TODAY.AZ / Business

Switzerland may create JVs in Azerbaijan's industrial parks

07 September 2019 [10:00] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Leman Mammadova

Azerbaijan and Switzerland enjoy high level of economic relations, but still have the potential for further expansion of the scope of economic ties.

The two countries mull the possibility of creating joint ventures for activities in industrial parks in Azerbaijan.

This was discussed during a meeting between Shahin Mustafayev, Azerbaijani Economy Minister and co-chairman of the Azerbaijani-Swiss Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation, and Muriel Peneveyre, Swiss Ambassador to Azerbaijan.

Mustafayev stressed that Azerbaijan is Switzerland's main trading partner in the South Caucasus, adding that trade between the countries amounted to $1.3 billion in January-July 2019.

He said that currently, about 60 companies with Swiss capital operate in Azerbaijan.

Mustafayev also noted that the countries signed about 25 documents, including agreements on trade and economic cooperation, avoidance of double taxation.

He gave information about the reforms carried out in the private sector in Azerbaijan, transport and transit opportunities, the potential of economic cooperation in various sectors of the economy.

Mustafayev also pointed to the importance of the events, business forums, and export missions in the development of Azerbaijani-Swiss economic relations.

Peneveyre, in turn, emphasized Switzerland’s interest in expanding ties with Azerbaijan.

The parties exchanged views on the creation of joint ventures with participation of Swiss companies in industrial parks in Azerbaijan, as well as on cooperation in energy, industry, agribusiness, education, healthcare, tourism etc.

Switzerland is one of the largest investors in the non-oil sector of Azerbaijan's economy. In the period of 1992-2018, Switzerland invested about $851.9 million in Azerbaijan’s economy.

Azerbaijan closely cooperates with Switzerland in the financial sphere, particularly, with the SECO and SDC (Cooperation and Development Agency). Thus, 38 projects with SECO and 16 projects with SDC are being implemented.

As mentioned in the Swiss Cooperation Strategy South Caucasus 2017–2020, Swiss assistance to Azerbaijan aims to create a conducive and risk-conscious business environment that will lead to the improvement and diversification of the country’s income base.

Switzerland supports large-scale energy and transport projects implemented in the region by Azerbaijan. The Swiss company AXPO is involved in the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which envisages delivering Azerbaijani gas to Europe. Azerbaijan state oil company SOCAR successfully operates in Switzerland. Since 2012, SOCAR has been operating ESSO Switzerland's 172 petrol stations under its brand.

Last year, trade turnover between the two countries increased 2.7 times compared to 2017 ($240 million) and reached almost $650 million. The Swiss exports to Azerbaijan accounted for $513 million in 2018.

Recently, the 8th meeting of the Azerbaijani-Swiss intergovernmental commission and Azerbaijani-Swiss business forum has been held in Switzerland.

As a part of the visit to Switzerland, Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Swiss Thurgau canton.

At the same time, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Agency for Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) of Azerbaijan and the Swiss Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises on cooperation issues at the meeting of the intergovernmental commission.


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