Azerbaijan could join beneficial unions

By: Nigar Orujova

Azerbaijan admits to the possibility of joining the Eurasian Economic Union, Deputy Minister of Economy and Industry of Azerbaijan Sevinj Hasanova told Russian journalists, RIA Novosti reports.

“We allow the possibility of participation in such unions, which will benefit Azerbaijan,” said the deputy minister.

However, before joining, there is a need to analyze the pros and cons of participation in this association and to conduct a detailed assessment of the participation, she noted.

The EEU is an economic union that replaced the abolished Eurasian Economic Community as of January 1, 2015. At present, Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are members of the union.

In order to increase trade turnover, Russia and Azerbaijan need to develop logistics centers for stimulating trade in goods, Hasanova further added.

“I think that in order to increase our trade turnover, we need to improve the situation with the transfer capacity of borders, help Russian exporters to export goods without hindrance,” said Hasanova.

“The decrease in the trade turnover was affected by factors beyond the control of Russia and Azerbaijan,” she said.

The economic preconditions of 2015 unfortunately led to a decrease in bilateral trade turnover, said the deputy minister, adding that the devaluation of the manat played a role.

The expected economic stabilization in Russia and Azerbaijan will improve indices by late 2015, according to Hasanova.

“The situation will be improving in the medium term,” she said. “For this purpose, we should work together, create infrastructure, including logistics centers.”

Azerbaijan’s economic growth rates can contribute to this, said the deputy minister, adding that the country’s GDP will increase by 3.3 percent as of 2015.

Noting that Azerbaijan’s non-oil sector will increase by 5.9 percent as of 2015, Hasanova said that positive, but low dynamic is expected for 2016 – the GDP growth will be 1.8 percent.

Russia is the only country, whose federal subjects have direct economic contact with Azerbaijan. The country has so far inked economic agreements with 78 Russian regions.

The sanctions on the Russian economy have contributed to a growth of interest in the supply of food from Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan plans to create national agricultural centers in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other regions of Russia. Moreover, a logistics center for imported Azerbaijani fruits and vegetables will be constructed in the Sverdlovsk Region.

In 2014, the trade turnover between the countries increased by 12 percent, reaching a historic high of $4 billion.