Azerbaijan, Baku / corr Trend I.Khalilova / The Governments of Azerbaijan and Switzerland have redefined the direction of the development of their economic relations, because the current amount of commerce circulated between the two countries, as well as Swiss investment, do not reflect the potential, said Monika Rule Burzi, the co-chair of the intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation, on 14 November after the third meeting of the commission in Baku.
Swiss companies have taken interest in the work within the spheres of energy, ecology, construction, and machine-building industry.
"Big investors such as Holcim and Nestle have already come to Azerbaijan, and now the alliance of machine-building companies is also interested in entering the Azerbaijani market," Burzi said.
According to data provided by Switzerland, from 1995-2006 the total amount of capital investments in Azerbaijan made up $26mln. Burza said that in order to increase the amount of capital investments, a relevant legal basis needed to be established. So, an agreement was reached on Mutual Protection and Promotion Investments and on Avoiding Dual Taxation in 2007.
"The Swiss Government is prepared to assist Azerbaijan in its entrance to the WTO, which will also contribute to the development of economic relations between the two countries," Burzi said.
Heydar Babayev, the Azerbaijani Minister for Economic Cooperation, and the co-chair of the commission, declared the existence of real opportunities for expanding the trade-economic relations. Swiss companies are interested not only in organizing the production of equipment and watches in Azerbaijan, but also voiced an interest in assessing risks in the country.
"The highest risk category in the financial, insurance and other sectors is estimated by the Swiss company as the so-called 'hotbed effect'. It will be profitable for us," Babayev.
Over the past year the commerce turnover between the two countries made up $50.2mln, and over the first 6 months of 2007, it was $19.7mln.
An agreement was signed as a result of the meeting.
The intergovernmental commission was established in 2003. The second meeting of the commission was held in Bern last year.