Minister: Time arrived for Azerbaijan and Turkey to implement joint projects and investments
Azerbaijan, Baku, April 15 / Trend N.Ismayilova /
Turkey ranks first in the terms of investing in Azerbaijan's non-oil sector, Azerbaijani Economic Development Minister Shahin Mustafayev said at the Azerbaijani-Turkish business forum in Ankara on Friday.
He said more than 1,000 Turkish companies operate in various sectors of the Azerbaijani economy and these companies have invested about $2 billion in the country's economy since 2002.
"I am confident that today's forum, being a continuation of the business forums held in Baku and Nakhchivan in 2010, will give new impetus to the multi-directional cooperation between the two countries," Mustafayev said.
The work is underway to hold the first meeting of the Azerbaijan -Turkey strategic cooperation council, the declaration on the establishment of which was signed during President Ilham Aliyev's visit to Turkey in September 2010.
To date, the two countries have signed 23 documents in the economic cooperation sphere, which creates a solid legal basis for the Azerbaijan - Turkey relations.
"Speaking about the Azerbaijan - Turkey cooperation, we should note the implementation of the important projects such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipelines, and the delivery of Azerbaijani gas to Turkey and Europe in accordance with the contract signed between SOCAR and Botash in 2010. These projects have played a significant role in ensuring energy security of Azerbaijan, Turkey, as well as Europe and other regions," Mustafayev said.
One of the important areas of the Azerbaijan- Turkey cooperation is trade.
"It should be noted that the level of political ties and economic opportunities requires bringing of the trade relations to an even higher level, and we must intensify efforts in this direction," he added.
He said the rapid development of Azerbaijan's economy in recent years increased the financial capacity of the local companies, and hundreds of Azerbaijani companies started their activities in other countries, including Turkey, and investing in various sectors of the economy.
"The Association of Azerbaijani businessmen in Turkey were created yesterday, which will serve for realization of new projects in the brotherly country," Mustafayev said.
Given the growing economic potential of both Azerbaijan and Turkey, Mustafayev said, the time has come for realization of the joint projects, including the establishment of joint investment funds, and the joint investment in the countries, with which friendly relations have been established.
"Great opportunities exist for cooperation and mutual benefit in areas such as non-oil sector, including agriculture, processing, packing, storage, transport and ICT, as well as the tourism sector, taking into account Turkey's experience in the service sector," he said.
He urged the business communities of both countries to be active in these areas, and take the initiative.
Based on the Azerbaijani State Statistics Committee, the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Turkey amounted to $942.165 million in 2010, while imports made up $771.274 million and exports -$170.894 million.
According to the Commerce Chamber of Ankara, Turkey's direct investments in Azerbaijan reached $3.8 billion. Azerbaijan yields only to the Netherlands on the volume of the Turkish investments abroad.