By Nazrin Gadimova
China, which has the world's second-largest economy, entered the list of the top ten trade partners of Azerbaijan.
The country’s investment in the economy of Azerbaijan has reached $300 million since 2002, said Yu Chunchi, Chinese Ambassador Adviser in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan and China opened a new page in their relations after President Ilham Aliyev visited China in December 2015. During the visit, several meetings, negotiations were held and 10 documents were signed. Cooperation issues almost in all spheres were discussed.
The two countries voiced intention to protect mutual interests and deepen fruitful cooperation, providing stable and safe conditions for the successful and sustainable development.
Chunchi believes that energy industry, particularly alternative energy sources, as well as tourism and agriculture are the main areas of cooperation between China and Azerbaijan.
“At the same time, China supports all efforts of Azerbaijan on the development of the non-oil sector,” the diplomat stressed.
Chunchi further noted the reasonability of the agricultural sector development, adding that Azerbaijan and China have the potential for development of cooperation in such areas as cotton growing and livestock.
Cooperation with China is of significant importance in terms of development of seed farming, cotton processing and seed cleaning in Azerbaijan. China, some 300 million people of which are involved in cotton production in the country's 24 provinces, attaches great importance to Azerbaijan's climate and soil capabilities for seed farming and cotton breeding.
Touching upon the New Silk Road, Chunchi said it creates additional opportunities for cooperation between the two countries.
“As for the Trans-Caspian transport corridor, China welcomes such transportation of goods across Azerbaijan, Chunchi added.
Trans Caspian route shortens the time and distance between China and Europe. When the route will be connected with the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, a cargo train launched from China will be able to reach Europe in less than 14 days which will be the most competitive route in terms of transport time.
Relations between Azerbaijan and China have a long history. Because of its advantageous geographical situation, Azerbaijan was a natural crossing point on the way from East to West and North to South and was one of the main trade, transport and cultural centers on the Great Silk Road.
China is a huge opportunity and a priority market for Azerbaijan. More than 50 agreements were signed between the two countries so far.
The Azerbaijani State Customs Committee reports that the trade turnover with China reached $565.1 million last year, while its unit weight in the total trade turnover of Azerbaijan amounted to 2.74 percent. In late 2015, China ranked ninth in the list of the largest trade partners of Azerbaijan.
Nazrin Gadimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @NazrinGadimova
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