Baku. 5 August. REPORT.AZ/ 'It is true that the adverse and challenging environment of the world economy has impacted our business ties as well. Nevertheless, Azerbaijan ranks fifth in Russia's foreign trade with the CIS countries following Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. At the same time, Russia is a leading importer of Azerbaijani goods.
Report informs, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir VladimirovichPutin told in his interview to Azerbaijan State News Agency (AZƏRTAC).
Putin stated referring to the Federal Customs Service that in 2015 Azerbaijan-Russia trade turnover shrank by 30 percent, to $2.8 billion compared to $4 billion in 2014: 'This year we have not managed to reverse the situation yet: in January–May mutual trade amounted to $568.5 million, which is 52.8 percent less compared to the same period of 2015.
We believe that an upsurge in the supply to Russia of Azerbaijani agricultural products, which are in demand on our market, as well as an upturn in exports from Russia to Azerbaijan of fertilizers and agricultural machinery necessary for the expansion of cultivation areas could all play a significant role in increasing mutual trade.
We expect full implementation of Uralvagonzavod's plans to supply railway vehicles to Azerbaijan, Krasnoe Sormovo's plans to build and deliver two tankers for the Azerbaijani State Caspian Sea Shipping Company, as well as plans to launch joint pharmaceutical production with the participation of the Russian R-Pharm group of companies'.
He said that enhanced mutual trade in services in such fields as transport, the financial sector, insurance, telecommunications, culture and recreation could become yet another important track in the development of trade and economic ties. Today, these fields already add nearly 20 percent - $0.5 billion to the total turnover.
'Consolidation of Iran's and Azerbaijan's railway infrastructure under the International North–South Transport Corridor project would offer new prospects for using Russia's and Azerbaijan's transit traffic capacities to their full extent.
We believe it is important to foster collaboration between business circles of our countries within the Russian-Azerbaijani Business Council set up under the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. We hope that a similar agency would be established in Azerbaijan as well.
While there is a drop in trade turnover, our countries still witness rather stable investment cooperation development. Today, some 600 Russian companies operate in the Azerbaijani market, with about 200 of them with 100 percent Russian capital. Besides, Russia's direct investment in Azerbaijan amounts to about $1.4 billion.
At present, these are mostly performed in USD. We will continue our work to create an environment that would encourage our companies to switch to carrying out mutual settlements in national currencies.
There is no doubt that the current troubles in our bilateral trade and economic relations are but temporary. We are convinced that through concerted efforts and in close partnership we will be able to set our mutual trade on a path of sustainable growth', he added.