By Leman Mammadova
Azerbaijan and China are successfully expanding the scope of cooperation in economy and trade.
Azerbaijan Investment Company (AIC) and Chinese China CAMC Engineering Co, a member of the Chinese National Machinery Industry Corporation (SINOMACH), have signed a memorandum of understanding on creation of an agro-industrial park in Azerbaijan.
The signing took place during a meeting between Shahin Mustafayev, Economy Minister of Azerbaijan, and a delegation led by Luo Yan, Marketing Director of SINOMACH and Chairman of CAMCE, in Baku on September 20.
“For the implementation of the project, a working group will be created that will determine the place of the agro-industrial park,” said Shahin Mustafayev, Minister of Economy.
“We expect that specific steps will be taken to implement this project at the China International Import Expo 2019 to be held in November in Shanghai this year,” he added.
Mustafayev said that the project provides for the construction of a tractor plant, a plant for the production of irrigation equipment, plants for processing agricultural products. Investments in the project are estimated at $700 million. The project will create several thousand jobs.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Luo Yan noted that along with the oil sector in Azerbaijan, there are vast opportunities for development in the non-oil sector, especially in agriculture.
“Azerbaijan is one of the most important countries on the Silk Road. We can now make the appropriate decisions during the import exhibition to be held in China in November. We must mobilize our mutual efforts in the development of relations between the two countries, including the development of the Azerbaijani economy,” Yan said.
On the same day, China CAMC Engineering Co also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Fund (AZPROMO), and a contract on engineering, construction and supply with AS Group Investment LLC.
“The construction of a tire plant in Azerbaijan on the territory of the Sumgayit Chemical Industrial Park, which will be built under the agreement with the Chinese CNEEC (China National Electric Engineering Co Ltd), may begin in early 2020,” Mustafayev told journalists.
In his words, the feasibility study for the construction of a tire plant will be ready by late 2019.
Currently, the share in the project is supposed to be as follows: CNEEC – 90 percent, Azerbaijan Investment Company (AIC) – 10 percent. The production capacity of the plant will be 3.3 million tires per year.
These new projects together with the Chinese companies are being implemented in view of the recently signed contracts worth $821 million covering many fields. The documents were signed the sidelines of the second Belt and Road International Forum in April this year.
Mustafayev also noted that Azerbaijan and China mull setting up joint ventures in the near future.
He said that it is about creating a plant for the production of tractors, various types of agricultural machinery, as well as plants for processing agricultural products. “Investments in the amount of $ 100 million will be invested in the implementation of these large-scale projects, which will contribute to the opening of several thousand jobs.”
Mustafayev underlined that Azerbaijan plans to increase investment in the implementation of projects in industry, the agricultural sector, as well as in the implementation of infrastructure projects.
He further stressed that Azerbaijan plans to open three trading houses and one wine house in China by late 2019.
He noted that trade relations with China are growing. “Following the results of the first half of 2019, trade between the two countries increased by 2.3 times and reached $1.4 billion,” Mustafayev stressed.
“Most of Azerbaijan’s exports fell to oil, however, in recent years we have seen the diversification of trade and Azerbaijani agricultural products. Azerbaijani wine has found a niche in the Chinese market,” he said.
Azerbaijan's trade and wine houses have been operating in Shanghai, Urumqi and Liuzhou cities to ensure export of Made in Azerbaijan products to China.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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