He made the remarks at the Azerbaijani-Italian business forum July 19 in the Heydar Aliyev Center together with Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
“Dear Mr. President, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,” Ilham Aliyev said. “Once again, dear Mr. President, I cordially welcome you to Azerbaijan. Your visit is very important. During the discussions held during yesterday’s meeting, we once again saw that Italy and Azerbaijan are very close friendly and partner countries.”
"Italy and Azerbaijan are very close friends and partner countries. Our partnership is based on common interests and a shared attitude to international issues. Several years ago, Italy and Azerbaijan officially endorsed their strategic partnerships and adopted a relevant declaration.
Your official visit to Azerbaijan once again proves our strategic relations. Yesterday we had open and candid discussions on many issues. We want the Italian-Azerbaijani relations to continue to grow rapidly and successfully. The visit of the President gives a powerful impetus to the development of the bilateral ties", the Azerbaijani President said.
President Aliyev: Foreign investments protected at high level in Azerbaijan
"The investment climate in Azerbaijan is very good, and foreign investments are protected at a high level within the law", Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said.
The Azerbaijani president noted that there are quite a lot of plans regarding the industrial and economic development of Azerbaijan.
“The process of industrialization is taking place at a very high pace in Azerbaijan,” he said. “Of course, we need very good, reliable, experienced partners. Italian companies are among such partners. That’s because they have long been connected with Azerbaijan, they have very good reputation and the highest technological capabilities.”
Azerbaijan is a very stable country both politically and economically, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said.
Ilham Aliyev said that the overall economic development of Azerbaijan is very positive and successful.
“Regarding the trade turnover, Italy is Azerbaijan’s number one trading partner,” President Ilham Aliyev said. “But we must admit that oil factor is the basis for this. Because Azerbaijan transports most of the oil to Italy, and thus, the trade turnover is estimated in great numbers. However, we want our trade turnover to be multifaceted.”
Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijani gas will take its place in EU space soon
Italian companies should know what our plans are. Our plans are published every year, state investment programs are executed every year, and we have five-year socio-economic development plans. These programs have been being published, executed since 2004. Everything about infrastructure projects on cities, settlements and villages, construction of social facilities, technological development are provided in those programs. I think the business forum will play positive role in getting of this information, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said at Azerbaijan-Italy business forum.
He noted that Azerbaijan’s general economic development is positive and successful: ‘Regarding the trade turnover, Italy is Azerbaijan’s number one trading partner. But we must admit that oil factor is the basis for this. Because Azerbaijan transports bulk of its oil to Italy, and thus, the trade turnover is estimated in great numbers. However, we want our trade turnover to be multifaceted. We want to export non-oil goods to Italy and import goods from Italy. Therefore, we should consider diversification of trade turnover in the future. During past fifteen years, Azerbaijan’s economy grew by 3.2-fold. I think this is record. I think the more important issue is that we have achieved good results in solution of the social problems. Unemployment sharply reduced to 5%. Poverty level fell to 5.4% from 50%. Our external debt makes up 20% of GDP. Azerbaijan’s currency reserves are equal to GDP. All indicators show that macroeconomic situation is positive. The leading international organizations of the world appreciate Azerbaijan’s activity in this field. Azerbaijan ranked at 35th at the Davos World Economic Forum for competitiveness. I think this is a good indicator. According other calculations, Azerbaijan ranked at 26th at the Davos World Economic Forum for development of infrastructure. A number of megaprojects were implemented in the past years and Azerbaijan is the third country among the developing countries for inclusive development index.
As you know, we have carried out energy projects successfully. We connected the Caspian Sea with the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea via oil pipeline. These are historic projects. We have almost recompiled Europe’s energy map. Now, we are carrying out the Southern Gas Corridor successfully. I’d like to give short information about this. Shahdeniz 2 project has been completed. South Caucasus Gas Pipeline (SGC) transports Azerbaijani gas to Georgia, TANAP and TAP. Three of these projects have already been realized. SGC was officially launched in Baku in May, TANAP in Turkey in June. This megaproject connects several countries and companies. This project is about to complete and three of four projects have been completed. Thus, Azerbaijani gas will take its place in EU space’.
Head of state also spoke about the transport: ‘We don’t have access to open seas. However, we create international transport and logistics center in Azerbaijan. For this purpose, six international airports were constructed in Azerbaijan in fifteen years. Railway lines are being repaired inside the country. The largest sea port in the Caspian basin was launched in Baku in May. Its current transportation capacity is 15 million tonnes, but will be 25 million tonnes in the future. During past 15 years, 15,000 km highways were constructed. In October 2017 Baku-Tbilisi-Kars, which connects Azerbaijan with Turkey, was launched. So, the shortest route from Asia to Europe passes through Azerbaijan. Cargo transportation from Asia to Europe via this route takes two weeks. We see that freightage via this route increases day-by-day and it will be very reliable transport vein‘.
Moreover, Azerbaijan is an active member of North-South transport corridor. We make a large amount of investments in this field too. This corridor is in use now. Necessary infrastructure is created in Azerbaijan.
This infrastructure allows making more investments in Azerbaijan. Because there are all oil and gas pipelines for investments to be made in oil and gas sector. Transport opportunities are wide for industrial investments. I should also note that Azerbaijan has the largest merchant marine fleet in the Caspian basin and good investment climate. More than 200 vessels carry load in the Caspian waters. Azerbaijan is a very stable country both politically and economically. Therefore, I think that Azerbaijan is a favorable country for capital investment.