According to Roman Golovchenko, the visit of the Belarusian governmental delegation to Azerbaijan is aimed at discussing the implementation of agreements reached by the heads of state. “We have a serious package of proposals that we would like to submit to lay down the areas of cooperation for the near future,” he said.
The prime minister stressed that the long-term partnership and friendly relations between Belarus and Azerbaijan create a favorable background for the development of cooperation, despite the turbulent processes taking place in the world. “Last year, which was difficult for the world economy, we managed to set a good bar: mutual trade reached $885.5 million. There is almost parity in terms of trade, which it is good for the balance of payments for both countries. This year there was a slight decline, but last year was a record high for the two countries in terms of bilateral trade. I think that our meeting will help determine the potential for the development of cooperation in trade and investment and those problematic issues that should be solved at the government level so that business entities could implement joint projects,” the Belarusian head of government said.
According to him, the upcoming meeting of the Belarusian-Azerbaijani commission for trade and economic cooperation could add an additional impetus to bilateral interaction.
In addition to direct trade it is very important to implement joint cooperation projects in the manufacturing sector, as they bring added value to both economies, Roman Golovchenko stressed. He cited cooperation of the Belarusian machine builders with Ganja Automobile Plant as an example of an effective model of interaction. Over 12,000 tractors and over 4,000 other vehicles have been produced within the years of joint work with the plant. “We consider it right to move towards setting up a machine-building cluster on the basis of this enterprise with the participation of Belarusian producers of other equipment, such as grain and forage harvesters. This cluster may also produce trailer units for agricultural machinery and electric buses,” the prime minister said.
He also drew attention to the food problem in the world. “Of course, it is necessary to pay special attention to this topic and ensure food security of Belarus and Azerbaijan. We are interested both in developing our supplies to Azerbaijan (dairy and meat products) and deliveries of Azerbaijani fruits and vegetables to Belarus,” the Belarusian head of government added. Belarusian enterprises are currently taking part in the Caspian Agro and Inter Food international exhibitions in Baku.
Ali Asadov, in turn, expressed hope that there would be no more restrictions due to the pandemic and there would be more opportunities for face-to-face meetings. He also stressed that relations between the two countries were warm and friendly and said that he hoped for their further development. In particular, products of the Belarusian machine-building complex are widely represented in Azerbaijan, and there are also cooperation prospects in the food sector.
In 2021, the trade between Belarus and Azerbaijan amounted to $885.5 million, up 1.9 times compared to 2020. Exports totaled $478 million (up 2.5 times). Belarus posted a trade surplus. Belarus’ main exports to Azerbaijan last year were non-propelled and motorized railway or streetcar cars, tractors, fiberboard, butter, medicines, furniture, turbojet and turboprop engines, gas turbines, timber, beef and other products. In 2021 Belarus imported Azerbaijani tomatoes, strong alcoholic beverages, cooked or canned fruits and nuts, fresh fruits, fruit and vegetable juices, meat and poultry by-products, potatoes, clay and other goods.
In 2021, foreign trade in services stood at $23 million (up 18.7% from 2020). The export of Belarusian services reached $17.1 million (up 12.4%).
In Azerbaijan there are five subjects of the commodity distribution network and 45 dealers representing more than 50 Belarusian enterprises. At Ganja Automobile Plant there is a joint assembly unit for tractor machinery.
The Trading House of Azerbaijan opened in Minsk in 2017. It has been given preferential treatment for the supply of a group of food products to the Belarusian market.