BAKU, February 18 (Itar-Tass) —— In 2011 the trade turnover between Russia and Azerbaijan for the first time exceeded three billion dollars, Russian trade representative in Azerbaijan Yuri Shchedrin said at a meeting of the Azerbaijani-Russian Chamber of Business Cooperation.
"These targets had been identified by the two heads of state, and they have been achieved," he said, noting that as compared with the pre-crisis period the volume of trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Russia increased last year by almost a third.
"Russia has strengthened its leading positions among the group of exporters to Azerbaijan, and it is the largest importer of products from Azerbaijan, excluding crude oil,” Shchedrin said. “Mutual trade is still distinguished by a high level of diversification."
In this context, the head of the trade mission noted the importance of the joint agreement between the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR) and Gazprom on the export of Azerbaijani gas to Russia. "Recently, an agreement was reached on the further enhancement of the supply of gas,” Shchedrin recalled. “This year we expect that their volume will reach about three billion cubic meters, and in the future it may be exceeded."
"We are positive about the prospects for bilateral economic cooperation,” said Shchedrin. “This assessment is based primarily on the growing export potential of the economies of Russia and Azerbaijan, the number of participants in foreign economic relations, expanding with each passing year, and the development of cross-border and regional cooperation."
"In Azerbaijan there are currently over 500 Russian companies, including one-third of them companies wholly owned by Russian businesses, and about half of them - joint ventures," he said.
Shchedrin said "in 2011 relations between Russian regions and Azerbaijan showed considerable growth". As good examples of Azerbaijani investments in Russia he called some projects in the Krasnodar Territory: the construction and commissioning in 2011 of a tea-packing factory, a cannery, and the planned construction of a dry building mixtures plant.
Businesses in 71 regions of Russia maintain economic relations with Azerbaijan, Shchedrin said. “About ten entities are major partners in Azerbaijan, with turnovers exceeding 100 million dollars.