Baku. 22 December. REPORT.AZ/ Report News Agency presents an interview with the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Azerbaijan, Mohammed Al-Gubaysi.
- Mr.Ambassador, how do you assess our bilateral ties?
- This is one of my main job to increase this type of already strong bilateral relations in all matters. My main job is to make it more on trade, economy and tourism. These are important issues, but not easy things to do but it is important to take steps in this direction. I have strong support here from all authorities, starting from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ending with other agencies that help me to do my job.
- Which spheres of bilateral cooperation are the most active? What can you say about trade turnover? How do you see perspectives of our economic ties and what goals did you set as an Ambassador of UAE to Azerbaijan?
- Both of our countries are young and it took time to reach the increase of bilateral trade and volume. I think the main task is to introduce the different aspects of strength of each countries to let our people know what's available in Azerbaijan. At the same time, we want to know what Azeris want to introduce to our country. I think, we can increase one to one relations between Baku, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and other emirates. It means that, we can complete each other. You can be our hub in Caucasus. Azerbaijan has all infrastructure. We will introduce it together by doing many things like shows, exhibitions, like large exhibition which was held in Baku last week (Baku Build) where big delegation from UAE participated there.
My main job is to let people to know each other and see where is the lack. We let the people know, that there is financial strength in Azerbaijan that has no in other country that UAE relations have. We have like an agreement on mutual funds and mutual investment security, so they secure the funds between UAE and Azerbaijan.
Speaking about trade turnover, it amounted more than 40 million dollars this year. Comparing to the capabilities of UAE and Azerbaijan, this number is very low. I am not happy about it and we can and will increase it for sure.
- How many UAE companies working in Azerbaijan and vice versa?
- There are around 200 enterprises working in Azerbaijan. Speaking about UAE, we have 12 free trade zones. Some of them are small, some are large, but all are strong. That's why we find a lot of Azeri companies work there and it eases their trade. Dubai is the hub of the area and it eases the access other regions. We also have Dubai Chamber of Commerce here which also support us in trade.
- We know that UAE has big tourism potential and expertise in these area. Do UAE companies plan to establish their business in Azerbaijan?
- Yes, definitely. Soon it is expected for tourists to come here. You know that, UAE citizens are big travelers. There is more than a half of population going to other countries as tourists. That mean, that our citizens travel abroad twice a year. Because of proximity of Azerbaijan and UAE and availability of many air flights gives us possibility to come here even for a weekend. And we want to make more flights between two countries. And because Azerbaijan has a lot of attractions, forests, beaches, mountains, deserts, snows this made a good attraction for Azerbaijan.
- How many Azerbaijani citizens visited UAE and is there any increase in this number?
- In 2014 the tourists visiting UAE from Azerbaijan was 6376. They are coming either for shopping or to see attractions, deserts. Some of them take chance to see Dubai or Abu Dhabi, while travelling to other destination and changing the plane. But I need to say that, planes flying between us are always full.
- Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the most popular destinations of Azerbaijan tourists. How do you plan to promote other emirates in Azerbaijan?
- There is something that need to be done from Azerbaijan is already done I mean tourist exhibition, which was held here. This was very important exhibition and we have tourism boards in every emirate which can help to increase the number of coming tourists. At the same time other emirates have various attractions for Azeri tourists to come. Not only for shopping. Some places are very quiet and nice. I think these boards will increase their work in Azerbaijan.
- How does Dubai preparing for 2020 EXPO? What surprises shall we expect and did Azerbaijan confirm its participation there?
- I don't know whether Azerbaijan expressed its interest to participate at the EXPO, but we are working hard doing this to happen. This is for the first time EXPO to be organized outside of Europe or China. It is because we have 4 billion people around this region, who have never heard about EXPO. That's why we are making it in Dubai, because it is hub, it is center and close to everyone. Our goal is to increase knowledge so a lot of people understand many things, especially young people. This is our message on EXPO - 2020. It is very good for all emirates and all region.