Inexhaustible potential for economic ties between Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia

Inexhaustible potential for economic ties between Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 11 / Trend /

Ellada Khankishiyeva, Trend Analytical Centre Head

A little less than four months passed when the entrepreneurs from Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey met again. The trilateral business forum, chaired by ministers of economy of these countries was held in the Turkish city of Kars on June 9.

The forum was held under the auspices of further strengthening of the cooperation and intensifying the integration process between the countries. As a proof, the number of forum participants has tripled from 100 businessmen during the last forum up to 300 at the current one. Entrepreneurs actively shared the ideas on business expansion in neighboring countries. For example, Azerbaijani businessman offered to buy a plot of land of 30 hectares in Kars to construct warehouses and containers for the railway station.

Turkey and Georgia are Azerbaijan's neighbors and reliable economic partners. Azerbaijan is implementing major projects and significantly invests in these countries. Azerbaijani Economic Development Minister Shahin Mustafayev stressed at the forum that the high level of political relations between the countries, the complete formation of the legal framework, effective functioning of the intergovernmental commissions and other organizations and conducting business forums and exhibitions contribute to the increase in mutual investments and Azerbaijan's trade turnover with Turkey and Georgia each year.

Thus, Azerbaijani companies, headed by SOCAR invested $4.5 billion in the Turkish economy. SOCAR Turkey Enerji bought a 51-percent package of shares of chemical concern Petkim in 2008. About $2.04 billion were offered for it. It is the largest investment project. The investments in the oil refinery Star in Izmir are rapidly increasing. About $ 100 million have been spent for this project. Azerbaijan's big investments in Turkish economy are planned to be made within the construction of a new port in the Turkish city of Izmir and electric power stations. The cost of these projects will hit about $1 billion. SOCAR's investments will amount to $17 billion in Turkey till 2018. Turkey's investments in Azerbaijan's economy hit $ 1.9 billion.

SOCAR has invested more than $ 700 million in Georgia's economy. SOCAR's subsidiary - Socar Georgia Petroleum was the largest taxpayer in Georgia in 2010 and 2011. After investing $32 million in the country in 2011, it became its largest investor. Besides expanding the network of filling stations, the company invested in two major projects - the construction of multifunctional complex "SOCAR - Goodwill Auto Lounge " on the highway of Batumi-Tbilisi and construction of "SOCAR - McDonald's" centers in Batumi and Marneuli.

At present, about 1,106 companies with Turkish investments operate in Azerbaijan and more than 100 companies with Georgian capital, while 844 companies with Azerbaijani investments operate in Turkey and 272 - in Georgia. The trade relations intensify between the countries. Thus, as of four months of 2012, the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Turkey increased by 60 percent and by 15 percent between Azerbaijan and Georgia over the same period of 2011.

Perhaps, businessmen from the three countries will gather at an economic forum in Baku. There will be more ideas on economic cooperation between the two countries. The ultimate goal is to achieve a free trade zone among the three countries. Commissioning the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will be able to accelerate the implementation of this idea. The countries laid its foundation in 2007.

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