U.S. Ambassador: Azerbaijan may become a world trade center

U.S. Ambassador:  Azerbaijan may become a world trade center

Members of the Caspian-European Integration Business Club (CEIBC) have held a session about 'Azerbaijani-American economic relations: prospects and realities' in Baku on December 19, CEIBC press-release said on Wednesday.

Richard Morningstar, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States to the Republic of Azerbaijan, presided the session.

While addressing the session Richard Morningstar noted that he has visited Azerbaijan over 20 times since 1995.

"My work in Azerbaijan concerns mainly South gas corridor projects", he said.

According to him, he spends 25% of his time on development of energy projects.
During the session R.Morningstar gave detailed information about the development of Azerbaijani-American relations over the past years.

Speaking about energy sector, the diplomat noted that reserves of Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli fields (ACG) would reduce as time goes by and the current statistics indicates the reduction of profits gained from the energy sector. In this regard, he emphasized the significance of diversification of Azerbaijani economy.

The ambassador stressed the importance of implementation of big construction projects in the non oil sector of Azerbaijan. "We should admit that the state should contact with business if we want to create an efficient business environment. In this aspect both CEIBC and the American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan may play an important role in this sphere", he said.

Speaking about the development of the non oil sector, the Ambassador noted that Azerbaijan should get rid of the oil-gas dependence in coming 10 years. "Looking in the future I may say that Azerbaijan may turn in the center of global trade", he emphasized.

In the opinion of diplomat, strong educational system and broad base of human resources are needed for future development. According to estimates of the Ambassador, Azerbaijan has a high level of human resources.

While touching the issue of competitiveness in the Azerbaijani market, the ambassador noted that exporters face some problems in the market. In the opinion of the diplomat, overcoming of these difficulties will enable Azerbaijan to ensure splendid future. "The economy of the country should be open both for domestic and external competition", the Ambassador assumes.
In reply to the question of CEIBC member companies regarding the adoption of the third energy package in EU, the diplomat stressed its importance for Europe in order to ensure more liberal sale of energy resources in the market of Europe.

Addressing the session, Telman Aliyev, President and CEO of Caspian-European Integration Business Club (CEIBC), spoke about CEIBC. According to him, CEIBC was established in June 2002 under an active participation of Caspian Energy International Media Group and support of big oil-gas companies operating in the Caspian-Black Sea region. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, has been an honorary chairman of CEIBC since 2002.

Since the moment of creation CEIBC has been drawing oil industry profits for the development of the non oil sector. CEIBC operates in 50 countries worldwide, carries out an active work in the direction of dialogue support between government agencies and private sector.

CEIBC honorary membership certificate was presented to Ambassador Richard Morningstar at the session. New CEIBC member companies were also given certificates.

Oil companies and service companies (members of CEIBC) made presentations during the event. Participating in the meeting were also executives of companies, representatives of diplomatic agencies from Romania, Russia, Kazakhstan, Great Britain, France, Ukraine, Netherlands, Moldova, Austria, Poland, Turkey, Latvia, Lithuania, Iran and other countries.

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