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Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan may benefit from number of opportunities along Middle Corridor

Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan

Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan intend to increase trade turnover by 5.5 times and reach $1bn in the near future. On this, Azerbaijani and Uzbek delegations agreed the 12th meeting of the Azerbaijan-Uzbekistan Joint Intergovernmental Commission which kicked off in the city of Shusha.

Uzbek Ministry of Investment, Industry, and Trade noted that in 2022 alone, the volume of trade between the two countries will increase by 1.5 times, and since the beginning of this year, this indicator has increased by 16%. The Uzbek ministry emphasized that the volume of delivery of textile products to Azerbaijan increased by 2.6 times, the delivery of mechanical equipment by 19.7 percent, and the delivery of glass and glass products by 76 percent.

It should be mentioned that Azerbaijan was keen to develop business relations with the West after it got independence and with a determined foreign economic policy Azerbaijan formed a good business cooperation with the Western countries.

Today, over 80 percent of Azerbaijan’s export is diverted to the West. However, after 2020 Azerbaijan started to develop its relations with Central Asian countries. Trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Central Asian countries has increased by several times over three years. It is worth noting that the relations with Uzbekistan stand forward among these countries. There are several sectors, that Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan agreed to cooperate. Processing of Uzbek dried fruits in Alat Free Economic Zone, and jointly assembling vehicles are some of them.

It is clear from the information provided by the Ministry of Uzbekistan that the two countries intend to further develop these economic relations. But how far can the economic relations between the two countries develop?

Speaking to Azernews, the economist Eyyub Karimli underlined that generally, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan have political, cultural, and economic relations, and the history of these relations goes back to ancient times.

“Obviously, Uzbekistan is located on the Silk Road. Even before the USSR, Azerbaijan-Uzbekistan relations always developed and the relations were a way better during the USSR and it is now. These relations stemmed from the fact that both of these countries come from the same lineage, and also belong to the same religion,” the expert said.

He emphasized that last year the trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $183m, of which Azerbaijan exported products and services costing $46.5m to Uzbekistan and imported $137m. However, Karimli thinks that this amount is not sufficient.

“Of course, there are enough opportunities to increase this amount. Today, within the framework of the Organization of Turkic States, Azerbaijan is further developing relations with Uzbekistan on the basis of bilateral economic relations between the two countries. Currently, there are great opportunities for this. As is known, Azerbaijan is strengthening its economic and political influence among Central Asian states. The industrial potential in Uzbekistan is already developing. Today, household appliances, cars, and agricultural products are imported to Azerbaijan from Uzbekistan,” Eyyub Karimli said.

He also touched on the Middle Corridor and its benefits to the two countries. The Economist believes that in the near future, the logistics opportunities developing along the East-West direction of the Middle Corridor will create great opportunities for Uzbek entrepreneurs to access the European markets, and other countries on this route. Eyyub Karimli ensured that both the economy of Azerbaijan and the economy of Uzbekistan will gain from this process, and the possibilities of activity of Uzbek entrepreneurs will expand.

As for further development between these countries, of course, I think that in the near future, we will observe the rise of Uzbekistan-Azerbaijan relations to a high level. As I mentioned earlier, there is an economic basis for this. Today, Uzbekistan is a leading cotton-growing country, and in the future, wide opportunities for cooperation in this field can be obtained.

In addition, Uzbekistan has gas opportunities, and it is possible that we will mediate in the transfer of this gas to Europe in the future. Today, Uzbekistan has wide opportunities in both industry and agriculture, and we can exchange mutual experiences. From this point of view, Azerbaijani entrepreneurs have the opportunity to acquire and apply certain knowledge in the field of agriculture in Uzbekistan. Also, Uzbekistan receives oil products from Azerbaijan, and this may increase in the future,” he noted.

Azerbaijani economist added that all these mentioned can affect the trade turnover between the two countries, and I believe that we can reach the set figure within the next five years.

About Fidan Abdullayeva