Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 4
By Seba Aghayeva - Trend:
Spain and its companies aim to develop long-term cooperation with Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan's ambassador to Spain Altay Afandiyev told Trend.
"The economic relations between Azerbaijan and Spain can be estimated as dynamically developing ones having good prospects," he said. "The trade-economic relations between the two countries have been changed both quantitatively and qualitatively for the last 3-4 years. One should stress the active participation of Spanish companies, including small and medium-sized ones, in the implementation of various projects. In particular, it is observed in the development of urban, transport and social infrastructure, construction and equipping the administrative buildings and complexes, creating and supplying equipment for the sports facilities and related infrastructure created for the first European Games, as well as in the areas of alternative energy, ecology, agriculture and others."
He said that at the same time, Spanish companies show interest in the new areas of strategic importance for bilateral, regional and international cooperation.
"In this regard, we should mention the international consortium led by Spain's Tеcnicas Reunidas company which implements one of the largest projects of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) in Turkey - the construction of a petrochemical complex in Aliaga city," the ambassador said.
"This company is interested in the further strengthening and expansion of cooperation. It is holding negotiations with SOCAR on participation in a very large project for modernization of the country's petrochemical complex," the diplomat added.
Another large company, Gas Natural Fenosa has signed a long-term agreement with SOCAR (Shah Deniz consortium) on purchasing and distribution of natural gas in Europe, according to the ambassador.
The ambassador said recently, Spain's Enagas has acquired a 16-percent share in such an important regional project as TANAP.
All this shows that Spain and Spanish companies seriously intend to develop long-term cooperation with Azerbaijan, according to Afandiyev.
"At the moment, the relations are developing outside the system of promotion and development of trade and economic relations, which must be created at the intergovernmental level," the diplomat said.
He went on to add that targeted work is being conducted in this direction, adding, "I believe that soon we will be able to see new dynamics and content in our relations."
"All of the abovementioned confirms the Spanish government's intention to create a more committed and coherent policy," the diplomat added.
He said the deep economic crisis, which hit Spain, and the response to it in the form of Spanish government's new strategy on active promotion of goods and services on international markets, put the Spanish economic diplomacy face to face with the task of entering new prospective markets.
"In this context, Azerbaijan is one of the most attractive countries," Afandiyev cited.
The diplomat noted that the dynamics of growth in the number of Spanish companies in Azerbaijan, with both large and small, and medium ones, is impressive.
"And this is with the fact that there is still a lack of data, insufficient development of the legal and contractual framework, lack of institutional support and incentive mechanisms," he said.
Moreover, the lack of direct flights between the two countries also has its impact, said Afandiyev
At present, both public and private structures representing interests of the business circles in Spain work on a number of measures to level the above mentioned issues and promote the entry of Spanish companies to the Azerbaijani market, the ambassador said.
"The spread of the interests of Spanish companies is the widest," he said. "It covers the construction, architecture, design and decoration of the interior, alternative energy, industry and energy, information and communication technology, environmental protection, transport infrastructure, agriculture and food, design and engineering services, tourism and tourism infrastructure."
Spain as a whole is interested in attracting foreign investments, and Azerbaijan is not an exception in this regard, the diplomat said.
"For example, investments from the oil-producing countries in the Middle East have increased in recent years," said Afandiyev. "In addition to the favorable situation, the investment climate has been greatly simplified in the country, a list of priority projects for which Spain intends to attract capital has been prepared. The parties need to conduct more targeted work in this direction."
Edited by CN