Minister: Azerbaijan has great potential to expand trade with OIC member-countries

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 21 / Trend I. Khalilova /

The development of Azerbaijan's cooperation with member-countries of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) as a priority in foreign relations is of strategic importance, azerbaijani Minister of Economic Development Shahin Mustafayev said at a meeting of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, dedicated to preparing a road map for strengthening trade between the OIC member-countries.

"After gaining independence, Azerbaijan was the first among the CIS countries which became the OIC member in 1991, minister said. Since the membership in the Islamic Development Bank, which occurred in 1992, Azerbaijan chairs the annual meeting of the IDB for the first time.

Mustafayev informed the participants about the economic achievements of the country over the past six years. During 2004-2009 the economy increased by 2.8 percent, industrial production - 4.2 times, the budgetary cost - 7 times, while the poverty rate decreased by 4 times. During this period the country's foreign trade turnover increased by 2,9 times, including export - 4,1 times.

Minister said that about 14.2 percent falls to the OIC member-states in 2009 in the foreign trade turnover of Azerbaijan, and for four months in 2010 - 17,9 percent. The fact is that the trade turnover of Azerbaijan with the OIC member-states in this year increased by 2,2 times.

"Azerbaijan has a liberal foreign trade regime, namely, export duties were abolished, and the maximal rate of import duty is 15 percent, minister said. Azerbaijan takes the necessary steps to join the general system of preferences of developed countries to expand the trade.

"Azerbaijan has a liberal foreign trade regime, namely, export duties were abolished, and the maximum rate of import duty is 15 percent - said the minister .- In addition to the expansion of trade takes the necessary steps to connect to the general system of preferences developed countries" .

Azerbaijan has already joined the GSP programs of such countries as EU, U.S, Canada, Turkey, Japan, Switzerland and Norway. This creates opportunities to export Azerbaijani production in these countries at lower customs duties, minister said. Moreover, the country has opportunities for duty-free export of Azerbaijani goods on the basis of signed bilateral trade agreements in nine countries of the CIS and Georgia.

As a result of actions taken during the first five months of 2010, the foreign trade turnover of Azerbaijan with foreign countries increased by 53.5 percent over the same period in 2009, including exports - by 78 percent, and imports - by 4.4 percent. During this period, non-oil exports increased more than twice.

"One of the main priorities of economic policy of the Azerbaijani government is even greater liberalization of foreign trade, increase of non-oil exports", the Minister said.

He also stressed great potential for expanding trade with OIC member-states, praised the measures taken by the first International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation to increase trade between OIC countries by 2015 by 20 percent.

The event is held within the 35-th annual meeting of the IDB Board of Governors, to be held June 23-24 with the participation of ministers of finance, economics and planning from 56 member-countries of the bank.

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