Czech Republic wants to offer Azerbaijan projects of economic co-op
Baku, Azerbaijan, July 21
By Seba Aghayeva – Trend:
The Czech Republic is going to offer Azerbaijan interesting projects of economic cooperation, said Czech Ambassador to Azerbaijan Vitezslav Pivonka in an interview with Trend.
According to the data, during the five months of 2017, the trade turnover between the Czech Republic and Azerbaijan increased by about 30 percent as compared to the same period of 2016 and totaled $431 million, said Pivonka.
“We are glad about such dynamics of mutual trade, but at the same time it is necessary to recognize that the growth is mainly related to the increase in the supply of Azerbaijani oil to the Czech Republic. Thus, Azerbaijan significantly improves the energy security of the Czech Republic, meeting its oil demand by 30 percent,” noted the ambassador adding that for the same reason, the Czech Republic is one of the largest markets for Azerbaijan, from where the Azerbaijani budget receives about $1 billion.
According to the diplomat, this gives ground to think that the bilateral trade turnover is not very diversified.
“In this context, we see very big potential for the further development of trade relations between the Czech Republic and Azerbaijan. For example, we all know well that the agriculture was approved by Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev as one of the priority sectors for the development of the Azerbaijani economy. The Czech Republic is able to offer very interesting cooperation projects in this regard,” said the ambassador.
According to Pivonka, the Czech Republic is one of the leading states where agriculture, particularly, livestock, fish farming, grain growing and others, are developed.
Czech entrepreneurs have work experience in Azerbaijan, and they are interested in its successful continuation, just as the Azerbaijani entrepreneurs are interested in cooperation with the Czech Republic, said the diplomat.
Businessmen of the two countries expressed their mutual interest in cooperation during business meetings held in Baku and Ganja in May 2017, as part of the visit of Czech deputy agriculture minister to Azerbaijan.
The ambassador added that the process of creating technological parks in Azerbaijan is also interesting for Czech entrepreneurs.
The Czech embassy works in close cooperation with Azerbaijan’s Economy Ministry and the Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) in order to bring all the necessary information about the existing business opportunities in Azerbaijan to Czech companies, noted Pivonka.
The diplomat also spoke about the presence of good opportunities for Azerbaijani investors in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic certainly has great potential for Azerbaijani investors, and the present moment may be the best time for such investment, he noted.
“Our economy is growing rapidly: in 2015, we actually became the second country with a fast-growing economy in the EU, and this creates many new opportunities for foreign investments in both existing companies and start-ups,” said the ambassador adding that the Czech Republic is ready to provide potential Azerbaijani investors with updated information on various investment opportunities in the country.
Certainly, infrastructure projects are the most successful example of the Czech-Azerbaijani cooperation, noted the diplomat.
One of the leading Czech companies – Moravia Steel – participates in not only the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway project, but also in the project on modernization of the Azerbaijani section of the North-South railway corridor, said Pivonka.
Thanks to infrastructure projects, the Czech Republic became one of the ten biggest foreign investors in Azerbaijan, noted the diplomat. According to him, in general, Czech investments in Azerbaijan have already exceeded $2 billion.
“This, on one hand, shows the high professionalism and quality of the work of Czech companies, which thus managed to prove themselves among Azerbaijani customers, and on the other hand, this fact obliges us to develop the joint cooperation even more,” added the ambassador.
The ambassador added that regardless of the major infrastructure projects, where Czech companies are involved in Azerbaijan, no cases of non-payment were observed. In fact, this is the best indicator of the highest level of cooperation between the Czech Republic and Azerbaijan, noted the diplomat.
According to Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee, the two countries’ trade turnover amounted to $201.011 million in January-June 2017, decreasing by $10.056 million or 4.8 percent as compared to the same period of 2016.