Great Britain, London, March 10 / Trend N. Ismayilova /
Azerbaijan is a major export market for Great Britain and some EU member-states, Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman Nick Anstee said in his speech within the trade and investment forum "The United Kingdom in Azerbaijan", which took place in London on March 8. The forum was organized with the support of the Middle East Association and the International Bank of Azerbaijan.
"This conference is very timely today. It is a consequence of two visits of British business delegations to Baku, showing the wide interest", Alderman said.
According to him, Azerbaijan is considered as an important representative of a developing market. Today, there are over 160 British companies, ranging from small and medium enterprises, to such large, as Azerbaijan International Operating Company, Rolls Royce, BP in Azerbaijan.
"Azerbaijan is the third largest export market for Great Britain in Eastern Europe and the CIS, after Russia and Ukraine", Lord Mayor said.
According to him, the Azerbaijani government is working to diversify the economy to reduce dependence on oil and gas, in particular in sectors such as methanol production, financial services and tourism.
"There is also a need for Azerbaijan to conduct activities to stimulate growth of investments, such as improving financial transparency and corporate governance", he said
Also there is a need for Azerbaijan's activities to stimulate growth investments, such as improving financial transparency and corporate governance", - he said.
According to him, Azerbaijan's economy was not so much affected by the global financial crisis. The country's banking sector has developed rapidly over the past six years by increasing at 900 percent. Proportion of the Azerbaijani International Bank on the banking market is about 50 percent.
The Central Bank encourages foreign banks to join the Azerbaijani economy.
"The banking industry in Azerbaijan today, of course, is an example of standards of transparency and effective governance", Alderman said.
In his speech, he expressed hope for an increase of bilateral trade and investment opportunities between Azerbaijan and Great Britain in future.
According to Azerbaijani Ambassador to Great Britain Fakhraddin Gurbanov, Britain has played a key role in its development since Azerbaijan gained its independence.
"Azerbaijan has launched a very large and strategically important project on construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline with the support of Great Britain. Today, the UK is the largest foreign investor in Azerbaijan's economy. British companies conduct activities in various sectors of the economy", ambassador said.
At present, over 170 British companies are operating in the country and about 5,000 British citizens live and work in Azerbaijan, he said.