Baku, February 19, AZERTAC
China has for the first time become one of the ten largest trade partners of Azerbaijan, said adviser at the Chinese Embassy in Baku Yu Hongchi. He spoke at a round table on China's economy and the development of Azerbaijani-Chinese trade and economic relations, which was held at AZERTAC. Hongchi said that 2015 was an extraordinary year for China’s foreign trade, facing a more severe and complicated situation and higher downward pressure.
He provided an insight into the business activity of China in 2015. He pointed out that the consumer market in China functioned steadily, but there were some fluctuations. “Retail sales of consumer goods last year reached 30.1 trillion yuan. According to the Customs statistics, China’s total import and export in 2015 reached RMB 24.58 trillion, down 7% year on year. In comparison with the global economy, China maintained the status as the largest trade country, and the export proportion in the global market was steady and had increased.” “China’s export growth was still better than the major economies and emerging market economies in the world. China’s proportion in the global market was steady and had increased. China accelerated its structure adjustment and power transference, making the quality and efficiency of foreign trade development further promoted.”
Hongchi also highlighted the size of foreign investment in China last year. “In 2015, the size of foreign investment in China sustained a steady growth
and the utilization of foreign capital was further improved. The size of foreign investment hit a record high. In 2015, a total of 26,575 newly-established foreign-invested enterprises were approved, going up 11.8% year on year. The actually utilized foreign capital registered RMB 781.35 billion (US$126.27 billion), up 6.4% year on year (excluding data of bank, security and insurance). Among these, in December, a total of 2,027 newly-established foreign-funded enterprises were approved, up 17.9% year on year. The actual use of foreign capital stood at RMB77.02 billion (US$12.23 billion), down 5.8% year on year.”
According to Hongchi, China started to implement investment projects in Azerbaijan in 2002, having invested $300 million in the country as of 1 January 2016. He pointed out that China supports Azerbaijan`s efforts to the development non-oil sector. The diplomat believes it is advisable to develop agriculture sector and promote cooperation between Azerbaijan and China in the field of livestock production and cotton farming.
Speaking about the development of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and China, Hongchi recalled the second state visit of the President Ilham Aliyev to China in December, 2015. "This visit has made a great contribution to the development of bilateral relations and gave impetus to the further development of cooperation," he said. Hongchi pointed out that nine documents, envisaging cooperation in the field of economy, were signed in November during the meeting of Intergovernmental Commission in China.
He said energy, especially alternative sources, tourism and agriculture are major prospects for economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and China. Asked about the prospects for the Trans-Caspian transport corridor, the diplomat said: “The New Silk Road is a road of mutual cooperation, it creates additional opportunities for cooperation between our countries. China welcomes the shipping of goods through Azerbaijan.”