(MENAFN - AzerNews) By Aygul Salmanova
The Embassy of the Republic of Belarus hosted a press conference dedicated to the results of cooperation between Belarus and Azerbaijan in 2017 and prospects for development in 2018 on December 28.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Azerbaijan Gennady Akhramovich gave detailed information on bilateral relations between the two countries.
The year 2017 can be assessed as quite successful for the development of relations between Azerbaijan and Belarus, according to ambassador.
Next year will mark the 25th anniversary of cooperation between the two countries, said Akhramovich, noting that the two sides will continue working on intensification of comprehensive relations, in particular on the development of trade and economic ties.
The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Belarus is expected to reach $150 million until the end of 2017, he noted, reminding that for ten months of this year, the trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $119 million, which is 15 percent more than in the same period last year.
The ambassador noted that in 2018, trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Belarus will grow significantly as a result of implementation of a number of economic projects.
'Trade between the two countries is multifaceted, he said. 'In particular, products of machine engineering, food, woodworking and pharmaceutical industries are supplied to Azerbaijan. This is while Belarus, in turn, actively imports products of petrochemical industry, aluminum for engineering, food products and alcoholic beverages from Azerbaijan. The first foreign trading house of Azerbaijan was opened in Belarus.
He noted that in the outgoing year 2017, representatives of Belarus had carried out about 40 official visits to Azerbaijan, which indicated the intensity of bilateral relations.
Belarus will expand its network of branded national product stores in the regions of Azerbaijan in 2018, according to the ambassador.
The ambassador stressed that Minsk is ready to cooperate with SOCAR, State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, on the issue of opening petrol stations under the SOCAR brand in Belarus. The two countries intend to work out the issue of opening a network of filling stations of Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR in Belarus.
'This issue will be actively examined with the Azerbaijani side. We are open to this cooperation and are ready to discuss this issue. In my opinion, if SOCAR shows interest, this issue can be resolved, he said.
He also mentioned that Belarus is interested in utilization of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.
JointAzerbaijan-Belarus tractor assembly plant will be opened in Turkey in the third or the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2018, according to the ambassador,
'Our cooperation withGanja Automobile Plant has been going on for 13 years. In the framework of cooperation, more than 10,000 tractors and over 4,000 trucks and special-purpose products were assembled. In 2018, we plan to implement a very ambitious project - to create in Turkey a joint enterprise with the Ganja Automobile Plant to assemble Belarus equipment, said Ahramovich.
Touching upon the pharmaceutical sphere, Ahramovich said that negotiations are underway to establish a pharmaceutical enterprise for the production of medicines in Azerbaijan in the coming years. The first agreement between the parties are planned to be signed in early 2018, he said.
He noted that Belarus demonstrates good results in providing itself with medicines, importing only 15 percent of the total volume of pharmaceuticals consumed.
'We are at the finish line for the creation of a pharmaceutical enterprise of Belarus on the territory of Azerbaijan, he said. 'We plan to sign the documents on the establishment of the enterprise early next year, and start construction of the enterprise from the second half of the year. Similar enterprises are built approximately within 2 years.
The ambassador said that the exact list of drugs is still on the discussion between the parties. However, it is mainly about the production of the most advanced antitumor drugs.
Commenting on the question of financing the project, Ahramovich noted that it is also still to be discussed. It is likely that the project will be financed by both sides, but Belarus is also ready to fully finance it.
'The products produced at the plant must fully comply with international standards in order to continue to have access to the markets of third countries. In early 2018, it is planned to sign the first agreements with a view to determining the intentions and interests of the Azerbaijani and Belarusian sides. From the second half of the year it is expected to start the work on the establishment of the enterprise, he said.
Ahramovich noted that Belarus has much to learn from Azerbaijan in terms of tourism, saying that they see how high the flow of tourists in Azerbaijan is and will try to realize this experience in the interests of Belarus.
Commenting on the issue of cooperation in the science sphere, the ambassador noted that a program of scientific cooperation for 2017-2018 had been signed between the countries.
'Several dozen projects have already been selected, interaction between scientific structures of both countries will be organized. With the support of the two states, fundamental applied research will be carried out. I think the necessary result will be obtained, which will contribute to the development of the economy of the two countries.
Touching upon the cooperation in the field of sports, the ambassador reminded that in 2019 the second European games that had first been organized in Azerbaijan will be held in Belarus.
'The Azerbaijani experience is invaluable, we are trying to transfer it to the Belarusian land so that the competitions are held in an atmosphere of complacency and hospitality, in comfort.
Ahramovich noted that in the first half of next year, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will pay a visit to Belarus.
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