Despite the diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan being established in 1995, the history of cultural relations between Uzbeks and Azerbaijanis goes back to hundreds of years ago. Based on this, the Azerbaijani and Uzbek governments are determined to further deepen the economic relations. The reciprocal visit of the heads of state, and the officials of the two countries are the foretoken of this policy. Thus, last week, the representatives of dozens of pharmaceutical copies in Uzbekistan visited Azerbaijan for probing the investment opportunity, and on August 21, 2023, SOCAR signed an agreement with Uzbekneftegaz. On 22, 2023 the President of Uzbekistan paid a visit to Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan have great potential in terms of economic relations and trade relations, told the economist Natig Jafarly in a comment for Azernews. However, he noted with regret that the two countries cannot fully benefit from this potential.
“Economic relations and trade relations between Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan have a great perspective, but unfortunately, these relations are still not at the desired level. Take the latest figures for example: in the first 7 months of this year, products worth $26.6m were exported from Azerbaijan to Uzbekistan, and imports from Uzbekistan to Azerbaijan amounted to $65m. In other words, we bought goods worth $65m and sold goods worth $25m. This makes a trade turnover of about $90m. Keeping the economic prospects between Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan in mind, this is a very small indicator. We should note that Uzbekistan is the largest country in Central Asia in terms of population. Therefore, there are opportunities for large-scale trade between the two countries,” he said.
Natig Jafarly is very optimistic about the visit of the Uzbek President to Azerbaijan. He said that some documents could be signed for expanding the relationship. “Probably, after the visit of the President of Uzbekistan to Azerbaijan, some works will be done on the expansion of relations and some preliminary documents will be signed. As a result, conditions for increasing mutual trade turnover and investments will be improved.
Obviously, about 200 Azerbaijani companies operate in Uzbekistan. However, Uzbek companies are very little represented in Azerbaijan. Increasing mutual representation, and strengthening economic relations is possible and, as I said earlier, its potential is extremely large,” Natig Jafarly said. The economist also touched on the logistic as well. He noted that this could serve as a profitable logistic route between Europe and Uzbekistan. He added that the economic relationship between the two countries should not be limited to the energy sector. Natig Jafarly emphasized that the diapason of economic cooperation is very big and it expands from tourism to Agriculture.
“When talking about economic relations between Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan, we should not forget logistics. Given that Azerbaijan will become the logistics center of the region in the future, Uzbekistan’s access to Europe can be via Azerbaijan. There are prospects for expanding relations such as the export of Uzbek products to Europe, delivery of European products to Uzbekistan, and transit cargo transportation. Therefore, this visit is very important. I think Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan have great potential not only in the energy sector but also in agriculture, tourism, logistics, and in many other business spheres. It is possible to use these prospects with sufficient quality,” Jafarly added.