Expanding economic cooperation and investment activity between Bulgaria and Azerbaijan was agreed between the Minister of Economy Bojidar Loukarsky and the Minister of Economy and Industry of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Shahin Mustafaev at a meeting during a business visit to Baku. The meeting was attended by the President of Azerbaijan Fund for Export Promotion and Investment – AZPROMO, Rufat Mamedov
During the meeting, the Minister of Economy and Industry of Azerbaijan noted that the relations between the two countries are very good, have been developing actively and there have been many visits. In his opinion, steps should be taken towards achieving better economic results. He noted that the relations in the field of energy are well developed, but, in his opinion, there is a number of sectors with opportunities for cooperation such as agriculture, food processing, petrochemical, pharmaceutical and other industries
Minister Loukarsky emphasized the importance of our relations with Azerbaijan. He expressed his opinion that the bilateral relations are very good, but the opportunities for expanding economic cooperation are much larger than the ones currently achieved. One of the main objectives of our visit is to confirm the commitment of Bulgarian Government to the partnership with Azerbaijan, he assured
Minister Mustafaev noted that Azerbaijan is the most developed economy in the South Caucasus region, having a good geographical location, natural resources and infrastructure, which create opportunities for exports to many markets, including to the direction of Central Asia. Economic development is large-scale, and in addition to gas-oil industry, as well construction, metallurgy, machine building, food industry are stimulated too. Agriculture is a very important sector. The country has nine climatic zones and good conditions for production of diverse and high quality products. This area focuses on the development of the processing industry in order to realize not only the export of raw agricultural products, but also products with higher added value. In his opinion, this creates a possible direction for cooperation with Bulgaria, where processing industry is developed.
Another promising direction for cooperation and a field, which has been actively developed in Azerbaijan, is tourism. Azerbaijani citizens have good opportunities to travel. Turkey, Croatia, Montenegro, Hungary, Czech Republic are among the main European destinations for tourists from Azerbaijan. There is a potential to develop tourist exchange with Bulgaria, for example visits to Bulgarian Black Sea coast, which is popular among much of the population. Winter sports are also popular. Tourism organizations work actively, the tourism infrastructure in the country is developing too, said Minister Mustafaev
The development of information communication technologies was indicated as another area with potential. Technology parks in several areas have been developed within AZPROMO, and some companies have already been attracted. Minister Mustafaev invited Bulgarian companies interested in Azerbaijan and the region to get acquainted with their favorable conditions. He noted the importance of presenting the opportunities for cooperation, in order to attract entrepreneurs and investment interest.
Minister Loukarsky stressed that it is important for the Bulgarian part to work towards organizing visits, business forums and active discussions even within the current year. He invited the Minister of Economy and Industry of Azerbaijan to a visit to Bulgaria, together with a business delegation. They agreed that the visit should be planned for the period of June – July.
In the opinion of Minister Loukarsky, it is important to resume the operation of Bulgarian-Azerbaijani Intergovernmental Committee for Economic Cooperation, whose last meeting was held in 2008. He informed that the Ministry of Economy is about to submit a draft decree to the Council of Ministers, which will suggest the Minister of Economy to be appointed for President of the Bulgarian-Azerbaijani commission on Bulgarian part. Until now, this position has been held by the Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications.