The co-chair of the Azerbaijan-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation from the Azerbaijani side, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Shahin Mustafayev, and the co-chair of the Commission from the Russian side, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Alexei Overchuk, held a meeting through videoconferencing. Representatives of the relevant government agencies of both countries also participated in the meeting, the press service of the Cabinet of Ministers told AZERTAC.
Issues on the agenda, as well as achievements and prospects for cooperation in economy and commerce, mutual investments, industry, transport and logistics, customs and border, oil and gas, energy, including renewable energy, agriculture and food safety, banking, interregional relations, humanitarian and other areas were discussed during the meeting. The sides noted that the bilateral meeting of the heads of state in Sochi in November last year was another manifestation of strategic partnership between Azerbaijan and Russia. They stated that 2022 is notable for the 30th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Russia.
It was also noted during the meeting that the 20th jubilee meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission will be held in Baku in April-May this year. They hailed the fact that despite the negative impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the trade between Azerbaijan and Russia rose by more than 12% to reach $3 billion in 2021. The first cargo train, which was seen off to Russia on 12 February as part of the Agroexpress project, was evaluated as a successful result of joint activities between the two countries. The two sides expressed confidence that the project will contribute to the expansion of economic and commercial relations and stimulation of entrepreneurship between Azerbaijan and Russia. They also stressed the activities of business missions in the realization of the economic potential of cooperation between the two countries, as well as the active work of the Russia Export Center in Azerbaijan. The role of the Azerbaijan-Russia and Russia-Azerbaijan business councils in the development of relations between business circles and determination of new opportunities of cooperation was highly appreciated.
It was noted that the sides will continue providing overall support for increasing mutual investments between the two countries and that Azerbaijan invested $1,2 billion in the Russian economy, while Russia invested more than $6 billion in the Azerbaijani economy. The sides underlined the favorable opportunities for Russian companies to take part in projects implemented in industrial parks in Azerbaijan and that 14 Russian companies had already applied for working in the territories liberated from occupation. Different industries, including car manufacturing, production of medical preparations, construction materials, railways, wine making, helicopter and car repair and others were assessed as a manifestation of successful cooperation.
It was noted that cooperation in the field of agriculture was of great importance and Russia was the biggest consumer of agricultural products from Azerbaijan. The increase in volume of export of fruits and vegetables from Azerbaijan to Russia in 2021 by 6% was pointed out. From this viewpoint, extension of the period of permission to carry fruits and vegetables from Azerbaijan to Russia by railway till 1 January 2023 was highly appreciated. Besides, it was stated that Russia was the main supplier of mineral manures and feeding plants to Azerbaijan and the two countries enjoyed successful cooperation in this area. The level of cooperation in the field of transport and logistics was highly evaluated. It was especially noted that the volume of goods transported by road rose by 6,6% and the volume of transit goods increased by 14,3% last year. The two sides stressed the importance of the North-South international transport corridor and said that active work was under way both in Azerbaijan and Russia to expand opportunities as part of this corridor. The prospects for establishment of an integrated operator mechanism for this corridor were also discussed.
The sides described the Azerbaijan-Russia Interregional Forum as an important platform for the development of relations between the regions, and that the 11th Forum will be held in the second half of 2022.
The two sides stressed that they were ready for continuing the constructive dialogue aimed at strengthening and expanding the relations between Azerbaijan and Russia in all areas of cooperation.