Baku. 6 December. REPORT.AZ/ Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Korea to the Republic of Azerbaijan Kim Chang-gyu has received the Caspian Energy’s delegation headed by President and Editor-in-Chief of Caspian Energy International Media Group Natalia Aliyeva.
Report informs referring to the Caspian Business Club press service, during the meeting they discussed prospects of broadening of the Azerbaijan-Korean information cooperation in the framework of the Caspian European Club (Caspian Business Club) and Caspian Energy International Media Group.
Assessing the ongoing economic reforms in Azerbaijan, the Ambassador said: “Diversification of industries is very important if a country wants to have a strong economy”.
“Korea is a very advanced country in each of the industrial areas. We are strong in petrochemistry, manufacture, high technology, ITC, medical service. Since the Government of Azerbaijan is committed to diversifying and improving the national economy, we are ready to share our experience and our technology”, the Ambassador said, designating 5 areas as the fields of strategic cooperation between the two countries: medical service, ICT, petrochemistry, tourism and transportation.
According to AmbassadorKim Chang-gyu, many Korean brands are doing business in Azerbaijan. They have their offices here, but still have not opened their factories in Azerbaijan. The car market and mobile phones market are not very large in Azerbaijan. Therefore, it is not easy for Korean companies to set up their factories here”, he said. “But if we consider the entire Caucasian market, including Georgia, the south of Russia and the west of Central Asia, I think it might be possible to open large production facilities here”, Kim Chang-gyu continued, highlighting that “Samsung and Hyundai will still be hesitating whether to open a factory here or not”. The Ambassador believes that in order to attract Korean investment in Azerbaijan, “the Government of Azerbaijan should provide more incentives to the Korean companies in terms of tax, customs clearance and administrative procedures”.
According to the high-ranking diplomat, free trade agreements like those the Republic of Korea has with the United States will be required to enable the Korean companies have more opportunities to expand their business in Azerbaijan. “Only when Korean investors are confident of their business success, they come”, the Ambassador stressed.
According to Ambassador Kim Chang-gyu,the business environment of Azerbaijan has improved notably since when the Government of Azerbaijan started the reforms, but still there is much work to be done in this regard. “I highly appreciate the efforts of the Government of Azerbaijan aimed at improving the business environment here. It achieved much success in this area and already secured some foreign investment flows into the country.I believe that as long as the reforms continue, many more foreign companies will invest their money in Azerbaijan”.
Referring to the energy cooperation, the Ambassador said that the attention should be paid to petrochemistry, because the Korean industry is very competitive in petrochemistry. “We do not produce any oil or gas in our country, but we are producing a huge amount of petrochemical products and export them to foreign countries. Actually, petrochemical products are number one export products of our country. So, our countries can cooperate in this area”, the Ambassador highlighted.
At present the Korean company is building a fertilizer factory in Sumgait. “We can provide our factories with cheaper price and better quality. Korean companies are ready to cooperate in building petrochemical plants in Azerbaijan”, the Ambassador stressed.
According to the Ambassador, the Republic of Korea is very active in sharing its experience and technologies in the ICT sector with other countries. In particular, he said, “Azerbaijan is a very important country in the cooperation within the ICT industry”. Ambassador Kim Chang-gyu said that next year many Korean delegations will visit Azerbaijan, because next year Korea and Azerbaijan are marking the 25th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relations. On this occasion it is planned to hold joint events, including cultural, political, economic and scientific events.
Ambassador Kim Chang-gyu also said the talks are now ongoing with AZAL to launch a direct flight between the two countries. “We are suggesting two options. The first option is a direct flight through Bishkek, because Bishkek is situated on the straight line from here to Seoul, and also through Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia”, Kim Chang-gyu said.
At the end of the meeting the Ambassador gave an exclusive interview to Caspian Energy. During the interview he elaborated on the prospects of a trade turnover growth, boosting economic and investment cooperation, spoke about the prospects of the energy market development. He also dwelt on the development of the tourism sector and energy cooperation.