Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov.12 / Trend /
Azerbaijani-Hungarian business forum was held in Baku on Nov.11 with participation of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Hungarian President Pal Schmitt.
The forum participants warmly welcomed the heads of states.
President Aliyev addressed the business forum. He said the political relations between Azerbaijan and Hungary are at a very high level. "We established our relations based on principles of friendship and partnership. I am sure that these relations will only intensify in the subsequent years. There are enough factors enabling to say so," President Aliyev said.
The Head of State expressed confidence that if the economic relations between the two countries grow, then, of course, it will have a positive impact on relations in all spheres. "Looking at the statistics today, we sometimes regret that the economic relations between Hungary and Azerbaijan, that is trade turnover, are not at the desired level. I think the main reason is that the business circles are not well-aware of each other," President Aliyev said.
He said over $16 billion was invested in the Azerbaijani economy in 2010. "Most of them are local - Azerbaijani investments. In addition, the country pursues consistent policy to attract foreign investments, and I can say that in terms of direct foreign investments volume Azerbaijan ranks one of the leading positions in the CIS. In general, more than $100 billion have been invested in the Azerbaijani economy over the past 15 years, which also gave a strong impetus to our comprehensive economic development," Aliyev stressed.
At present, our economic policy's main priorities are diversification of the country's economy, he said. "Concrete measures are taken to reduce our dependence on energy factor, as well as to develop the private sector. Specific programs are also implemented to develop and promote small and medium-size enterprises," President Aliyev underlined.
Hungarian companies can be involved in various projects in Azerbaijan as investors, he said. "Joint ventures can be created here. Enterprises maintained by the Hungarian capital can be created in Azerbaijan. If to consider that we successfully cooperate with neighboring countries in the economic sphere, then these companies can ensure Azerbaijan's growing market, as well as export products produced in Azerbaijan to neighboring countries. That is, both Azerbaijani market and major markets of neighboring countries are able to create good conditions for operation of joint ventures, to be created here," President Aliyev said.
President Aliyev stressed that in general, Azerbaijan's economy has demonstrated its steadiness. "Even during the worst crisis period - 2-3 years ago - economic growth in Azerbaijan was again measured with great numbers. In general, over the last 7-8 years, gross domestic product in Azerbaijan has increased three times, that is by 300 percent. Industrial production has also tripled. More than 900,000 new jobs have been opened. The poverty rate has decreased by 5 times, while expenditures of the state budget have increased by 20 times. This year we again see a growth in the economic sphere, and the most gratifying is that this growth has become apparent mainly in non-oil sector. A growth in non-oil sector hits about 9 percent. While in the agricultural sphere the growth exceeds 7 percent," President Aliyev said.
He said at present Azerbaijani oil is exported to the world markets, including to Europe. Azerbaijan has begun to introduce itself to the world as a gas country, and the potential in this sphere is great enough. "Major gas reserves opened in Azerbaijan will enable us to provide ourselves and our partners with gas at least within the next 100 years. We have quite a broad transportation network. Our seven oil and gas pipelines operate, which deliver our resources to the world markets in various directions," President Aliyev underlined.