TODAY.AZ / Business

JVs in agriculture, energy may be created with Czech Republic

17 May 2019 [16:35] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Leman Mammadova

Enjoying strong strategic partnership, Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic maintain close bilateral ties and aim to realize new beneficial projects to further expand the scope of economic cooperation.

A delegation led by President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic Radek Vondracek visited Baku on May 16. On the same day, President Ilham Aliyev received the Czech delegation.

Stressing successfully developing bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic, President Aliyev noted good prospects for the economic cooperation and underlined the necessity of enhancing relations in economic, trade and investment spheres.

The President expressed confidence that the visit of the Czech delegation to Azerbaijan would be fruitful and would contribute to the strengthening of the bilateral ties.

Vondracek, in turn, emphasized that the main goal of the visit of the delegation to Azerbaijan was to contribute to the development of very good relations between the two countries.

He praised the ongoing drastic reforms in various areas in Azerbaijan and said that Czech investors show great interest in Azerbaijan. Vondracek also stressed the importance of intensifying the work of the joint intergovernmental commission.

Later in the day, the Czech delegation attended the Azerbaijani-Czech Business Forum.

“Today there are great opportunities for joint ventures between the countries,” Rufat Mammadov, Azerbaijan’s Deputy Economy Minister, said at the forum, noting that Azerbaijan proposes creating joint ventures in the fields of agriculture, industry and energy.

He noted that the trade between the two countries grew by 57 percent in 2018 compared to 2017 and exceeded $1 billion, adding that Azerbaijan accounts for more than 88 percent of the Czech Republic’s trade with the South Caucasus countries.

In his words, at present 26 companies with Czech capital operate in Azerbaijan.

“Czech companies participated in projects worth $2.8 billion in Azerbaijan. More than 30 documents were signed between the countries in various fields, including agreements on the protection and promotion of investments, the avoidance of double taxation,” said the deputy minister.

Mammadov further noted that the investment of Czech companies in Azerbaijani economy amounted to $33.5 million, while Azerbaijan invested about $50 million in Czech economy.

He stressed that Azerbaijan considers the Czech Republic as one of the most promising partners in Europe and expects further expansion and strengthening of ties in many areas of bilateral cooperation.

In turn, Radek Vondracek stressed the need to expand trade relations in various sectors of the economy.

He noted that the expansion of trade and economic cooperation with Azerbaijan is a priority for Czech economy and the Czech Republic intends to further strengthen partnerships between the countries.

So far, a significant share of the trade turnover between the two countries accounts for the purchase of oil and oil products from Azerbaijan, he said.

“Meanwhile, the Czech Republic is ready to organize the export of various Czech products to Azerbaijan. Presently, the greatest emphasis is on the development of cooperation in the oil sector, resulting in an imbalance in bilateral trade,” Vondracek noted.

He went on to add that Czech refineries are configured to process Azerbaijani oil and currently more than 33 percent of the total refining accounts for Azerbaijani oil.

“The Czech Republic, as one of the most developed countries of the European Union, intends to cooperate with Azerbaijan in the long-term refining of oil and oil products and offers to expand bilateral cooperation in other areas,” he said.

In turn, President of the Union of Industry and Transport of the Czech Republic Jaroslav Hanak noted that Azerbaijan is considered the leading country in the region as it has been demonstrating strong economic growth in recent years.

Hanak stressed that Azerbaijan is the guarantor of European energy security and the Czech Republic attaches great importance to this.

“We are one of the most developed countries in Europe in the industrial sphere, and today we propose to establish close cooperation in this area, as we could share our experience in expanding this area,” he said.

The Union president also mentioned that the Czech Republic is interested in cooperation with Azerbaijan in agriculture and investment sectors. “For example, we could build agricultural enterprises in Azerbaijan to be used in livestock production.”

Hanak further stressed that the Czech Republic is one of the leaders in the modern nano-technologies, biotechnologies, and in IT-technologies.

“We believe that the cooperation of Azerbaijan with the Czech Republic in these areas, as well as the exchange of experience could bring mutual benefits to the two states,” he noted.

Azerbaijan is a strategic partner for the Czech Republic and plays an important role in ensuring the country's energy security.

Azerbaijan is the second biggest oil supplier to the Czech Republic after Russia. The volume of exported oil totals 2-2.5 million tons per year, making up a third of the oil consumed in the Czech Republic.

Currently, Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic hold talks to sign a new energy agreement to underline the strategic importance of supplies of Azerbaijani oil to the Czech Republic and to facilitate the cooperation in the development of alternative energy sources.

The countries’ bilateral cooperation does not cover only the energy sector. The close relationship between Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic is evidenced by the fact that the Czech Republic takes the 9th place in terms of foreign investment in the Azerbaijani economy.

Czech companies are also interested in the development of relations with Azerbaijan in such areas as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, transport, tourism, construction and infrastructure projects.

Czech companies actively participate in modernization of road and rail networks in Azerbaijan. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is the most important project of Azerbaijan, in which the Czech Republic is involved. Czech company Moravia Steel has been involved in the reconstruction process of the Azerbaijani BTK segment. The Czech Republic is interested in cargo transportation via the BTK railway.

Recently, a memorandum was signed between Ganja Automobile Plant and Czech Tatra company, that envisages the assembly of Czech-made Tatra trucks in Azerbaijan. The production will be launched within the next two years.

This year, the next meeting of the Azerbaijani-Czech intergovernmental commission for economic cooperation will be held in Prague.


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