Poland sees Azerbaijan as transit country to enter Iranian market – minister

Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov.8
By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:

Poland considers Azerbaijan not only as its potential partner in the area of cooperation in agriculture, but also as a transit country for the sale of agricultural products to Iran, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Poland Marek Sawicki told Trend during his visit to Baku.

"Azerbaijan is a leading country in its region, but relations with Poland on cooperation in agriculture, unfortunately, are for now limited," said the minister.

"During the meeting with the Minister of Agriculture of Azerbaijan Heydar Asadov and representatives of business circles, we proposed bilateral cooperation, which includes both export and import of products, as well as our technical and advisory assistance. Poland can also help with the supply of equipment for the factories of meat and milk production. We can have a good exchange of fruits and vegetables."

He said that the trade turnover in agriculture is quite low between the two countries.

"The trade turnover is around 12 million euros," said Sawicki. "During the last few years it has grown, but we would like it to become even higher, because the potential is high."

The minister said that the embargo on the import of products in Russia slightly affected the Polish export.

"Russia was not a major trading partner of Poland," he said. "Russia ranked the 7th in the structure of agricultural export. Of Poland's 20 billion worth of exports, some 1.3 billion accounted for Russia. In general, in 2013 Poland exported agricultural products worth 20 billion euros, and imported goods worth 13 billion euros."

Sawicki said that his visit is only a preparatory stage within the framework of the forthcoming meeting of the Azerbaijani-Polish intergovernmental commission, so this visit did not envisage conclusion of any agreements.

"Unfortunately, the development of agricultural cooperation between Azerbaijan and Poland still lags behind other sectors," the minister said.

"This visit was my initiative to prepare a base for further development. This was accepted by our Azerbaijani partners with pleasure. Following this visit, several meetings will be held between the Polish and Azerbaijani businessmen. A meeting of the intergovernmental commission will be held on December 15. Great attention will be paid to the issue of agrarian cooperation. We agreed on cooperation between our phytosanitary and veterinary inspections in the field of animal husbandry, etc."

He said that Azerbaijan just starts reforming its agriculture.
"Poland is ready to render any assistance in the implementation of these reforms," the minister said.

"Azerbaijani Minister of Agriculture Heydar Asadov informed me that huge investments are planned to be made to reform the country's agriculture," he said. "We are ready to render any assistance in the implementation of reforms and share our experience."

"The major share in the export of agricultural products to Azerbaijan accounts for meat products," he said. "Azerbaijani market has a lot of chicken and beef sausages imported from Poland. We would also like to export our dairy products, but it is for the Azerbaijani partners to decide what to purchase. A local partner knowing the market and the needs of consumers in Azerbaijan is required. Moreover, Azerbaijan is the leading country in the region. Why does not Poland sell chicken or beef, for example, to Iran's Azerbaijanis through Azerbaijan? There are 25 million Iran's Azerbaijanis there."

He said that unfortunately, Azerbaijani tea is not exported to Poland.

"Dried fruits, nuts and pomegranates are mainly supplied by Azerbaijan to Poland," he said. "But, for example, there are no raisins and Azerbaijani tea in Poland. It is necessary for both sides' exports and imports to increase. Our countries have everything necessary for this."

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