Azerbaijan, Baku / corr./ Trend I.Khalilova / Yuriy Shedrin, the head of Russia's Trade Representative in Azerbaijan, said that as a result of the first quarter, the goods turnover between Azerbaijan and Russia rose 20.4% and made up $339.36mln.
The growth rate was caused by a double increase of export in Azerbaijan by $104.24mln. Import operations rose 2.4% and comprised $235.12mln. Financial deficit dropped from $177.5mln to $130.18mln.
Taking into account the fact that Azerbaijan stopped its gas supply from Russia, which led to a $500 shortage of turnover, the rate of growth in foreign trade operations is considered to be a positive factor. The structure of export in Azerbaijan has experienced some changes. One of the export goods is pipes and sugar (41.5% of the sugar exported in the first quarter of 2007 was transported to Russia). However, several serious problems still remain unsolved.
"We are not satisfied with the structure of the turnover, as a specific gravity of raw products is low and unpredictable. For this reason we intend to expand the bonds and encourage the presence of Russian regions in the Azerbaijani market," the Trade Representative said.
Despite the co-operation with 12 Russian regions, the quality and forms of the co-operation are not satisfactory. The exception is Tatarstan. The level of co-operation with all the regions has to be improved.
According to Shedrin, the co-operation with Russia's companies in Azerbaijan should be intensified, as there are only 150 operating branches of the companies in Azerbaijan, while 400 are registered. "We have to improve the level of trade and economic co-operation and implement serious investment projects between the two countries," Shedrin noted.
The problem of discrepancy in data on the turnover between the Russian Federation and Azerbaijan is considered to be urgent. The data provided by the State Statistics Committees differed by 70mln in the first quarter of 2007, and $200mln in 2006 which was apparent in the supply of food and raw timber.