Weekly economic review (June 23-27)

Azerbaijani-Russian cooperation grows into strategic partnership

The cooperation between Azerbaijan and Russia has grown into a strategic partnership, Azerbaijan's Minister of Economy and Industry, Shahin Mustafayev said.

He made the remarks while speaking at the fifth Azerbaijani-Russian interregional forum 'Interregional cooperation: new opportunities for growth' in the Azerbaijani city of Gabala.

"Holding this forum, organized at the joint initiative of the two countries' presidents, has already become a good tradition and plays a special role in the development of our cooperation," the minister stressed.

"In terms of its format and leitmotif, this forum that is being held for the fifth time can be a model of successful cooperation not only in the CIS space, but also on a global scale.

Mustafayev underscored that Azerbaijan doesn't hold such a forum with other countries, other than Russia.

He went on to add that as part of the forum, it is planned to visit some enterprises and see the sights of the city in order to get acquainted with the region, sign bilateral interagency documents, as well as contracts with private companies.

"As is known, Azerbaijan's cooperation with Russia, based on the principles of mutual respect and good neighborhood and being one of the foreign policy priorities of our country, has grown into strategic partnership," Mustafayev said.

"Our countries closely cooperate in international organizations. Russia's support to Azerbaijan's candidacy for the non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council can be an example of such cooperation."

"Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Russian President Vladimir Putin attach great importance to the development of bilateral political and economic relations," the minister added.

He expressed confidence that the solid legal framework of cooperation between the two countries promotes the development of the bilateral relations in trade, economic, agricultural, fuel and energy, humanitarian, cultural and other fields.

Mustafayev stressed that over 160 documents have been signed between the two countries and 40 of them are related to the economic sphere.

"All the abovementioned facts and the high-level political relations create favorable conditions for the continued development of the economic relations," the minister said.

"There was a positive trend in the trade turnover between our countries in 2013 as in the previous years," he added.

"The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Russia amounted to about $ 2.6 billion in 2013 increasing by 10.5 percent compared to the previous year," Mustafayev added.

"Today Russia ranks third in Azerbaijan's trade turnover, but first in imports. It should be stressed that the structure of Azerbaijan's exports to Russia is the most diversified compared to exports to other countries. Of course, the free trade regime contributes to the development of bilateral trade and creates opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation among business entities."

"An important area of cooperation is mutual investments," he said.

"Today, some 570 companies with Russian capital operate in Azerbaijan," he said. "The Russian side has recently invested about $ 1.8 billion in the Azerbaijani economy. As a result of Azerbaijan's dynamic development, the financial opportunities of our companies significantly increased. They began investing in the regional countries, including Russia. Leading Azerbaijani companies are successfully operating in the regions of Russia.

Azerbaijan's direct investments in Russia's economy have totaled more than $1 billion for the last 10 years. The volume of these investments reached a record level and hit more than $ 250 million in 2013. The State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan also actively operates in investment area in the Russian Federation."

"We are still interested in intensifying the investment activity of our companies, establishing cooperative ties, further increasing the trade turnover volume with the Russian Federation, including its regions," the minister said.

"We believe that signing of an intergovernmental agreement on encouragement and mutual protection of investments in the near future will create conditions for further expansion of cooperation in this direction," he said. "An agreement on the establishment of the Azerbaijani exhibition and trade center on the territory of the All-Russian Exhibition Center is planned to be signed between the governments of our countries.

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