Italian Ambassador: Free industrial zones of Azerbaijan are of interest to investors

Giampaolo Cutillo has received Caspian Energy’s delegation headed by its President and Editor-in-Chief Natalya Aliyeva

Baku. 29 September. REPORT.AZ/ mbassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Italy to Azerbaijan Giampaolo Cutillo has received Caspian Energy’s delegation headed by its President and Editor-in-Chief Natalya Aliyeva.

Report informs referring to the press service of Caspian Business Club, in the course of the meeting the sides touched different topics of cooperation within the framework of the Caspian European Club (Caspian Business Club) and Caspian Energy International Media Group, possibilities of expansion of contacts on the informational level as well as participation of Italian companies in the International Caspian Energy Forum, which is to be hosted in Baku on December 7.

Speaking about bilateral relations between the states, the Ambassador noted that Italy and Azerbaijan have established a strategic partnership in a more than 3 year period.

“As you know, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has been to Italy twice, in 2014 and 2015. In the course of the visit he met with our President and Prime Minister. It shows that political and bilateral dialogues are on a high level. We called it a strategic partnership, which is a major moment in cooperation. On the other hand, a lot of Italian delegations visited Azerbaijan, including delegations representing business as well as governmental delegations headed by our ministers”, the Ambassador emphasized.

Giampaolo Cutillo noted that there is a quantitative growth in all areas and a qualitative growth in bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Italy. “It is indeed positive moments, covering also the energy sector due to the importance of Azerbaijan for Italy as a supplier of energy resources”. However, the positive dynamics is not limited only to the energy sector, as the countries have established quite a good cooperation, for instance, in the field of culture, trade, export-import operations, and there is still a lot to do in this direction together with Azerbaijan, he continued.

The Ambassador stressed the interest of European investors towards the free industrial zones established in Azerbaijan. “They are attractive because no matter from which viewpoint one considers it Azerbaijan is a transit or key central point. Therefore, it is important to watch the way Azerbaijan will use this advantage. I know this is a priority for the government. Our companies are certainly interested in making their contribution to this process. In its turn, it will depend on their capability to come to Azerbaijan and establish the contacts they need. But we, as a government, are certainly ready to assist in this process and attraction of Italian companies to the industrial zones, for instance, to the one that is in Sumgayit. We also show interest to the petrochemical sector. A number of big Italian companies are working in Azerbaijan within the framework of very important petrochemical projects”, Giampaolo Cutillo emphasized.

Speaking about the trade turnover between the countries, the Ambassador noted that there was an intensive growth of goods turnover between Italy and Azerbaijan over the last 5 years (from 2011 to 2015).

“2016 was a special year due to the devaluation in Azerbaijan and economic crisis. The volume of import fell in Azerbaijan and it is natural for any country facing the currency devaluation. Thus, a rapid decline of goods turnover was fixed in the first half of this year, it fell about by 50% compared to 2015. But we have grounds to assume that there will be a gradual recovery ahead. First of all, I forecast a considerable improvement by the end of the year. It is hard to tell about indicators for now. But we feel optimistic about the bilateral trade for the next year as Azerbaijan is currently implementing a number of reforms and measures which we hope will manage to re-start the economy. The indicators for 2017 will certainly be better than those of 2016”, the Ambassador said.

At the end of the meeting, the Ambassador gave an exclusive interview to Caspian Energy. In the course of the interview he touched the possibilities of development of bilateral relations and increase of economic and investment cooperation, spoke about prospects of development of the energy cooperation, also touched the issues of development of cooperation in the field of tourism and energy.

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