Azerbaijan economic development

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SOCAR Polymer exported nearly 4,400 tonnes of polypropylene to Turkey, SOCAR’s page in social network reports.


It is noted that additional 6,000 tonnes of polypropylene will be exported by the end of the year.


The opening ceremony of the Polypropylene Plant was held on July 18, 2018 with the participation of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Italian President Sergio Mattarella.


Azerbaijan's SOCAR Polymer LLC, resident of Sumgait Chemical Industrial Park, exported the first batch of polypropylene to Turkey on October 5, 2018.


The volume of the first batch was 170 tons.


At the first stage, SOCAR Polymer’s production capacity will be 120,000 tons of polyethylene and 184,000 tons of polypropylene. The volume of exports of the plant, according to forecasts, this year will be 15,000 tons. By 2021, the total capacity can reach 570,000 tons of products.


The plant will produce 19 types of products from polypropylene and 12 types of products from high density polyethylene. The products will be used, in particular, in the food and medical industries, as well as in agriculture and car manufacturing.


The supplier of raw materials for the plant is Azerkimya PU. After switching to full capacity, the plant will purchase 23 tons of propylene per hour from the Azerikimya.


Nitrogen installation for plants for the production of polypropylene and high density polyethylene are based on the most advanced technical and engineering solutions.


The SOCAR Polymer project is the first of such a scale in the petrochemical industry of Azerbaijan for the last 40 years. The second plant was expected to be put into operation in the last quarter of 2018.


The total investment costs of the project are estimated at $816 million. The credit in the amount of $489 million has been allocated to SOCAR Polymer by Russian Gazprombank for a period of 10 years.


The production of raw materials at the SOCAR Polymer plants will contribute to the creation of hundreds of small and medium-sized enterprises and to the development of production of various types of import-substituting products. According to calculations, the activity of the plants producing polypropylene and high-density polyethylene SOCAR Polymer will yield an income of $8 billion.


At present, Azerbaijan imports polypropylene and thanks to the launch of the plant, it is planned to fully meet domestic demand and increase export potential.


It is expected that 30 percent of the products will be sold on the domestic market, the rest will be exported to Turkey, Europe and the CIS countries.


In general, fruit and vegetable products traditionally lead in the export of the Azerbaijan’s non-oil sector, the export of which amounted to $ 405.5 million in January-October 2018. So, given the potential of the SOCAR Polymer plant, this will probably push the production of fruits and vegetables to the background in national non-energy exports very soon.


Thus, the main growth in exports of non-oil products of SOCAR can be expected in 2019.


SOCAR Polymer was established in July 2013 to accelerate the development of the chemical industry. The company received the status of the second resident of the park. SOCAR Polymer covers 30 hectares of the park territory.
 

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Russia and Azerbaijan intend to create a trans-Caspian transport line, as well as develop cruise tourism in the Caspian Sea, Russian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mikhail Bocharnikov said at a press conference in Baku Dec. 24, Trend reports.


On Aug.12, a summit of leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran was held in the Kazakh city of Aktau, which resulted in the signing of a historic document for the region - the convention on the status of the Caspian Sea.


“I am very pleased that this is considered to be a very important event in Azerbaijan,” the ambassador said. “This convention allows filling existing agreements with concrete content.”


He noted that there still remain delimitation issues, but not between Russia and Azerbaijan. “Cooperation will be carried out to ensure the safety of navigation, the preservation of biological resources, etc.,” the ambassador added.




At the 5th Caspian Summit, held Aug. 12 in Aktau, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that "Peter The Great" cruise ship is being built in Russia, which will be able to perform all-round cruises across the Caspian Sea to all the five Caspian states.


Two types of cruises are planned – short (7-8 days) and long (13-14 days) cruises. The short ones will call to several ports in the northern and southern parts of the Caspian Sea, while long cruises will call to the ports of all five coastal states.


The commissioning of the ship is scheduled for the next year approximately.


Most of the Caspian cruises are planned to begin and end in Baku. In the future, "Peter the Great" will also take cruises connecting the Caspian, Azov and Black seas.
 

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mport and export operations between Azerbaijan and Belarus reached $186 million in 11 months of this year, which is about $26 million more against the same period of 2017, according to the National Statistical Committee of Belarus.


The volume of imports from Belarus to Azerbaijan amounted to $165,377,000, while exports from Azerbaijan to Belarus made $20, 281,000, official figures suggest.
 

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As many as 373.8 million tons of Azerbaijani oil was transported via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) since its commissioning in June 2006 until December 1, 2018, Report informs.


The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline has been established to ensure access to crude oil produced in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea under the "Contract of the Century".


As of November 2018, 2.2 million tons of Azerbaijani oil were transported via BTC.


The length of the pipeline is 1,768 km, 443 km runs through Azerbaijan, 249 km - through Georgia and 1,076 km - through Turkey. Daily transport capacity of the pipeline is 1.2 million barrels.


The crude oil delivery to the first tanker at the Ceyhan terminal took place in the summer of 2006.


The first delivery of approximately 600,000 barrels of Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) crude oil, transported through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, was loaded on the British Hawthorn tanker on June 4, 2006 and dispatched from the new Ceyhan Offshore Terminal. Being a strategic project, it is the first direct link between the Caspian Sea and the Mediterranean.


During the three quarters of 2018, more than 25 million tons (about 189 million barrels) were exported through the BTC.


During the first half of 2018, BTC's operating costs totaled about $ 61 million, and substantial costs made about $ 13 million.


BTC Co. shareholders are BP (30.10 percent); AzBTC (25.00 percent); Chevron (8.90 percent); Equinor (8.71 percent); TPAO (6.53 percent); Width (5.00percent); Total (5.00 percent), ITOCHU (3.40 percent); (2.50 percent), Exon Mobile (2.50 percent), ONGC (BTC) Limited (2.36 percent),


This pipeline, which is considered to be the main artery of energy export in the region, has played an important role in the extraction of the Caspian Sea's rich energy resources and bringing them to the world markets.
 

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Turkey and Azerbaijan will set up a plant in Azerbaijan to produce freight cars for BTK railway," Mehmet Cahit Turhan told reporters after his meeting with Azerbaijan State Railways head Javid Gurbanov.


"Work on the project is about to be completed. Factory sites were located for manufacturing. They will be produced immediately after establishing the plants," Turhan noted.


The BTK railway line is only providing freight shipment services, Tuhan said, adding that passenger transportation will start in the coming years.


He said not only Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia will benefit from the railway, but also other countries.


The 826-kilometer (513-mile) BTK railway project linking Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia began operation last year.
 

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The Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom has sent proposals on cooperation in the sphere of peaceful use of nuclear energy, including construction of a nuclear power plant (NPP), to the President of Azerbaijan, a source in the nuclear industry familiar with the course of talks told reporters on Wednesday.


"Azerbaijan has the nuclear industry but it does not have operating NPP. Rosatom sent proposals; they are thinking. We suggested two ways. The first one is to start immediately. Even a site for the nuclear power plants was selected there in Soviet times; work on the site can be started," the source said.
The second option offered by Moscow contemplates gradual buildup of cooperation in the nuclear sphere. "It is possible to proceed without rush: to create a research nuclear reactor, build up certain power competencies, and train staff. To work for five-six years this way [before starting implementation of the NPP construction project]," the source said.


Russia and Azerbaijan have already held preliminary negotiations, the source noted. Rosatom prepared cooperation proposals according to their outcome and sent them to the President of Azerbaijan for review.




Baku will hardly use a loan from Russia for project implementation in case of agreeing with NPP construction proposal, the source said. "I think they will build using internal funds," he added.
 

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Germany is considerably interested in the further development of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) project, Executive Director of the German-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce (AHK Azerbaijan) Tobias Baumann told Trend.


Baumann said that a number of global and well-known German companies are already actively involved in the construction of the SGC by providing services, expertise, machinery and key pipeline materials at the various phases of the project.


"We are witnessing a growing number of long-term partnerships as well as successfully established joint ventures between German and Azerbaijani companies," he underlined.


Further, Baumann said that a more promising economic outlook and the government’s ongoing strategy of diversifying the economy will pave a way for the German manufacturers of machinery and equipment, as well as chemical products and raw materials in the non-oil sectors, including construction, infrastructure, transport and building materials.


"German companies can offer their relevant expertise and knowledge particularly in the electricity and renewable energy sectors to increase the efficiency of the energy system in Azerbaijan, which is also among the main priorities of the Azerbaijani government in the following years. In this context, they can be involved in the repair process of existing solar, wind, and bioenergy plants along with the development of feasibility studies on new plants," Baumann stressed.


He further noted that oil and gas sector tops the priority areas of cooperation between Azerbaijan and Germany, adding that considering that the international oil companies are the main clients of German companies operating in the country, the new exploration and development projects will create long-term prospects for German companies as contractors of the oil majors in 2019-2020.


"Furthermore, digitalization has recently become a crucial topic of the oil and gas sector. In this view, the upstream industry also opens up great opportunities for German companies offering information technologies and digital services," Baumann noted.


He went on to say that within the diversification policy of the government, the current focus of the development strategy is maximizing integration of Azerbaijan’s upstream-midstream-downstream oil and gas value chain, adding that hereby, petrochemical industry is the field with great prospects for cooperation with German companies.


Baumann pointed out that development of the long-term energy strategy remains one of the key priorities in Azerbaijan, further saying that the Azerbaijani government aims to attract new sources of private investments into the energy sector in 2020-2022 by ensuring a more effective, flexible and transparent legislation and regulatory framework.


"With that, there will be new chances for German companies to further position themselves in the market as providers of technology, equipment and expertise," he said.


Southern Gas Corridor envisages transportation of 10 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas from the Caspian region through Georgia and Turkey to Europe.


On May 29, Baku hosted the launch ceremony of the first phase of the Southern Gas Corridor.


The gas from the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field has already gone through the first segment of the Southern Gas Corridor - from the Sangachal terminal to the expanded South Caucasus Pipeline.


The Southern Gas Corridor project aims to increase and diversify European energy supply by bringing gas resources from the Caspian Sea to markets in Europe. The Southern Gas Corridor comprises the following four projects: (1) operation of Shah Deniz natural gas-condensate field (SD1 project) and its full-field development (SD2 project), (2) the operation of the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP project) and its expansion (SCPX project), (3) the construction of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP project) and (4) the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP project).


The projects have an estimated investment cost of approximately $40 billion.


Upon completion, the SD2 project will add a further 16 bcm of natural gas per annum to 10.9 bcma (maximum production capacity) already produced under SD1 project.


Total length of the newly constructed SCPX, TANAP and TAP pipelines will be around 3,206 kilometers.
 

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As many as 60,000 tons of sheep wool was exported to Russia through Azexport portal of the Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communications, Azertac reported.


Official figures show that over the past 10 years, wool has not been exported from Azerbaijan to Russia.


It should be noted that, despite the wool production in the Republic of Azerbaijan is increasing in recent years, there are some problems with its export. In 1985, about 11,000 tons of wool production was registered, 9,000 tons in 1995 and in 2015, about 17,000 tons of wool was produced. Wool producers do not know how and whom to sell the product they produce. Now, they are able to take advantage of Azexport portal.


Azexport.az portal contributes to the growth of export of sheep wool from our country, as well as expansion of export geography.


“Azexport portal creates equal opportunities for everyone. Moreover, as a digital platform, Azexport helps entrepreneurs get export permits, logistics, marketing, and more, as well as enter the foreign market. It is not difficult for big business, it is important to ensure access of the major small and medium entrepreneurs to the foreign market,” said Head of Azexport portal Zaur Gardashov.


"Azexport.az" portal of the Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communications was created under the Order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated September 21, 2016 "Establishing Unified Database of Goods Manufactured in the Republic of Azerbaijan".


Portal offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to export goods produced in our country to traditional and new markets via international e-trading platforms. The mission of Azexport.az is to provide information about products of Azerbaijani origin and become beneficial platform for their sales in foreign and domestic markets.


Azexport.az, integrated with the most popular electronic trading platforms, makes the products available to potential buyers from anywhere in the world.


In October, Azerbaijani entrepreneurs have received $ 23 million worth orders through the Azexport.az portal. According to the report of the Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communications, the value of export orders for the portal in January-October amounted to $ 433 million, which is 10 percent more than in the same period of last year. The cost of export orders from 108 countries of the world to Azexport.az for the period from January 2017 to October 31, 2018 (within 22 months) amounted to $ 908 million.


The Azexport portal contributes to the promotion and sale of Azerbaijani non-oil products. Strengthening the place of the non-oil sector in the country's economy plays an exceptional role in a period when oil and gas reserves are running out.


Looking at the non-oil sector in general, according to the Export Review of the Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communication for November 2018, in January-October 2018 export of non-oil sector increased by $ 132 million or 11 percent in January-October compared to the same period of 2017, and amounted to $ 1.351 billion.


During the first ten months of this year exports to Russia amounted to $ 467.1 million, Turkey - $ 293.8 million, Switzerland - $ 114.4 million, Georgia - $ 106.5 million and Kazakhstan - $ 38.4 million.


In the list of non-oil goods exported during January-October 2018, tomatoes ($ 149.9 million) were the first, gold - (not used in coin cutting, in other untreated forms - $ 99.9 million ) in the second place. The initial polyethylene with a specific mass of less than 0.94 ($ 68.5 million) is on the third place in this list.
 

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BP and Azerbaijani Energy Ministry signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly explore potential opportunities for the development of renewable energy in the country on December 18.


The memorandum was signed in the context of the recent announcement by the government of Azerbaijan that it is developing a regulatory framework for renewables in the country, BP told Trend.


Azerbaijani Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov said at the signing ceremony that increasing alternative and renewable energy production and raising their role in the energy security are currently important issues to be solved, as set by the head of state of Azerbaijan.


“We are currently studying the international experience, developing the country’s legal framework and conducting consultations with international companies for the development of renewable energy. With the document we signed today, what Azerbaijan has accomplished in the area of renewable energy sources will enter a new stage of development. I believe our long cooperation with BP based on a strong partnership in the oil and gas sector will be beneficial for the renewable energy sector as well, enabling us to contribute together to the development of clean energy,” the minister noted.


BP's Regional President for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, Gary Jones said that BP supports the legislative framework being developed in Azerbaijan for the renewable energy sector.


The company looks forward to working with the Azerbaijani government to understand and jointly explore the potential renewables opportunities in the country, he added.


“Globally, we have been in the renewables sector for more than 20 years and have a great deal of experience to share with the country. Renewable power production is expected to remain the fastest growing form of energy in the world as the energy mix is shifting towards lower carbon sources. We welcome the recent announcements by the Government to develop a regulatory framework for renewables and are pleased to have signed today’s MoU to help the country’s efforts in this area," Jones noted.


BP has been operating in the renewable energy sector for more than 20 years. Today BP is one of the best wind and solar power producers in the world although its investments in renewable energy resources are less than oil and gas.


Hydrocarbons, which are the traditional source of energy used by the world for many years, are gradually being run out and, thus, make the use of alternative and renewable energy sources urgent. By 2030, energy demand in the world will increase by 45 percent.


The favorable geographic location and climatic conditions allow the widespread use of environmentally friendly alternative energy sources in Azerbaijan.


Most of the potential on the renewable energy in Azerbaijan accounts for the solar energy estimated at 5000 megawatts. Wind power accounts for 4,500 megawatts, biomass - 1,500 megawatts, geothermal energy - 800 megawatts, and the rest 350 megawatts - the potential small hydropower plants.


The potential of renewable energy sources in Azerbaijan exceeds 25,300 megawatts, which allows producing 62.8 billion kilowatt/hour of electricity per year.


Aiming to lessen its dependency on oil, Azerbaijan impelments a number of measures for further development of alternative energy sector.


The State Agency for Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources plans to implement 23 projects worth 13 million manats as part of the strategic roadmap for the development of public services in 2018-2020.


The projects cover the construction of 420 megawatt wind, water and biofuel power plants. The capacity of wind power stations will be 350 megawatts, solar power stations will be 50 megawatts, and biofuel power plants will be equal to 20 megawatts.


Currently, the State Agency for Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources negotiates with a number of foreign investors to finance projects for wind power plants in the Caspian Sea to develop renewable energy supply.


It should be noted that Energy Ministry and Norway's Equinor plan to cooperate in alternative and renewable energy sources.


Moreover, "green" power station is expected to be created at the Baku International Sea Trade Port.
 

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China National Electrical Engineering Co., Ltd. (CNEEC) and the Azerbaijan Investment Company OJSC signed a Memorandum of Understanding.


The Economy Ministry reported that the MoU was signed during a meeting of the Economy Minister, Co-Chair of the Azerbaijan-China Intergovernmental Commission for Trade and Economic Cooperation Shahin Mustafayev with CNEEC Vice-President Zheng Chengjun.


Mustafayev underlined the successful development of the Azerbaijani-Chinese relations and the importance of the political will of the presidents of Azerbaijan and China in the expansion of cooperation between the two countries. It was noted that the high level of political relations between the two countries positively contributed to the expansion of economic cooperation, investments and trade relations.


Azerbaijan supports China’s “One Belt - One Road” strategy. It was stressed that the MoU on the joint promotion of the “Silk Road Economic Belt”, signed during the visit of the Azerbaijani President to China in 2015, encouraged development of transport and transit cooperation and the use of Trans-Caspian Transit Corridor by Chinese companies.


In turn, Vice-President of CNEEC expressed his satisfaction with the cooperation of the company with Azerbaijan and stressed that he took part in realization of several projects in Azerbaijan.


The cooperation between China and Azerbaijan strongly contributes to the realization of the Great Silk road program.


The Great Silk Road is a general name of a caravan road, which has been the main two-way trading bridge of East and West since the 3rd century BC up to now. The Great Silk Road starts in Japan and China stretches up to Europe cutting through India, Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asia, Caucasus, Asia Minor, Northern Africa including connecting the Indian Ocean, the Chinese Sea, the Japanese Sea, the Red Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Mediterranean Sea.


China became Azerbaijan’s 4th largest trading partner in 2017. Customs data of Azerbaijan estimated bilateral trade at a record close to $1.3 billion in 2017, up 33 percent from the previous year.


Exports of Azerbaijani goods amounted to $433.8 million (3.21 percent of total exports), while imports of Chinese products to Azerbaijan reached $854.5 million (9.73 percent of total imports).


In January-September this year, the trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $848.9 million.


Since 2017, Azerbaijan has a trade representative in China, which is important for boosting trade relations. About 50 percent of China’s trade with the South Caucasus accounts for Azerbaijan.


The main export products from Azerbaijan to China last year were chemical products, fuel, and plastics. From China to Azerbaijan over the past year were imported electric equipment, vehicles and spare parts, clothing, ceramic products, household items.


There are over 100 Chinese companies operating in trade, services, industry, construction and other spheres in Azerbaijan.
 

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Sumgayit Technology Park (STP) has delivered a large batch of cables to Tajikistan, STP told Trend June 14.


The products were delivered as part of the reconstruction work in the Roghun hydroelectric power station.


The company shipped two types of cables: control cables and low voltage cables (up to 1 kV).


Earlier, STP delivered the first batch of power cables in Tajikistan according to the agreement with "Tajikgidroenergoproekt" JSC on the reconstruction of the "Ravshan" substation.


Currently, the high-voltage cables, designed for 220 kW, 330 kW and 500 kW are manufactured at the facilities of STP. The Technopark is the largest enterprise implementing new infrastructure projects in the power industry of Azerbaijan.


STP produces electric power and mechanical engineering products based on modern technologies, in particular, it has launched production of a wide range of different types of cables, transformers, high-voltage equipment, hydraulic turbines, water pumps, electric motors, pipes, and technical gases
 

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The field of space industry has received additional impetus, as Azerbaijan and Iran plan to jointly produce a satellite. This would be a completely new level of cooperation.


Azerbaijan and Iran have reached an agreement on the joint production of a satellite probing the Earth, Iranian Minister of Communications and Information Muhammad Javad Azeri Jahromi told Trend.


Jahrumi noted that at present close ties are established between the two countries on cooperation in the field of satellite communications.


The Minister also mentioned the expansion of cooperation between countries in the field of postal services.


"Currently, Iran and Azerbaijan also cooperate in the field of postal communication, and we also intend to develop these relations. In the future, we also envisage expansion of cooperation in the field of postal financial services," said Jahromi.


In addition, Jahromi said, prospects for cooperation on the TASİM fiber-optic cable construction project will be discussed as part of the next meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart.


Azercosmos Open Joint-Stock Company was established in May 2010 by the presidential decree with the purpose of implementing the launch, operation, and exploitation of telecommunication satellites of Azerbaijan. This is the first Caucasian satellite operator.


According to the results of 2017, the company's revenues from commercial use amounted to $ 23 million. In January-June 2018, the satellite services were exported to 19 countries.


Azerbaijan’s Azercosmos OJSC operates satellites and other devices used at different heights in order to support the country’s socio-economic development, commercial, scientific activities and for state purposes.


In December 2014, Azercosmos took over the rights to operate and commercialize Azersky, high resolution (1.5 meter imagery products) optical Earth observation satellite, and entered into the commercial business of Earth observation services, including geo-information services. Azerbaijan’s revenue from the operation of Azersky is expected to exceed $200 million within the next decade.


The company also manages two satellites Azerspace-1 and Azerspace-2.


Azerspace-1, the nation’s first satellite, was launched into orbit on February 8, 2013. At present, its service area includes countries of Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The Azerbaijani satellite provides a variety of services, such as digital television, data transmission, VSAT multi-service networks, and governmental communications. The total cost of the Azerspace-1 project was $230 million.


In addition, Azercosmos launched the new satellite Azerspace-2/Intelsat 38 on September 25, 2018. The satellite has been designed to provide a number of telecommunication services and will serve two operators - Intelsat SA and Azercosmos OJSC.


The second telecommunications satellite of Azerbaijan was placed in a geostationary orbit 45 degrees east longitude and its service area covers the countries of Europe, Central and South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The lifetime of the satellite in orbit will be 15 years. The new satellite worth $190 million is projected to bring $400-million revenue to Azerbaijan’s economy.


Meanwhile, Iran is among the world's top nine cosmic nations today. The Islamic Republic of Iran has already achieved complete turnover of space technology. The full cycle of space technology is based on the use of artificial satellite, ground station, rocket launch system and artificial satellite channel.


Iran's first satellite, Omid research satellite, was launched into orbit in 2009. In 2010, Iran also sent its first bio-capsule containing living creatures into space, using the indigenous Kavoshgar-3 carrier.


Announced recently, Iran intends to send its first cosmonaut to the open space in 2019
 

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A big pharmaceutical enterprise will be built in Azerbaijan through Belarusian investments, Ambassador of Belarus to Azerbaijan Gennady Akhramovich said at a press conference on December 27.


He noted that the enterprise will provide the Azerbaijani market with the most modern high-tech medicines.


“First of all, the matter rests in the production of oncology medicines,” he said, adding that the enterprise will be one of the most modern in the post-Soviet area.


Akhramovich also underlined that the medicines produced at the enterprise may be exported to other countries.


Touching upon the bilateral trade relations he said that the year 2018 saw a real breakthrough in trade and economy between Azerbaijan and Belarus.


He noted that following the ten months of 2018, the trade turnover between the countries exceeded $400 million on 370 commodity items, adding that by the end of the year, this figure will reach approximately $ 450-500 million.


Belarusian exports to Azerbaijan increased by almost three times, while exports from Azerbaijan increased by 44 percent.


“There are positive statistics on both the increase in Belarus exports to Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani exports to Belarus,” he said.


Belarus mainly exports to Azerbaijan the production of machinery, woodworking, tires, foodstuff, medicine, household appliances, dishes and other goods, meanwhile Azerbaijan exports to Belarus the products made of aluminum, products of petrochemistry, engineering and agriculture.


The ambassador noted that the economies of Belarus and Azerbaijan are not competitors, but complement each other.


“Products of the machine engineering industry, petrochemistry, woodworking, pharmaceuticals, military-technical cooperation became the main Belarusian export items to Azerbaijan,” he said. “In turn, Belarus also imported petrochemicals, vegetables, fruits and many other non-oil products from Azerbaijan.”


The ambassador emphasized that Belarus is negotiating with Azerbaijan to increase the number of regular flights.


"We want to use Azerbaijani aircraft to establish international flights, for example, Minsk-New York," Akhramovich said, adding that Belarus also plans to increase cargo turnover on air routes from Baku.


Akhramovich went on to say that Belarus is interested in the North-South project and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, and Belarus aims to create a railway route Minsk-Baku.


The ambassador reminded that in Alat there is a powerful logistic center, the capabilities of which can be used by Belarus to supply its goods to Georgia, Turkey via the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars route.


He noted that this year the cargo traffic between Azerbaijan and Belarus will amount to 400,000 tons.


Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1993, but cooperation in the economic sphere has been developing dynamically in the past decade.


Today, a legal and organizational framework has been set up that allows the implementation of joint projects. The Agreement on Investment Promotion and Mutual Protection between the Governments of Belarus and Azerbaijan came into force in 2011.


A store of Belarusian goods is expected to open in Ganja, the second biggest city of Azerbaijan, while similar sale points are already operational in the capital city Baku.


More than 10,000 Belarusian tractors and their specialized equipment have been assembled at Ganja automobile plant over the years.


Moreover, Azerbaijan and Belarus had plans to supply tractors to Turkey. The Minsk Tractor Works (MTW) OJSC signed a new contract with Ganja Automobile Plant in Azerbaijan on September 22, 2017, for a supply of tractors to Azerbaijan along with an additional protocol on jointly entering the Turkish market.


Azerbaijan’s first ever Trade House was opened in Belarusian capital Minsk on May 26, 2017, that presents Azerbaijan's domestic products.


Recently, Belarusian Railways and the Azerbaijan Railways CJSC signed an agreement on mutually beneficial cooperation for the interaction of the railways of the two countries to contribute to the development of the International North-South Transport Corridor.
 

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Azerbaijan's relations with Astrakhan, Russia's strategic city in the Caspian Sea, are rapidly developing in recent years.


Recently, the Governor of the Astrakhan region of the Russian Federation Sergey Morozov was on a visit to Baku where he discussed cooperation with Azerbaijan particularly in trade and transport. The important agreement to restore direct flight between Baku and Astrakhan in 2019 was reached as part of these talks.


Astrakhan will open its business center in Baku in autumn 2019. The new center is aimed at increasing supply of Russian goods to the Azerbaijani market, Denis Afanasyev, the Minister of International and Foreign Economic Relations of the Astrakhan Region told AZERTAC.


“Our business center is similar to the Azerbaijan business center in Astrakhan, and maybe the area is slightly larger. Sergei Morozov, the governor of Astrakhan province, got acquainted with the construction works during his visit to Azerbaijan. The construction is speeding up, the center should be opened in the autumn of 2019,” he said.


At present, shipbuilding products, fish and flour-grinding products are being supplied to the Azerbaijani market from Astrakhan.


He also informed that Azerbaijan's logistics center, which supplies fruits and vegetables to Russia from Iran and Turkey, will accept the first cargo by the end of this year.


Noting that it is planned to supply up to 1 million tons of products via the center in 2019, Afanasyev said that Azerbaijan's KDY Logistics has almost completed the project and agreements reached with Azerbaijan, Turkey and Iran.


"By the end of this year, we expect the arrival of the first batch of goods by railway. About 1 million tons of cargo will be delivered from Azerbaijan, Turkey and Iran via the center in 2019,” he added.


The logistics center is set up at Kutum station in 50 hectares that will reduce the cost of the products and the delivery time.


He also underlined that at present, fruits and vegetables are mainly exported through the sea, causing the product to be damaged or spoilt due to the high moisture content. Transportation of products by special railway transport will help to solve this problem.


Implementation of the project will create about 3,000 jobs in the region. Azerbaijan's KDY Logistics works jointly with Russian Railways on the creation of a railway center in Astrakhan.


Relations between Azerbaijan and Astrakhan region of Russian Federation has always existed as they share similar geographical position and ethnicity that bound them.


The location of both of them on the Caspian coast and on the East-West trade route makes mutual relationships inevitable.


The center of the Astrakhan region is city Astrakhan, named after Haji Tarkhan in the XIII-XIV centuries, became an important trading center on the seabed of the Volga River, located on the Silk Road in the Caspian Sea. Such a favorable geographical position allowed the old city to become the largest transportation hub of the entire Lower Volga region. Railway and air traffic, sea and river port of the Volga-Caspian basin made the city a frequently visited place not only in the list of connoisseurs of rich cultural heritage. The population of Astrakhan is multiethnic though it is mostly Russian. At present, Tatars, the main population of the region in the past, make up only 7 percent of the population.


The Astrakhan province was determined to play an important role in Russia's politics to the Caspian, relations with the East, as well as a reliable military and political outpost in southern Russia.


Thanks to access to the Caspian Sea, the Astrakhan region plays an important role in the system of international routes.


The region is located at the intersection of two Eurasian transport directions at once: the North-South corridor and the West-East corridor. The North-South Corridor connects Europe through the Caspian Sea and Iranian territory with India, and the West-East corridor runs from Europe through the Astrakhan Oblast and Kazakhstan in the direction of China.


In this regard, the transport and logistics complex, including the port and other infrastructure, is very intensively developed in the Astrakhan region.


Oil and gas, chemical, shipbuilding complex, agriculture, processing, engineering, building materials, transport and logistics, trade, food, fish, tourism are the main activity areas in the region.


The greatest popularity to the region was brought by reserves of hydrocarbons - natural gas and gas condensate. The continental part of the Astrakhan region and the Caspian Sea adjacent to it contain big reserves of oil and gas, which are the largest in the European part of Russia.


The resources of the land part of the region are about 6 trillion cubic meters of gas and more than 1.3 billion tons of liquid hydrocarbons. The main share of hydrocarbon reserves accounts for gas condensate fields of the Astrakhan geological arch.


Currently, the development of hydrocarbon deposits in the Russian sector of the Caspian Sea is actively underway, in which eight large oil and gas condensate fields have been discovered. The estimated resources of the Caspian Sea shelf part of the Astrakhan region for oil and gas condensate are about 1.1 billion tons, natural gas - about 800 billion cubic meters.


In addition, in the Astrakhan region there are deposits of salt, gypsum and iodine.


Moreover, the development of the shipbuilding industry is inextricably linked with the development of offshore oil and gas fields in the Caspian Sea.


One of the most important sectors of the economy of the Astrakhan region is the agro-industrial complex, which is represented by two main areas: crop production and animal husbandry. Astrakhan region is one of the largest vegetable producers in Russia.


The presence of significant fish resources in the Volga River and the Caspian Sea is the basis of the fishing and fish industry of the Astrakhan region.


Another major sector of the regional economy is tourism covering cultural, educational, business, pilgrim, ecological, fishing, hunting, gastronomic and ethnographic branches.


The unique geographical location of the Astrakhan region in the Volga River delta, the diversity of its landscapes and the richness of nature attracts over two million tourists to the region every year.


Astrakhan is often called the “Volga Venice” - it is located on dozens of islands, and all parts of the city are connected by a network of bridges and canals. Cruise tourism in the Astrakhan region is one of the most promising types of tourism.


A large list of mineral waters, which are the basis of health tourism in the region, has been identified in the region.


As relations between Azerbaijan and Russia are of strategic nature, the Astrakhan region plays a special role in the development of these relations.


Documents covering socio-economic, trade, scientific-technical and humanitarian spheres have been signed between Azerbaijan and Astrakhan province over the past decade.


The Azerbaijani investors became the first foreign businessmen in Astrakhan’s Lotos special economic zone in 2017. Azerbaijan’s ATEF Group of Companies launched the construction of a plant for the production of electrical equipment in the special economic zone. The construction of an electrical equipment plant with $ 18 mln in investment is currently underway.


The opening of the business center of Azerbaijan, built on the initiative of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, took place in the Russian city of Astrakhan this year to introduce Made in Azerbaijan brand abroad. The interested Russian companies also have opportunity to conclude long-term contracts with specific suppliers from Azerbaijan.


According to the results of 2017, the volume of foreign trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Astrakhan province exceeds $ 16 million. It is 4.3 times more than in 2016.


According to statistics, at the beginning of this year, 56 enterprises were represented in the region with the participation of Azerbaijani capital, which is about 12 percent of the total number of foreign enterprises operating in Astrakhan region. Mainly companies specializing in the manufacture of shipbuilding products, supplies of metal products, building materials and packaging containers, food products enter the Azerbaijani market from the Astrakhan region.


The main share in the structure of imports from Azerbaijan to the Astrakhan region in 2017 and early 2018 is occupied by pipes for drilling, which are supplied to the Russian company Rosneft. In total, in 2017, they were delivered in the amount of $ 14 million, and since the beginning of 2018 - in the amount of $ 4.6 million.


The tourism cooperation that has great potential. In this sense, restoration of direct flights will boost tourist flows mutually.


At present, the project of a cruise between the Caspian countries, that will boost tourism and transit potential of the littoral states, is at the development stage. Approximate commissioning of the liner is scheduled for next year. At the first stage, trips will be organized on the Astrakhan-Baku route, and, then, the route will be further expanded until 2020.
 

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Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) plans to restore direct flights from Baku to Astrakhan in spring 2019, after a four-year break, Denis Afanasyev, the Minister of International and Foreign Economic Relations of the Astrakhan Region, said.


“We had a successful conversation with AZAL, it is planned to recover flights in the spring of 2019”, said Afanasyev commenting on the outcomes of Astrakhan delegation's visit to Azerbaijan on December 18 and 19.


According to the preliminary plan, the flights will be operated twice a week, and the flight time will be from 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, depending on the type of aircraft. Technical issues and marketing policy are currently under discussion.


Afanasyev pointed to the fact that, in particular, there is good prospects for the development of mutual tourism relations between the Astrakhan region and Azerbaijan. Noting that Turkish Airlines left Astrakhan airport Afanasyev said that in this sense Baku airport can play coordinative port role to reach East and West.


“Price policy should be competitive as well as suitable for passengers from the Astrakhan and other Russian regions. We also mean passengers from the western regions of Kazakhstan,” he added.


The decision has been made within the cooperation agreement recently signed by Azerbaijani Tourism Agency and the Astrakhan region of the Russian Federation.


At present, enterprises of 71 regions of the Russian Federation cooperate directly with Azerbaijan. Fifteen regions of Russia have relevant agreements with Azerbaijan on trade and economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation.


Astrakhan is the center of the Astrakhan region of the Russian Federation. This city, named after Haji Tarkhan in the XIII-XIV centuries, became an important trading center on the seabed of the Volga River, located on the Silk Road in the Caspian Sea. Such a favorable geographical position allowed the old city to become the largest transportation hub of the entire Lower Volga region. Railway and air traffic, sea and river port of the Volga-Caspian basin made the city a frequently visited place not only in the list of connoisseurs of rich cultural heritage. The population of Astrakhan is multiethnic though it is mostly Russian. At present, Tatars, the main population of the region in the past, make up only 7 percent of the population. The main industry in the city is fuel-energy sector.


The Azerbaijan-Russia Bridge of Friendship was inaugurated in Astrakhan, Russia in 2012.


The opening of the business center of Azerbaijan, built on the initiative of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, took place in the Russian city of Astrakhan this year to introduce Made in Azerbaijan brand abroad. The interested Russian companies also have opportunity to conclude long-term contracts with specific suppliers from Azerbaijan.


The Azerbaijani investors became the first foreign businessmen in Astrakhan’s Lotos special economic zone in 2017. Azerbaijan’s ATEF Group of Companies launched the construction of a plant for the production of electrical equipment in the special economic zone. The construction of an electrical equipment plant with $ 18 mln in investment is currently underway.


According to the results of 2017, the volume of foreign trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Astrakhan province exceeds $ 16 million. It is 4.3 times more than in 2016.
 
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