Switzerland invests over $185 mln in Azerbaijan’s non-oil sector

Switzerland invested $185.3 million in Azerbaijan’s non-oil sector in 1995-2013.

The news was announced by Azerbaijani Economy and Industry Minister Shahin Mustafayev at the sixth meeting of the Azerbaijani-Swiss intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation, held in Bern on May 26.

The meeting was attended by co-chairs of the Joint Commission – Mustafayev from Azerbaijan and representative of Federal Council on Trade Agreements (SECO) of Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs Libyan Leu from Switzerland, as well as officials of the relevant agencies of the two countries.

Mustafayev said the necessary legal framework was established between the two countries, and more than 20 bilateral documents were signed, including the promotion and reciprocal protection of investments, trade and economic cooperation, and the avoidance of double taxation.

He also noted 81 companies with Swiss capital are operating in service, industry, trade, construction, transport, communications, financing, and other fields in Azerbaijan.

“So far, $70 million has been granted to Azerbaijan by the Swiss government,” he noted.

SECO has implemented 32 projects including regional ones in Azerbaijan.

“Currently, 17 projects are under implementation. Within the framework of the ‘Investment Climate in Azerbaijan’ project carried out jointly, law drafts on licenses and permits, regulation of inspections in the field of entrepreneurship, and protection of entrepreneurs’ interests were prepared,” he noted.

Touching on Azerbaijan’s investment in Switzerland, Mustafayev said Azerbaijan’s state energy company SOCAR has acquired Ecco Schweiz, a division of the U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil in Switzerland, and received a chain of 150 fuel stations in the country.

Speaking about future cooperation between the two countries, the Azerbaijani minister hailed the opportunities that exist in the fields of industry, agriculture, financing and banking, tourism, and other fields.

Leu, in turn, noted that Switzerland was interested in boosting relations with Azerbaijan, and highlighted the prospects for developing economic ties between the two countries further.

At the end of the meeting, the sides signed a Protocol on the results of the 6th meeting of the joint commission.

The protocol envisages the expansion of cooperation between Azerbaijan and Switzerland in industry, trade, investment, agriculture, water, energy, health care, environmental protection, tourism, transport, and other sectors.

The signing ceremony was followed by Azerbaijani-Swiss joint business forum, which was attended by about 30 companies operating in food industry, agriculture, construction, energy, tourism, ICT, health, and other fields and more than 120 businessmen from both sides.

Speaking at the forum, Mustafayev noted Azerbaijan is an initiator and active participant in major energy and regional transportation projects, and plays an important role in ensuring energy security in Europe.

Executive Director of the Swiss-CIS Chamber of Commerce and Industry Dorrit Sallis and Azerbaijan Ambassador to Switzerland Akram Zeynalli made speeches about Azerbaijan-Switzerland relations.

Afterwards, Head of Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) Rufat Mammadov made a presentation on business and investment opportunities in of Azerbaijan.

Later, AZPROMO and Swiss Joint Chamber of Commerce in Russia and the CIS countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Switzerland is one of the largest investors in the non-oil sector of Azerbaijan’s fast-growing economy. More than 70 companies with Swiss capital are registered in the country.

Azerbaijani companies are also interested in the Swiss economy. Azerbaijan’s state energy company SOCAR has already invested 380 million Swiss francs in Swiss economy ($322.3 million), and has a representative office operating in the country.

Trade turnover between the two countries reached $47.82 million in January-April 2014.

Azerbaijan has successful relations with Switzerland in the field of energy, agriculture, financing, culture and tourism, and health care.

SOURCE: AZER NEWS

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