Ambassador: Hungary sees prospect of joint agricultural production in Azerbaijan for CIS market

Ambassador: Hungary sees prospect of joint agricultural production in Azerbaijan for CIS market

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 3 /Trend, S.Agayeva/

Currently the level of economic cooperation between Hungary and Azerbaijan is, unfortunately, unsatisfactory, Hungarian ambassador to Azerbaijan Zsolt Chutora told Trend on Thursday.

"Both sides recognize that there is great potential for economic cooperation. And both Hungary and Azerbaijan have understood that we must once again find each other and rebuild our economic relations," said ambassador.

For this, a legal framework was firstly created. For example, in 2007 an agreement was signed on investment protection, in 2008 - an agreement on avoidance of double taxation and economic cooperation.

The next step in this process was the opening of the Hungarian Embassy in Baku in 2009.

"Along with the establishment of important political and cultural ties, one of the main targets is the development of economic relations. For this purpose, a department of economy and trade was established, which now operates at the embassy," said Chutora.

According to him, one of the potential areas for the development of economic cooperation is agriculture. Hungary has a strong and well developed agriculture.

Chutora said Hungary can offer its traditional foods such as various canned fruits and vegetables, sausages and other products.

"We also offer our technologies and machinery for production in agriculture. We are ready to build a variety of warehouses, cold rooms, greenhouses and equipment for production lines of food not only for large farms, but also for small and medium-sized enterprises," the diplomat said.

He considers it possible to create joint ventures between the Azerbaijani and Hungarian businessmen. Chutor also sees a perspective in the joint production of agricultural products in Azerbaijan for the CIS market.

He said another potential area is the environmental issues and renewable energy sources. For example, water clean-up, solid waste removal, recycling, clean-up of dirty sites. In the sphere of renewable energy sources, Hungary has extensive experience in the production of biogas, which can be used for greenhouses, agricultural farms, he said.

According to him, the trade turnover between Hungary and Azerbaijan grew steadily in 2004-2008 - the growth was recorded from $10.5 million to $85.7 million.

"Fortunately, during the global crisis in 2009 the volume of trade remained practically unchanged. In 2010 we can see a slight decrease. If we look at the statistics, we can see that trade has a very interesting feature. Turnover is one-sided and unbalanced," said the ambassador.

For example, in 2009 exports from Hungary to Azerbaijan was equal to $85.6 million, exports from Azerbaijan to Hungary amounted to only $900. In January and October 2010, Hungarian exports to Azerbaijan amounted to $62 million.

According to the diplomat, an indicator of positive development is that Azerbaijan's exports to Hungary rose to $318,000, and consisted of energy resources. 49 percent of Hungarian exports to Azerbaijan are the machinery, 31.8 percent was processing products, and only four percent - food products and beverages.

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