Azerbaijan hoping to attract more Chinese investors amid closer economic relations

Azerbaijani people gather to celebrate Nowruz in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, March 19, 2023.(Photo: Xinhua)

Azerbaijani people gather to celebrate Nowruz in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, March 19, 2023.(Photo: Xinhua)


Azerbaijan hopes to attract more Chinese investors as the country is pursuing sustainable development and green transformation, as well as greater transport connectivity and other economic goals under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), officials from Azerbaijan said at the Azerbaijan Investment and Trade Promotion Conference held at the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Beijing on Tuesday.

Over a hundred representatives from relevant departments, enterprises, and industry groups from both China and Azerbaijan attended Tuesday’s promotional event, focusing on areas including mining, agriculture, tourism, logistics and transportation, showing the diverse bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Speaking at the event, the Ambassador of Azerbaijan to China Bunyad Huseynov said that Azerbaijan is China’s biggest trading partner in the South Caucasus and his country attaches great importance to the expansion of economic and trade relations with China. 

The two countries are diversifying economic cooperation to various sectors including transport and logistics, agriculture, and other areas. “China’s advanced experience and technologies in the field of alternative energy are of particular interest to our country,” the ambassador said.

Azerbaijan was one of the first countries to support the BRI, which has become a key driver of economic and trade development not just with China but beyond. This joint initiative is not only an economic and communication project, but also stimulates the global economy by expanding relations between peoples, improving infrastructure, deepening trade relations, and strengthening transport and infrastructure projects, the ambassador said at the event.

Azerbaijan, located at the vibrant crossroads of Europe and Asia, offers numerous investment opportunities across various sectors, Zohrab Gadirov, deputy executive director of the Export and Investment Promotion Agency of Azerbaijan (AZPROMO), said at the event. More Chinese enterprises are welcome to invest in Azerbaijan for a win-win outcome, Gadirov said.

During his trip to China, Gadirov is hoping to build closer ties with Chinese businesses, as they are becoming increasingly important in the country’s economic development.

According to data from Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee, China-Azerbaijan bilateral trade reached $3.1 billion in 2023, a year-on-year increase of 43.5 percent, with both imports and exports seeing double-digit growth. China remained Azerbaijan’s fourth largest trading partner. 

China also became Azerbaijan’s second-largest source of imports for the first time, ahead of Turkey, and accounting for 17.5 percent of the country’s total imports. 

In addition to the surging demand for goods between China and Azerbaijan, the country’s strategic geographical location also positions it as a critical transportation hub for the China-Europe freight train. The demand for the cargo train has seen a significant increase thanks to its competitive advantages as a reliable transportation tool, particularly following the Red Sea crisis, which resulted in a substantial extension of transportation time and costs for sea voyages.

Azerbaijan plays a crucial role in the trans-Caspian international transportation corridor, serving as a dynamic new market at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. It’s not only a vital node in the BRI but also a significant gateway for Chinese enterprises to access the markets of the Caucasus and the EU, said He Zhenwei, head of the China Overseas Development Association.

Since the beginning of this year, China has been the largest source of imports for Azerbaijan for two consecutive months, reflecting strong development momentum, according to He.

There is still room for further growth in trade between the two countries, He said.