Azerbaijan-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member States Business Forum held

Azerbaijan-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member States Business Forum held on October 20 with the support of Ministry of Economy and organization of Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO).

Business forum focused on discussions about business environment in Azerbaijan, information of GCC business communities about reforms carried out in Azerbaijan and potential of enhancement of cooperation with business owners from Azerbaijan and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member States. Shahin Mustafayev, ministry of economy noted in his speech in business forum that political relationships of Azerbaijan and state members of organization are at high level, mutual respect and friendship successfully improve and emphasized the significance of high level mutual visits from the point of view of relationships enhancement. The minister said that Islamic solidarity in Azerbaijan is of great value. 2017 was announced Islamic Solidarity year and Baku hosted the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games. Business forum, in which attend about 100 businessmen from GCC member states and more than 120 Azerbaijani business owners engaged in tourism, finance, industry, agriculture, food, education, health, consulting and other fields is the indicator of significance that is attached to cooperation. The forum is the first event in such a format and creates enabling environment for business owners to directly communicate and discuss certain business projects. It was also noted that GCC member states invested in Azerbaijan 1.3 billion dollars and 300 million dollars invested by Azerbaijan to these countries. 280 companies from gulf countries function in Azerbaijan. Trade turnover in 2016 between Azerbaijan and gulf countries was 86 mln. dollars, in 8 months of 2017 - more than 40 mln. dollars. It was emphasized that there is large-scale potential for increasing the number of gulf countries companies functioning in Azerbaijan, as well as enhancement of trading relationships.

The Minister Shahin Mustafayev said that Azerbaijan is politically stable and safe country, where there is a great confidence between the people and governance. Azerbaijan is a favorable country for investment. There are prospective potential for Gulf Arabic States Cooperation countries investments in Azerbaijan. Besides, GCC business owners can establish industry enterprises taking advantage of discount regimes in industry parks functioning in Azerbaijan, as well as GCC member states can use transit opportunities of Azerbaijan. GCC countries are a significant basis for export of Azerbaijan agriculture products. Export missions have been almost organized to several gulf countries and Azerbaijan products being sold in large trade networks in GCC countries. Azerbaijan export mission will make a visit to Saudi Arabia. At the same time there are wide opportunities for partnership in machinery, chemistry, alternative energy, ICT fields. GCC member state companies may cooperate with Azerbaijan Investment Company within different projects. We may create joint investment foundations. There is already experience in this field – Caspian International Investment Company function. We negotiate with Qatar on creation of joint investment foundation. Minister Shahin Mustafayev noted that simplification of visa regime, as well as 50 flights conducted during a week between Azerbaijan and gulf countries lead to the increase of the number of tourists from gulf countries. The number of flights will be increased in the future.

Chief Secretary of Gulf Arabic States Cooperation Council Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayyani delivered his congratulations on 26th anniversary of Azerbaijan restoration of independence. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayyani noted that it is his second visit to Azerbaijan and that it developed in a great scale. It was also noted that Council member states attach a great significance to the cooperation with Azerbaijan, our relationships successfully develop. The visit to Azerbaijan with a large delegation is an indicator of great interest in the enhancement of these relationships. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayyani emphasized that during the visit GCC delegation was received by the President of Azerbaijan Republic and large exchange of opinions made at the meeting on the partnership in different fields of economy. It was marked that the fact of holding first business forum of GCC member states in the year that was announced as a year of Islamic Solidarity deserves an attention. The forum is also significant for enhancement of economic partnership and discussion of mutually interesting issues.

Afterwards within business forum were signed Memorandums between AZPROMO and Federation of GCC Trade Board on mutual cooperation, between AZPROMO and Trade and Industry Board of Yanbu, Saudi Arabia on mutual cooperation and between Azerbaijan Standardization Institute and GCC Standardization Organization on understanding.

Chief Secretary of Gulf Arabic States Cooperation Council Trade Boards Federation Abdulrahim Hasan Nagi informed the attendees about economic and trade relationships of GCC member countries and noted the great interest to Azerbaijan products in gulf countries. Abdulrahim Hasan Nagi expressed his assurance that hold meetings and discussions will contribute to the development of trading relations, shared his views about the prospects on enhancement of cooperation and made suggestions on the organization of exhibitions in Baku with products from gulf countries and creating joint investment foundation.

The head of Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) Rufat Mammadov made a presentation on investment environment and business prospects in Azerbaijan.

The presentations were made by Chief Secretary of Gulf Industry Consulting Organization Abdulaziz Al Agil on the issues of trade and investments in GCC states, by Chief Secretary of the Council Standardization Organization Nabil Molla on the role of standardization in the economy and promotion of trade between GCC member states and Azerbaijan, by chairman of Saudi Arabia Yanbu city Trade and Industry Board Murad Ali Alorvai on tourism and investment prospects.

Trade representative of Azerbaijan in United Arab Emirates Elnur Aliyev informed about economic and trading relationships between our countries and invited business owners to active cooperation.

Double-sided meetings organized between businessmen within business forum and discussed the issues related to enhancement of partnership.