The development of economic cooperation is a priority in the bilateral relations between Switzerland and Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijani-Swiss business forum, organized by Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) and the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Switzerland, was held in Zurich, Switzerland, on June 27.
Representatives of companies working in the fields of energy, agriculture, construction, tourism, ICT, food industry, along with officials from Azerbaijan and Switzerland attended the forum “South Caucasus Markets – Gateway to CIS, Middle East and Europe”.
Speaking at the event, Khanim Ibrahimova, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Switzerland, and Tony More, representative of Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), pointed to the high level of Azerbaijan-Switzerland political relations and the development of economic and trade cooperation.
Yusif Abdullayev, Acting President of AZPROMO, informed Swiss businessmen about reforms undertaken in Azerbaijan in the field of entrepreneurship, business and investment climate, and highlighted opportunities for expanding relations.
Abdullayev also invited Swiss businessmen to invest in various spheres of economy in Azerbaijan taking advantage of the favorable conditions created in the country
During the business forum, Orkhan Mammadov, Chairman of the Board of the Agency for Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs); Nemat Nagdaliyev, Azerbaijan’s Trade Representative for Central European countries; Fuad Allahverdiyev, Chief Executive Director of Azertelecom LLC; Leyla Mammadova, Director of State Agro Trade Company; Jamila Talibzadeh, Head of Department at the State Tourism Agency; Natig Heydarov, Director of Alliance Logistics; and Mammadali Huseynov, Deputy Director General of SOCAR Polymer, made presentations on various fields of Azerbaijan’s economy.
As a part of visit to Switzerland, AZPROMO signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Swiss Thurgau canton.
The document envisages mutual support in the development of economic cooperation, exchange of experience, expansion of ties between entrepreneurs of both countries and the establishment of new contacts and other issues.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Swiss Thurgau Canton brings together more than 600 companies and provides various services to entrepreneurs engaged in industry, trade and services.
Switzerland is one of the largest investors in the non-oil sectors 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. Azerbaijan is a member of the WB and IMF Election Group, led by Switzerland.
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.
Currently, about 70 Swiss companies operate in service sector, trade, construction, industry, transport, banking and insurance in Azerbaijan.
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.
It should be noted that over the first four months of this year, non-oil exports to Switzerland made up $45 million. At the same time, Azerbaijan will send an export mission to Switzerland in July this year to promote the export of local products.