Europe invests more than 20 billion dollars in the Azerbaijani economy [PHOTO]

Europe invests more than 20 billion dollars in the Azerbaijani economy [PHOTO]

Europe has invested more than $20 billion in the Azerbaijani economy over the past 10 years, Economy Minister Mikayil Jabbarov said.

He made the remarks during the EU-Azerbaijan business forum on May 17, Azernews reports, citing Trend.

The Minister underlined that the EU is a reliable trade and economic partner of Azerbaijan.

“More than 700 EU companies are working in Azerbaijan. Trade between Azerbaijan and the EU is expected to grow this year,” he said.

Pointing out that Azerbaijan’s GDP grew by 5.6% in 2021, Jabbarov added that other indicators also increased, notably in the oil and gas and non-oil industries.

“The growth in the production of non-oil products since the beginning of 2022 amounted to about 40%, which contributes to an increase in tax revenue. We are talking about an amount of 250 million dollars,” he said. -He specifies.

Cooperation within SMEs

EU Ambassador to Azerbaijan Peter Michalko noted that Azerbaijan is an attractive trading partner for the European Union.

He said the EU highly appreciates the Azerbaijani government’s efforts to develop the business sector. In this regard, he noted that within the framework of business support, the EU will also support 25,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Azerbaijan.

“I would like to encourage EU companies to invest in Azerbaijan, where the business climate will develop even more successfully in the future,” he said.

Noting that Azerbaijan is also one of the main energy partners of the EU, Michalko stressed that the Southern Gas Corridor project plays an important role in this sector. He also added that the development of projects in the field of alternative energy also has great potential.

“The ties between the EU and Azerbaijan have been further strengthened since last year, as clearly demonstrated by the visits to Baku of Charles Michel, Oliver Varhelyi and, of course, the participation of President Ilham Aliyev in the summit of the Eastern Partnership in Brussels last December,” he said.

Energy cooperation

In addition, Mikayil Jabbarov said that Azerbaijan continues to supply energy resources to the European market without interruption and expects volumes to only increase.

He noted that the main direction of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU is the oil and gas industry, as well as the transport sector.

“We also expect the development of alternative energies and the expansion of cooperation in this field,” he said.

Jabbarov mentioned that Azerbaijan is a hub for transporting goods to EU countries and other markets.

“Our port and economic zones under construction allow us to expand the current cooperation and increase the turnover rate of trade between Azerbaijan and the EU,” he said.

Attracting additional investments

The minister said that a number of Azerbaijani state agencies have carried out reforms that help attract additional investments and create a favorable business environment.

“All incentives applied by tax, customs and other authorities increase Azerbaijan’s investment potential,” he said.

Jabbarov pointed out that SMEs account for around 60% of fiscal profits and 40% of non-oil exports.

Restoration of liberated lands

The Minister also stressed that the priority activity of the Azerbaijani government is the restoration of the liberated territories.

He noted that major works are currently underway there to build roads and infrastructure, and that industrial zones are planned.

“All towns and villages in Karabakh have been destroyed and our formerly displaced people will return to their native lands in the near future,” he said.

In addition, the head of the EU-Azerbaijan business forum group, Bogdana Efe, said that the number of EU companies wishing to invest in Karabakh is increasing.

She pointed out that according to the EU study on the business climate in Azerbaijan for 2021, more than half of European companies have expressed their interest in possible investments in Karabakh and eastern Zangazur.

“At the same time, 40% of EU companies are ready to expand their activities in Karabakh and eastern Zangazur,” she said.

Efe mentioned that alternative energy, green projects and transport infrastructure are among the most attractive areas for investment in the economic regions of Karabakh and Eastern Zangazur, and were mentioned by more than 30% of respondents. respondents.

“Agriculture and manufacturing have been identified as priority areas by a quarter of European businesses. Therefore, they can be considered a priority for investment in these regions,” she said.

Zangazur Corridor

Talking about the Zangazur Corridor, the Minister said that it will create new opportunities in the field of transport for all the countries in the region. He pointed out that work is being done not only in the area of ​​road and infrastructure construction, but also in the area of ​​creating social infrastructure.

“The Azerbaijani government offers relevant projects to attract companies for this work, in order to expand public-private partnerships,” he said.

Jabbarov added that the Aghdam Industrial Park in Azerbaijan and the Araz Valley Economic Zone Industrial Park create opportunities to accelerate the development of the country’s liberated territories.

The EU and Azerbaijan cooperate in different sectors of the economy. The European Commission Delegation to Azerbaijan was opened in Baku in February 2008.

Azerbaijan started commercial gas supply to Europe via the Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline (TAP) on December 31, 2020.

A joint declaration on energy cooperation with the EU was signed more than 10 years ago. Energy cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan has reached a new level and continues within the framework of the Southern Gas Corridor. The EU attaches great importance to the diversification of energy supply, and the Southern Gas Corridor is particularly important in this regard. In 2021, European countries bought 8.2 billion cubic meters of gas, with an increase in volume expected in the coming years.

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Mary I. Bruner