TODAY.AZ / Business

Does new agreement with EU protect interests of Azerbaijani entrepreneurs?

27 May 2019 [17:45] - TODAY.AZ
By Trend

The new agreement between Azerbaijan and the EU continues to be the main topic of discussion of the media and various experts, chairperson of the public association “Socio-Economic and Environmental Development” Rakhila Mehdiyeva said, Trend reports.

Negotiations are at the final stage, but differences on some issues between the parties delay the signing of the agreement, she said.

“Some insufficiently informed experts associate this with a part of the agreement on the political bloc, in particular, on the part concerning democracy and human rights,” she noted. “But observations show that disagreements on the agreement concern the economic bloc. Looking at the EU agreements signed with other countries, it is obvious that they encompass extensive trade and economic cooperation. The Azerbaijani side negotiates proceeding from national interests aimed at the sustainable development of the economy, strengthening of entrepreneurship and social protection of the population.”

She reminded that the media has already disseminated information on a number of important points, and many experts have already expressed their opinions.

““In its interests, the EU wants to get preferences in the Azerbaijani market. This is natural. But, at the same time, it is trying to limit the support of local entrepreneurs, SMEs, their products, services, etc. This doesn’t correspond to further improvement of the business environment, expansion of business activities, increasing the share of SMEs in the economy, in particular, in exports, the creation of various incentive mechanisms for entrepreneurs, and, in general, the reforms carried out on the development of the non-oil sector of the economy.”

It should be recognized that a lot of work has been done recently in this area, she said.

“For example, in order to strengthen the role of small and medium-sized businesses in public procurement, serious amendments were made to the “Law on Public Procurement”,” she added. “Thus, public procurement worth up to $3 million should be conducted online using an open tender and only with the participation of micro, small and medium-sized businesses. The EU requires either excluding the encouraging provision that provides an advantage in public procurement for SMEs from the current legislation or limiting it to such an extent so that their participation in public procurement is minimized.”

She reminded that the partnership document on priority areas of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU signed in July last year special attention is paid to the development of SMEs in Azerbaijan.

“Now it turns out that the EU is taking the opposite position in the negotiations,” she said. “Undoubtedly, this position of the EU cannot be adopted, because it doesn’t meet the interests of Azerbaijan.”


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