The Azerbaijan-Belgium Business Forum was held in Baku on April 30 as part of the visit of Pieter De Crem, the Belgian secretary of state for foreign trade in the country.
Co-organized by Azpromo and the Azerbaijan Economy and Industry Ministry the event brought together some 40 Belgian companies engaged in various economic sectors in the country.
Addressing the event, Sahil Babayev, the deputy of economy and industry minister said it is necessary to enhance cooperation in investment, industry, agriculture and other non-oil fields in between the two countries.
Cooperation with Belgium, one of the most developed European countries will be a huge benefit for Azerbaijani businessmen, he noted.
Business forums as well as bilateral meetings in between the two sides and companies are a great opportunity for expanding business relations, according to him.
Babayev further noted that Azerbaijan is cooperating with several European countries and more than 50 percent of investments come from Europe, including Belgium.
Last year the trade turnover in between the two countries increased by 30 percent, and by 66 percent for the first quarter of 2015, Babayev said.
Underlining the rapidly developing relationship, the deputy minister noted that this is the fifth joint event in between the states in only two years.
Some seven agreements have been signed in between the two countries. Three of them are related to the economic field, he said, adding that these agreements will play a big role for further ties in between the two sides.
During the Baku visit, De Crem also held a meeting with Rovnag Abdullayev, the president of Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR.
Abdullayev provided an insight into the activity of SOCAR, as well as the importance of the projects, saying the Southern Gas Corridor had an important place in ensuring the energy security of Europe.
DeCrem, for his part, said he was aware of the activity of SOCAR, and highlighted the activity of Belgian companies.
Representatives of Belgian companies said they were interested in developing cooperation with Azerbaijan in various field, especially in the energy sphere.
Belgium recognized the independence of Azerbaijan in 1991, according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry. The diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1992. Azerbaijan opened its embassy in Belgium in 1995 and the Belgian Embassy in Azerbaijan was opened in 2007.
The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Belgium amounted to about 61.3 million manats in 2013 and 60.2 million manats in 2012, Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee said.