BAKU, Azerbaijan, March 13. Azerbaijan continues to be at the forefront on the world stage and is becoming an increasingly attractive partner for Europe. President Ilham Aliyev's working visit to Germany on March 13-14 is another case of how Azerbaijan’s importance for Europe has increased over the last couple years.
Multiple meetings with the representatives of leading German companies scheduled for this visit, as well as meetings with German President Frank Walter Steinmeier and German Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholtz, are expected to give another impetus to the development of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Germany.
The contract-legal base between Azerbaijan and Germany is quite broad. In this field, 77 documents have been signed so far and 7 draft documents are under consideration.
This cooperation, indeed, is one of the most successful among the EU members. Over the last 30 years, economic relations between the two countries have reached There are over 200 German companies registered in Azerbaijan, while around 170 are members of the Azerbaijani-German chamber of commerce. These companies operate in such spheres as energy, industry, agriculture, transport, communication, construction, banking, insurance, trade and service.
The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Germany in 2022 totaled over $1.25 billion, of which $591.3 million accounted for Azerbaijani exports, and $663.5 million – for imports. Over the last year, Germany ranked 8th in the total Azerbaijan’s foreign trade, and 4th - among the main countries of origin for Azerbaijani imports.
Azerbaijan’s oil supplies to Germany are one of the footholds in the total trade. Thus, oil exports to Germany over the last year totaled 801,440 tons worth $563.7 million. At the same time, Germany concluded the TOP-10 of Azerbaijan’s main oil importers in 2022.
The cooperation between the two countries in the field of energy is developing rapidly. Back in 2013, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) and Uniper SE, German gas trader, have signed a long-term gas supply contract.
Since the Southern Gas Corridor that delivers Azerbaijani gas to Europe was launched, Uniper has been one of the main buyers on the market. This is the company's longest-term gas purchase project, which will last until 2045. To date, 3.1 bcm of gas has been supplied to Uniper from Azerbaijan. SOCAR exported 1,764,500 tons of crude oil to Germany last year.
Moreover, in 2016, SOCAR and Uniper created a Joint Venture to develop energy efficiency projects in Azerbaijan. The first project was the improvement and operation of the steam and power production complex at the Azerikimya Production Association's chemical plant in Sumgait. The project is expected to be completed by summer 2023. The electricity produced at the plant will be supplied to SOCAR's enterprises and then delivered to the national electricity grid of Azerbaijan.
When it comes to the reconstruction process in Azerbaijan’s liberated territories, there is a huge potential for German companies to participate, especially in the sectors where Germany is traditionally very strong, like renewables, machine building, the automotive industry, chemical industry and electronics. The concept of “smart” cities and villages, which goes together with renewables, is also one of the field of interest for Germany.
The tourists flow between the two countries increased significantly over the last years. The number of Germans traveling to Azerbaijan in 2022 almost tripled, totaling 14,426. At the same time, the number of Azerbaijanis visiting Germany in the past year amounted to 21,791 people, which is almost 4 times more than in 2021.
The visit of President Ilham Aliyev to Germany is a vivid evidence of the comprehensive and progressive development of the Azerbaijani-German strategic partnership, which, thus, will open a new page in the relations between the two countries.
This visit shows that Azerbaijan, which, effectively using its economic and geostrategic advantages, has become the leading country in the South Caucasus, which attracts more and more partners to cooperate.