to Azerbaijan Kim Tong-op. The Country Director of the KOICA Azerbaijan Office in Azerbaijan, Park Kumok, also attended the meeting.

The document  envisages the continuation of joint cooperation on technical assistance and grant support between the two countries.

During the meeting, the minister underlined the legal base of cooperation created between Azerbaijan and South Korea, noting that 57 documents have been signed so far and 74 South Korean companies are registered in Azerbaijan that participate as contractors in government projects.

Stressing the expansion of trade and economic relations, Mustafayev noted that the trade turnover for the 11 months of 2018 doubled in comparison with the same period of 2017. The South Korean side has invested about $ 180 million in the Azerbaijani economy, and Azerbaijan has invested $ 474 million in South Korea.

The minister underlined that according to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 report, Azerbaijan improved its position by rising to 32 notches and ranked 25th among 190 countries, entering the top ten reformer countries.

South Korean Ambassador Kim Tong Op said that his country is interested in expanding cooperation with Azerbaijan, and the signed document will be significant from this point of view.

Diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and South Korea were established in 1992. The relations became more intensive after the establishment of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Azerbaijan in 2006 and the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Korea in 2007.

South Korean government declared Azerbaijan as a priority country for economic cooperation for 2011-2013. In 2015, the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation was established between Azerbaijan and South Korea.

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) was founded as a government agency on April 1, 1991, to maximize the effectiveness of South Korea's grant aid programs for developing countries by implementing the government's grant aid and technical cooperation programs. 
 
The assistance of KOICA to Azerbaijan started in 1994, and the KOICA Office in Azerbaijan was established in 2009. Since the beginning of cooperation, 11 Grant Projects were successfully completed with total grant aid worth USD 49.28 mln and currently, 2 projects are being implemented. Starting from 1994 over 700 Azerbaijani officials and government employees participated in the KOICA capacity building training programs aiming at sharing Korea's development experience and technology transfer. The total amount of KOICA’s Grant ODA allocated to Azerbaijan up to 2017 is $ 57.32 million.
 
South Korean company KOTRA's office in Baku was opened in 2008. KOTRA is a trade and investment promotion company established to develop mutual cooperation between Korea and its trade partners.

Trade turnover between the countries amounted to $85.5 million in 2017, according to Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee.

Azerbaijan and South Korea are actively cooperating in areas such as infrastructure, energy, construction, transport, information technology, environment, alternative energy.

The largest South Korean company Samsung is implementing a number of projects in Azerbaijan.

Last year, Azerbaijan and South Korea have signed the Agreement on Mutual Assistance and Cooperation in Customs matters.

Recently, Azerbaijan’s State Maritime Administration and Korean Oceans and Fisheries Ministry signed two documents to give impetus to develop the relations between the two countries in maritime transport, trade and cooperation spheres.

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