Finland Willing to Encourage Azerbaijani Investments in Its Economy: Interview with Finland’s Foreign Trade & Development Minister

Business Materials 8 October 2008 10:40 (UTC +04:00)
Finland Willing to Encourage Azerbaijani Investments in Its Economy: Interview with Finland’s Foreign Trade & Development Minister

Azerbaijan, Baku, 7 October/ Trend , corr A. Badalova, I. Khalilova/ Azerbaijani-Finnish business forum organized by Export and Investment Promoting Fund of Azerbaijan together with Finland's Export Promoting Association will be held in Baku this week. The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Finland totaled almost to $120mln in January to July 2008.

Interview of Paavo Vayrynen, minister for foreign trade and development of Finland with Trend prior to his visit to Baku on 8 October

Question: What areas of Azerbaijani economy enjoy the most interest among businessmen of your country? What prospects do you see for cooperation with Azerbaijani businessmen?

Answer: Finland has expertise that might interest Azerbaijan for example in the fields of communications, logistics, health care, energy efficient oil and gas power plants, energy conservation, alternative energy production and environmental technologies. One of the main purposes of our visit is to learn to know better the Azerbaijani economy and industry and to make contacts between the enterprises of our countries.

Question: What are prospects of deepening Azerbaijan-Finland cooperation in financial and banking spheres?

Answer: Until now the co-operation in the banking or financial sector has been very small indeed, almost non-existent. So in this sense we of course have all the room for enlargement. Seriously, we have to see on both sides whether and what kind of needs there would be for a deepened co-operation in any particular sector, including financial. We are open to suggestions and not shy to suggest co-operation in some specific sector if we see it benefiting the sector and our overall relations.

Question: What does your visit program to Azerbaijan include? What projects Finland can offer Azerbaijani businessmen for investing?

Answer: The program of my visit to Azerbaijan will offer excellent opportunities for Finnish companies and Azerbaijani business community to exchange business ideas and establish networks, as well as strengthen already existing relations. I would also like to encourage Azerbaijani companies to take a close look at Finland as an investment destination and find out the benefits in investing in Finland.

Finland is one of the most open economies in the world. The high level of investment in education and in R&D in Finland has brought the Finnish private sector to the forefront in adopting new technologies and promoting a culture of innovation. This is something that Azerbaijani companies could benefit from in joint-projects and cooperation.

The business seminar on the 8th of October is an example of what is done to promote Azerbaijani-Finnish relations, especially in the fields of trade and investment.

Question: Current economic ties between two countries are not strong enough. Which obstacles are there on the way of economic cooperation? What measures should be taken for its expansion?

Answer: Here you are unfortunately quite right. The relations between our countries are good, but indeed there is room for more activity in the economic relations, including trade. From the point of view of economic relations, the most important agreements have been signed and ratified, i.e. agreement on avoiding double taxation and the agreement on protection of investments. There are some agreements currently under preparation that will further improve opportunities for enhancing ties in specific sectors.

However I would say that there are no major obstacles, unless we consider our geocraphic distance and maybe lack of experience of each other as obstacles.

There is no beating about the bush, we just have to take the courage and learn more about each other and our economies, I am sure that can change the trend. As I said previously, this is one of the main objectives of our visit and the business seminar.

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