BAKU, Azerbaijan, Jan. 15
The trade between Azerbaijan and Italy increased by 9.7 percent in 2018, Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov said during the fifth meeting of the Azerbaijan-Italy Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation held in Rome, Trend reports with reference to the Energy Ministry Jan. 15.
The minister said that the growth trend in trade continued last year, and over the first nine months reached 10.5 percent.
Speaking at a meeting of the commission, Shahbazov noted the successful development of relations between Azerbaijan and Italy, one of its main trading partners, adding that 113 Italian companies operating in various sectors of the economy are registered in Azerbaijan.
The minister said that so far, Italy has invested $770 million in Azerbaijan’s economy, and Azerbaijan invested $1.7 billion in Italy’s economy.
The minister noted that the main area of economic partnership with Italy is the energy sector. Over the past two years, Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR delivered 15.9 million tons of crude oil, 189,000 tons of oil products and 43,700 tons of petrochemical products to Italy.
“This year, the Southern Gas Corridor will be commissioned, which is of strategic importance for ensuring the energy security of our partner countries and Europe,” Shahbazov said. “The project’s implementation at over 90 percent is also an indicator of support from the Italian government. We believe that together, we will ensure the timely completion of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project. Efforts will be made to address issues such as safe, diversified and competitive energy supplies, as well as the issue of decarbonization.”
The minister urged Italian companies to take advantage of the economic opportunities available in Azerbaijan and to develop cooperation in areas such as energy, non-oil sector, new technologies and investments.
In turn, Manlio Di Stefano, secretary of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said that the commission’s meeting will play an important role in assessing existing cooperation and developing ties in new directions.
During the meeting, joint measures were identified to deepen cooperation in the trade, economic, energy, infrastructure and transport, agricultural, cultural and tourism sectors.
The investment opportunities of both countries were considered with the participation of Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO), the Azerbaijan Investment Company, the Agency for the Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan and the relevant Italian agencies.
Following the fifth meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission, a protocol was signed. The document was signed by the co-chairs of the Intergovernmental Commission – Parviz Shahbazov and Manlio Di Stefano.
Within the visit, Shahbazov also met with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, Minister of Economic Development Stefano Patuanelli and Manlio Di Stefano.
The parties discussed the results of the fifth meeting of the intergovernmental commission, measures to expand political and economic ties, and exchanged views on the Southern Gas Corridor and TAP as its component.
It was noted that the Azerbaijani-Italian trade and economic partnership is of a strategic nature, in particular in the energy sector, and that the session of the intergovernmental commission and the meetings held will ensure adoption of the necessary measures to strengthen these relations.
Shahbazov also met with the leaders of eight Italian companies, including Maire Tecnimont, Ansaldo Energia, Tenaris and Technip.