Warsaw, June 27, AZERTAC
Azerbaijan-Poland business forum has been held in Warsaw.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda attended the event.
The heads of state made speeches at the business forum.
Speech of President Ilham Aliyev
Dear Mr President,
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
First of all, once again I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. President for invitation to visit Poland, and for hospitality shown to me and our delegation. Today we are entering a new stage of development of our cooperation. My visit to Poland is very successful. We signed many documents. Among them I would especially underline the Joint Declaration on strategic partnership and economic cooperation. Actually, this elaborates a new road map in development of our political and economic relations. The name of the declaration demonstrates how much importance we pay to economic cooperation. Today’s business forum is another indicator of that because business communities are very sensitive and they clearly understand that today the high level of political relations between Poland and Azerbaijan opens new opportunities for them. And as far as I know today at the business forum several agreements will be signed between our companies.
Of course, the current level of our trade turnover cannot satisfy us. Today with Mr. President and with delegations we discussed the ways how to increase trade turnover. There is a good opportunity to stimulate our economic ties, and also to have a very clear picture of our export potential, what we can export to each other and what kind of joint business projects we can implement.
I would like to congratulate our Polish friends and partners on very rapid economic development. Poland today demonstrates probably one of the highest rates of economic growth, political stability, economic stability. Development today creates very good opportunities for your country to strengthen your path to progress.
As far as Azerbaijan is concerned, our country is relatively young. Independence was restored only 25 years ago. We celebrated it last year. And these years were the years of transformation - political, social and, of course, economic. Today Azerbaijan demonstrates also very good economic performance. Since 2004, our economy has grown more than three times, and we managed also to reduce unemployment and poverty down to the level of five-six per cent. Now, the private sector is more than 70 per cent of our GDP and our financial reserves are four-five times bigger than our foreign debt. So, economically and politically Azerbaijan is a stable country, a country, which has attracted more than 200 billion of investment during the last 20 years. Approximately, half of them are foreign investments. A good investment climate and a very friendly environment for foreign investors create good opportunities for companies to work in Azerbaijan.
We want to work with polish companies as partners in different projects in Azerbaijan, in Poland. We want to enter into projects related to investment. We invite companies from Poland to be our partners in projects, which are being implemented in Azerbaijan – energy, transportation, construction projects. We invite them as contractors. We invite companies to invest in the areas where there is a potential for market in Azerbaijan and in the neighborhood. I think that having such good political relations and a clear vision for economic cooperation we can, in a very short period of time, achieve good success, increase turnover, I think, several times, and create a very solid foundation for business communities.
Azerbaijan is implementing important energy and transportation projects, which go far beyond our borders. On transportation, as Mr. President mentioned, we already entered joint activity in creation of corridors. Azerbaijan has been working on the transportation corridors for many years. Now all the necessary infrastructure, transportation infrastructure is already created. We have railroad connections with all our neighbors to the north, to the south, and to the west. We have six international airports, which can receive all types of aircrafts. Our cargo fleet is one of the leading cargo fleets in the world, which works globally. Our country is connected with the neighborhood with a chain of brand new highways, and we increase the volume of transportation through the newly-built port, the biggest in the Caspian Sea. Its first stage already is in operation, and next year the completion of the port will allow us to handle at least 15 million tons of cargo and one million containers. Already testing container trains from China to Europe are crossing through Azerbaijan. So, East-West transportation corridor is almost implemented. Azerbaijan invested not only inside the country, but also provided a financial support of more than 700 million dollars to construct a railroad in Georgia. At this stage we are in the final stage of negotiations with our Iranian neighbors on providing financial support for construction of a railroad in Iran, which will connect Iranian railroads with our railroads. Thus, we will create a multiple corridor format North-South, which will stretch from northern Europe to India through Azerbaijan, and East-West from China to Western Europe.
Another corridor, which are working on now together with our Polish friends is the South-West corridor, which Mr. President also mentioned. And I’m glad that Poland is our partner. The time of delivery of cargos through North-South and East-West corridors through Azerbaijan will be at least two times shorter than traditional routes. It will create a lot of activity, generate a lot of wealth, and bring new areas of cooperation.
Another important project, which we are implementing and which is also highly supported in Europe, is the Southern Gas Corridor project, which today is the only new source of gas delivery to Europe. The Southern Gas Corridor is a project, which was initiated by Azerbaijan several years ago. It’s a project worth 40 billion dollars and it`s almost implemented. We need two-three years in order to complete this project hundred percent. Now the implementation of different segments of that project is from 40 to 95 per cent. This will be another source of natural gas to Europe. This will mean energy diversification, energy security, sustainable delivery of natural gas to European markets. And we discussed with Mr. President the future prospects of cooperation in this area. Azerbaijan is already a reliable partner in oil delivery to European markets. Our cooperation with Poland also is very successful. So, these major driving forces of our cooperation are important as global projects of energy and transportation security, but at the same time, they open big opportunities for private companies to be part of these projects. And I invite once again the companies from Poland to be our partners. We want to establish closer economic and business contacts. Poland for us is a very friendly country, and a country, which has a great potential not only in Europe, but globally and has very good international positions.
I today congratulated my colleague President Duda on tremendous success in election as a non-permanent member of the Security Council of United Nations with the support of almost 200 countries. This is a sign of international respect for your country and appreciation of what you are doing. And you can be sure that in the area of South Caucasus and Caspian you have also a reliable friend and partner, a capable friend, a friend, which keeps its word and wants to strengthen our cooperation. Therefore, I am sure that business communities of our countries will elaborate broadly on the opportunities. I’m sure today you will discuss different projects in the area of agriculture, industry, tourism, pharmaceuticals and other areas of cooperation where we have huge potential. We already discussed it with President Duda, and I’m sure that your discussions and your interaction will bring good results. So, once again, I would like to welcome you, express my gratitude for being at the forum and wish you success.
Thank you very much.
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The business forum continued with discussions.
The business forum was attended by more than 150 businessmen from different areas of economy, including over 60 from Azerbaijan.
The forum saw the signing of five agreements and memorandums of cooperation between Azerbaijani and Polish business entities and companies.
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