Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept.1
By Leman Zeynalova - Trend:
Switzerland and Azerbaijan over the past 25 years have established a close partnership which is characterized by openness, friendship and common interests, Ambassador of Switzerland to Azerbaijan Philipp Stalder said in an interview with AzerNews and Trend.
“My goal as Swiss Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan is to broaden the relations between our two countries in as many fields as possible - be it on the political, economic, social, cultural or scientific level - and to make our links and Switzerland's presence in Azerbaijan even stronger. A number of indicators show us that we are well underway but there is always room for further improvement,” said the ambassador.
He pointed out that there is a productive political framework for boosting bilateral relations.
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev regularly visits the Swiss Davos for participation at the World Economic Forum where he also often meets the rotating president of the Swiss Confederation, said Stalder.
“On the other hand, we witnessed three official visits from the Swiss head of state to Azerbaijan over the last years. In addition, regular bilateral visits take place on a ministerial level, between the two parliaments and the Central Bank governors,” he added.
The ambassador recalled that just a few weeks ago in July, the Chairman of the Swiss National Bank, Thomas Jordan, visited Baku and had productive meetings with his counterpart and the main actors within the government dealing with financial stability issues.
“Since my arrival in October 2015, I continuously meet with ministers, members of parliament and high officials, be it in Baku or in the provinces. From all my contacts, I sense a clear political will on both sides to strengthen bilateral relations and to continue - among other issues - with our long standing partnership on technical cooperation,” said Stalder. “In this partnership with the government, we focus on macro-economic cooperation including support for improving the framework conditions of the economic development in Azerbaijan. All in all, Switzerland plays an important role as a bilateral donor country.”
Stalder noted that since many years, a large number of multinational companies from Switzerland have close business links with Azerbaijan and a physical presence in the country.
A Swiss-French company in the cement production, for example, represents the biggest foreign direct investment in the non-oil sector, he added.
“Another Swiss company has plans to strengthen its presence in Azerbaijan through the construction of a new factory at Sumgait Chemical Industrial Park. It comes therefore not as a big surprise that - according to the State Statistics Committee of Azerbaijan - Switzerland is among the top three countries when it comes to foreign direct investments in the non-oil sector. Our companies, so far, have invested more than $370 million in Azerbaijan, according to this source,” said the ambassador.
Trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Switzerland stood at $96.5 million in January-July 2017, or 11.3 percent less as compared to the same period in 2016, according to Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee.
During the reporting period, export of Azerbaijani products to Switzerland stood at $76.86 million, while the import of Swiss products to the country amounted to $19.64 million.
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