Minister: Azerbaijan steers clear of transition to free movement of goods with Turkey
Azerbaijan, Baku, July 26 / Trend N.Ismayilova /
Azerbaijan has excluded the chances of a transition to a free movement of goods between Turkey and Azerbaijan in the near future, Economic Development Minister Shahin Mustafayev said in an interview with Today's Zaman newspaper.
The decision was based on the current precedent of developing the country's entrepreneurship in Azerbaijan, he added.
Mustafayev said that Baku's approach to this issue was carefully weighed.
"I think it will require time. Our national companies must first be able to stand on their own feet", he said.
The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Turkey amounted to about $2.5 billion in 2010. Turkey's exports to Azerbaijan amounted to $731, while Azerbaijan's exports to Turkey amounted to $667 million in the first five months of 2011.
Referring to the Turkey-Azerbaijan agreement on establishing the Council for High Level Strategic Cooperation, signed in 2010, Mustafayev said this arrangement will encourage economic and political cooperation.
"This will allow us to solve problems at the highest level and move into areas that quickly benefit both countries", he said.
"Turkey is our strategic partner", he said, adding that the Azerbaijani manufacturers may use the Turkish companies to increase their competitiveness and productivity.
Mustafayev also spoke about diversifying the economy and increasing the proportion of non-oil industries in the economy as a whole.
"Turkey may assist us in diversifying our economy", he said. About 1,300 Turkish companies operate in Azerbaijan, while about 1,000 Azerbaijani companies operate in Turkey.