The Azerbaijan State News Agency

OFFICIAL NEWS

President Ilham Aliyev laid foundation stone for Alat Free Economic Zone, was interviewed by Azerbaijan Television VIDEO

Baku, July 1, AZERTAC

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended a groundbreaking ceremony of Alat Free Economic Zone.

Chairman of the Board of Directors of Alat Free Economic Zone Authority Valeh Alasgarov informed the head of state of the work done here.

Alat Free Economic Zone will cover a total area of 850 hectares.

The head of state laid a foundation stone for Alat Free Economic Zone.

X X X

President Ilham Aliyev then was interviewed by Azerbaijan Television.

Correspondent: Hello, Mr. President. It is a pleasure to see you. Mr. President, how did the idea of creating the Alat Free Economic Zone, the foundation of which was laid today, come about?

President Ilham Aliyev: The idea of establishing this zone is based on our policy. In particular, the work done to develop the non-oil sector in recent years has given an impetus to the establishment of this zone. We saw that investment in the non-oil sector was more made by the state or local companies. Foreign companies tend to invest more in the oil and gas sector. Therefore, I am confident that the creation of this zone will serve the development of the non-oil sector of Azerbaijan, the non-oil sector of our economy. At the same time, the infrastructure to be created here will be attractive to investors, new technologies will come to our country, new jobs will be created, the salaries of Azerbaijani citizens will be high, competitive products will be manufactured here and our non-oil sector's export opportunities will expand. Because if we look at the structure of our gross domestic product, we can see that the oil sector is no longer dominant. However, if we look at exports, we can see that oil and gas products account for the vast majority of our exports. Therefore, one of the key factors was the implementation of reforms and the attraction of foreign investors, especially to the industrial sector. Of course, this idea has been discussed for a long time. But we had to choose the right time to implement this project. We had to be ready for it, and I think we are ready for it today.

- Mr. President, what steps were made in the run-up to the establishment of the Alat Free Economic Zone?

-First of all, we had to do some organizational work and create suitable conditions to attract investors. It is clear that Azerbaijan is a landlocked country and it is more difficult to create free economic zones in such countries. In countries with a more favorable geographical location, these zones have been very successful primarily due to their geographical location. Therefore, taking into account this geographical situation, we had to work more efficiently and provide more attractive conditions for investors. First of all, work had to be done in the field of legislation, and in 2017, I signed a decree on accelerating the establishment of the Alat Free Economic Zone. In 2018, the law was adopted. This is a very progressive law that fully meets the interests of both our state and investors. This is very important. Because if there were any uncertainties for investors in the legislation, of course, it would not be possible to attract them here. In particular, the global economic and financial recession of recent years has reduced the volume of investment. Of course, the pandemic has also had a negative impact on the global economy. Taking this step at such a historic moment, of course, requires great courage and is underpinned by our confidence of it. Therefore, I believe that the work done in the field of legislation fully meets the interests of both investors and the Azerbaijani state. After that, specific work began already in 2018. This 850-hectare area has been allocated, the development of the concept of the Alat Free Economic Zone has been started, a working group has been established and work has already reached a practical level.

Of course, the pandemic interfered in our work and delayed our plans for a while. But now the pandemic is slowing down both in our country and in many others. I think that this groundbreaking ceremony being held today shows that we are fully ready for it. After that, practical work will begin, and I am confident that this work will be completed on time.

- Mr. President, why is the Free Economic Zone being created specifically in Alat?

-First of all, there are large vacant lands in the territory of Alat settlement, and the vast majority of these lands is not suitable for agriculture. On the other hand, Alat settlement is close to Baku. This is one of the important conditions. There are all the prerequisites for the implementation of infrastructure projects here. There is a 300-megawatt power plant in Sangachal, and the cost of infrastructure projects will be relatively low. The International Trade Seaport is also located here. This is one of the important factors for the operation of the economic zone. I think that the development prospects of Alat can be very successful. If this zone evolves the way we want, and I am sure that it will, the development of this region will have a great positive impact on our overall development. These factors have played the key role in selecting this location. At the same time, our international corridors pass through here. The East-West and the North-South corridors pass through Alat. Therefore, this place is very convenient in terms of logistics and transport. That is why Alat was chosen for this purpose.

- Mr. President, in your opinion, what will attract investors to this Free Economic Zone and why would they invest here?

-We asked ourselves this question too, which is why the work done to create this zone had to answer this question. After all, there are free economic zones in different countries of the world today. As I mentioned, in some countries this is due to natural conditions and geographical location. The practice of creating free economic zones in countries without access to the high seas has not been very successful. We have studied and analyzed successful and unsuccessful experiences. We believe that there are all the prerequisites for the attraction of investors to this zone in Azerbaijan. I think that, first of all, the geographical location of this place is favorable – it is located by the sea, next to the seaport, and it is a fairly large area. At the initial stage, 60 hectares of land are ready for development. However, a total of 850 hectares of land has been allocated. Land adjacent to this plot of land has already been earmarked so that no construction takes place there. This is necessary for future development.

Azerbaijan has a very good investment environment. We demonstrated this both during the implementation of oil and gas projects and as a result of reforms carried out in other areas. A very good investment environment has been created. It is no coincidence that Azerbaijan is ranked 28th out of 190 countries in the World Bank's Doing Business report. This is a great achievement on a global scale. We are ahead of many developed countries in terms of these parameters. In other words, a good investment climate is certainly one of the main conditions for attracting investors.

Another important reason why we believe that investors will come here is the availability of modern infrastructure. We have been consistently creating this infrastructure for several years. Today, we can say with reference to authoritative international organizations that we have made great progress in this area as well. We know that potential investors are primarily looking at the World Bank's Doing Business report, as well as the rankings of the Davos World Economic Forum. In both cases, our advantage is obvious. Notice the places Azerbaijan is awarded in terms of the level of infrastructure projects. In the field of electricity supply, Azerbaijan ranks second in the world in the Davos Forum’s report. Just imagine that we are in second place on a global scale. We are in eleventh place for the efficiency of railway services and in twelfth for air transport efficiency. We share 24th and 27th places for the quality of roads. The Caspian Shipping Company is ranked 25th for the quality of shipping services. All these are great successes we have achieved. These successes ensure dynamic development of our country today. Because major infrastructure projects have already been completed or are nearing completion. These are very important conditions for investors – investment environment and infrastructure projects.

Also, a very strong human resource potential has emerged in Azerbaijan in recent years. Special attention is being paid to this area. The state has sponsored the education of thousands of young people in the world's leading universities. Most of them have returned to Azerbaijan and are working in various places. Azerbaijanis working in the oil consortia are already contributing to the development of our intellectual potential. There is the human potential that will attract investors.

Security is guaranteed in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is perhaps one of the safest countries in the world. This factor is also very important for investors.

The intercultural dialogue and religious tolerance in Azerbaijan are already cited as an example in the world. We want all countries of the world to come and invest here. This factor is also very important.

On the other hand, the existing stability in our country is one of the main conditions for every investor. No-one would invest in countries without stability. This is an axiom. If we look at the experience of countries that are attractive in terms of investment, you will see this. One of the primary conditions, if not the most important one, for investment in Azerbaijan today is the public and political stability and the unity between the people and the government.

Another important factor is that our words and deeds never diverge. In other words, we do what we say. We keep our word, and life has shown this many times. Very attractive conditions have been created for investors. It is enough to look at the oil and gas projects to see that not a single comma has been changed in the contracts signed since 1994. However, in many places, after a certain stage, countries try to revise the conditions in a way that suits them best. We did not do that. Because if we do that, we will scare investors away. In other words, all these factors and, of course, the victory we won in the second Karabakh war and the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have already created a new situation. I think that long-term stability and peace are as clear as day for investors. I am sure that the presence of all these factors and our confidence will attract foreign investors to this zone.

- Mr. President, my last question is about when the Alat Free Economic Zone will be ready to receive first investors.

-The foundation laid today is already giving an impetus for the work to start. The initial work has already been planned, 60 out of 850 hectares have already been designed and detailed design work has been completed. Starting from today, construction work will begin along with infrastructure projects, a business center, a customs checkpoint and other necessary sites will be built. I think that in about a year, starting from July next year, we will be ready to receive investors.

Until then, the leaders of the Free Economic Zone will hold various events both in the country and abroad. Presentations should be made and direct contacts with potential investors should be established. At the same time, representatives of the Free Economic Zone will be sent to different countries and potential investors will be invited here from abroad. Also, I am telling our embassies in foreign countries to inform potential investors about the establishment of this zone during their contacts. We have intergovernmental commissions with many countries. I am also telling heads of these commissions to ensure that the Free Economic Zone are represented at the meetings of such commissions and that this issue is on the agenda. I want to say this again because we have such commissions with many countries. But when analyzing the work of these commissions, I see that foreign companies usually try to act more as contractors in Azerbaijan. In other words, they mostly want to make money in Azerbaijan – this is what it means. We do not mind that because we are attracting foreign contractors even to the liberated lands now. But we want foreign investors to invest in Azerbaijan. Public investment has already played its role. We have implemented all major infrastructure projects. Of course, large-scale construction work is now under way on the liberated lands. This will lead to a major economic recovery. But we must understand that without direct foreign investment, our country cannot develop the way we want. Therefore, the intergovernmental commissions with other countries should, first of all, try to attract funds to Azerbaijan from abroad. I think this zone can be of interest to potential investors.

So in one year, in July next year, the zone will be ready to receive investors. I am sure that we will see the pictures shown here being reflected in real life. So far, all our initiatives and plans have been reflected in real life. There has not been a single initiative that was not implemented.

The most difficult projects, transnational projects, the projects we have implemented in a very difficult geopolitical situation have been successfully completed. There is no need to list them because everyone knows what I am talking about. Therefore, I am sure that the establishment of this zone will be yet another step towards our success.

- Mr. President, thank you very much for answering our questions in detail. Thank you!

-Thank you!

Share news on social media

Follow us on social network

VIDEO

President Ilham Aliyev laid foundation stone for Alat Free Economic Zone, was interviewed by Azerbaijan Television VIDEO

Baku hosts opening ceremony of FIG Trampoline Gymnastics and Tumbling World Cup - AG Trophy

Ukraine appoints new ambassador to Azerbaijan

James Webb Space Telescope spots neutron star hiding in supernova wreckage

Khojaly calls for justice!

Mosque in Sweden's capital again targeted by Islamophobes with threatening graffiti

First day of 14th plenary session of Asian Parliamentary Assembly wraps up in Baku

Guinness World Records annuls ‘oldest dog ever’ title for a dead Portuguese canine after an inquiry

Estonia-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Friendship Group issues statement on 32nd anniversary of Khojaly Genocide

Tactical exercise of group of combat and support ships held, Defense Ministry

Moon landing: US clinches first touchdown in 50 years

Canadian latest low-cost airline to cease operation

To His Majesty Naruhito, Emperor of Japan

Community: We demand from N. Pashinyan to stop letting his country be used as a pawn in France's games

FC Qarabag make history by qualifying for UEFA Europa League last 16

Azerbaijan`s Minister of Ecology, Russian Ambassador discuss environmental protection and preparations for COP29

Global oil markets experience price decline

Armenia suspends participation in CSTO — Prime Minister

Azerbaijani oil price continues to rise in global markets

I am delighted by President Ilham Aliyevs` invitation to the OTS summit meeting in Shusha, says President of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

The Order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan on amending Order No. 4264 dated January 13, 2024, “On the establishment of the Organizing Committee regarding the 29th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP29), the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol and the 6th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement”

OpenAI introduces Sora, its text-to-video AI model

Pentagon slashes weapons programs to stay under debt deal

Azerbaijan`s National Day organized at Doha Expo 2023

Azerbaijan`s FM, EU Special Representative for South Caucasus explore Azerbaijan-EU relations

TBMM Speaker: President Ilham Aliyev`s victory in the election is full of promise both for Azerbaijan and Turkic world

Suleyman Alasgarov: pearl of Azerbaijani culture, embodying spirit and legacy of genius composer Uzeyir Hajibayli

2 killed when cargo ship rams bridge in China, sending vehicles into water

OSCE PA’s 23rd winter meeting kicks off in Vienna

Olena Kondratiuk: Even during hardships, Azerbaijan keeps bolstering Ukraine's energy resilience

The Order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan
On appointing S.M.Rzayev as President of Azerbaijan Airlines Closed Joint Stock Company

Azerbaijan`s Gulnar Mammadova triumphs at Swiss Queens Wednesday Tournament

From Hande Harmanci, WHO Representative in Azerbaijan and Head of the Country Office

President Ilham Aliyev signs order to mark centenary of Suleyman Alasgarov

Azerbaijan, Latvia discuss preparatory process for COP29

From Anwar Ibrahim, Prime Minister of Malaysia

® Estonia's Innovative Early Education: Nurturing Young Minds

From Cathrina Claas-Muehlhaeuser, Chairperson of the Supervisory Board of the German Eastern Business Association

Azerbaijan to embark on cooperation with US National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Special Forces units and subunits conduct tactical-special exercise

Chairman of Tajikistan`s Assembly of Representatives describes ensuring Azerbaijan's territorial integrity as vital event

Azerbaijani culture promoted at international festival in Saudi Arabia

Former Barcelona and Juventus star sentenced to 4.5 years in prison

Road accidents kill 1,600 in Afghanistan in 10 months

Bizarre 2,000-year-old bronze hand found covered in mysterious writing

Google introduces new open-source AI models named Gemma

Caspian Event Organisers and Iteca Caspian prepare for new exhibition year

Sahiba Gafarova met with Speaker of the Arab Parliament

Azerbaijan Energy Regulatory Agency and Georgian National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission sign MoU

Global debt climbs to record $313T in 2023

Speaker of Azerbaijan`s Parliament meets with Chairman of Shura Council of Oman

Central Bank: $108 m worth of demand fully covered at FX auction

Türkiye scores ‘critical threshold’ in production of 5th-generation fighter jet: President Erdogan

Numan Kurtulmus: Relations between Asian countries will be further strengthened during Azerbaijan's chairmanship of Asian Parliamentary Assembly

® Students trained with the support of Azercell took home medals

® Birbank Business introduces “Maestro” tariff offering 65% discount

Martyrs' children visit Flight Training Center

Azerbaijani Ombudsperson issues statement on 32nd anniversary of Khojaly Genocide

Azerbaijan, Thailand discuss prospects for interparliamentary cooperation

UNESCO headquarters hosts presentation on Azerbaijani language

‘U.K. is ready to share COP experience with Azerbaijan’

We support Azerbaijan's chairmanship of Asian Parliamentary Assembly, says Secretary General

14th plenary session of Asian Parliamentary Assembly commences in Baku

Chairmanship of Asian Parliamentary Assembly passes from Türkiye to Azerbaijan

To His Majesty Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King of Saudi Arabia

Oil prices surge in global markets

Azerbaijan’s MFA: France’s insidious policy will not yield any results

Azerbaijani oil price continued climb in global markets

Barcelona draw 1-1 with Napoli in Champions League Round of 16

From Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt

Azerbaijan`s Parliament Speaker meets with Speaker of Council of Representatives of Bahrain

‘It is time Julian Assange was brought home,’ reiterates Australian premier

Azerbaijani ambassador presents his credentials to Surinamese President

Helicopter crashes in eastern Indonesia, killing 3

Executive Council meeting of Asian Parliamentary Assembly concludes in Baku

Azerbaijan is perfect location for advancing COP29 negotiations, says Lead Negotiator Yalchin Rafiyev

Igor Grosu: Interparliamentary ties between Moldova and Azerbaijan should be even more strengthened

Azerbaijani President signs order on conscription

ADA University hosts workshop on setting up Azerbaijan Educational Research Association

From Philippe, King of the Belgians

Majority of Azerbaijan's alerts to foreign countries concern potatoes and oranges

300 taken ill after consuming food at religious event in India

From Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh, President of Mongolia

Azerbaijani Para taekwondo fighters claim three medals in Iran

Azerbaijan, US discuss increasing gas supplies to Europe

To the participants of the 27th Eurasian Economic Summit

‘Eight power plants to be commissioned by 2027 to decarbonize Sangachal Terminal’

EU Commission wants anti-drone defenses at Brussels HQ

Bayern Munich head coach Thomas Tuchel to leave club at end of season

Senegal's President Macky Sall bows to pressure on election

World Food Program halts distribution in northern Gaza until safety improves

Baku hosts international conference promoting clean sports

Energy Minister: Share of renewable energy sources in investment capacity will reach 33% in Azerbaijan by 2027

From Jakov Milatović, President of Montenegro

New plant species discovered in SW China

I believe that our cooperation with Azerbaijan would be continuous, says Mohammad Reza Majidi

Istanbul hosts 27th Eurasian Economic Summit

From Let. Gen. Abdel-Fattah Al Burhan Abdelrahman, President of the Transitional Sovereignty Council of the Republic of the Sudan

From Stefano Pontecorvo, Chairman of Leonardo S.p.A of Italy

21 investment projects for BGN 500 mln certified in 9 months in Bulgaria

From Darren W. Woods, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Exxon Mobil Corporation