Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct.30/ Trend S.Agayeva /
Establishing the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia is another important incentive for Azerbaijani investors to come to Belarus. Now a capacious sales market of 170 million people from the three countries bordering both the European Union and China opens up for investors from Belarus, First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus and co-chair of the Intergovernmental Belarusian-Azerbaijani commission for cooperation Vladimir Semashko, who is on visit to Baku, said in an interview with Trend.
"We have already felt Azerbaijani capital increasing interest in Belarus," Semashko said.
At present, three Azerbaijani companies (International Bank of Azerbaijan, Azersun Holding and the Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) under the Ministry of Economic Development of Azerbaijan have been registered as participants of the seventh Belarusian Investment Forum to be held on Nov.15-16, 2012 in Minsk with the participation of Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich.
By the end of the year it is also planned to hold another Belarusian-Azerbaijani business forum in Minsk through the economic ministries of the two countries, Belarusian National Agency for Investment and Privatisation and AZPROMO, with discussions of investment projects in various sectors of the economy, he said.
"I am confident that given the dynamics of our relations, the event will be held at a high level. I hope the forum will be a good opportunity for Azerbaijani participants to get acquainted with the country's economic potential and establish useful contacts in Belarus which will serve to expand Azerbaijani companies' activity abroad and strengthen the Belarusian -Azerbaijani partnership," Semashko underlined.
At present active joint work is underway to establish a resource centre for secondary special education in Azerbaijan, joint production of medicines and launching production of buses and tractors. Implementation of the pilot project to construct a township of 45 houses for displaced persons continues. Preparation for an IT forum through the ministries of communications of the two countries scheduled for 2013, as well as creation of Belarusian High-Tech Park has started.
"This is not a complete list of our joint projects which confirms the mutual desire to continue active dialogue in the interests of the development of Belarusian-Azerbaijani multi-aspect partnership," he said. "For Belarus, today Azerbaijan is a key state in the South Caucasus with which we share a common history, friendly relations and mutual economic interest," Semashko added.
He said a joint working group to further develop proposals for the implementation of joint innovation projects led by the two countries' heads of science academies, has been formed and started working.
"A legal framework for the promotion of joint innovation projects in the science and technical sphere has been formed. A series of agreements on cooperation in science and technology have been signed that creates, as I suggested, a real system of promotion of innovative projects.
"These agreements also envisage holding joint grant competitions. We hope that our scientists, sharing experiences and using obtained results will be able to develop new and improve existing laser, optical, opto-electronic, bio and nanotechnology and offer new areas for their use, contributing to development of knowledge-intensive industries," Semashko said.
He said Azerbaijan and Belarus share similar approaches in the development of information and communication technologies which are considered as a tool for socio-economic progress, one of the key factors in innovative economic development.
"Rapid increase in access to broadband Internet in our countries is a good prerequisite for such bilateral cooperation in the ICT sphere as is the creation of Internet companies and other web projects. It is supposed that the use of the Internet for business development will be one of the main topics of the second business forum in ICT to be held in Minsk in 2012," Semashko said.
Among the future projects, he also singled out establishment of assembling buses, tractors, mounted and trailed equipment for tractors and freight cars.
"Interaction with Sumgait Technology Park, which has unique equipment and develops the most advanced technology, is a prospect for the implementation of new projects in the field of mechanical engineering.
"The Belarusian side is also willing to consider opportunities for partnership in other areas. We have a proposal for the implementation of joint projects in the pharmaceutical, petrochemical and food industry. In whatever areas we did not create industrial cooperation projects, they will be one of the key factors of long term mutually beneficial cooperation between Belarus and Azerbaijan," Semashko said.
Semashko's negotiation agenda in Baku includes discussion of the wide range of issues of bilateral cooperation, especially in the trade and economic sphere. Serious attention will be paid to joint cooperation projects, expansion of cooperation in the field of innovation, as well as investment cooperation.