The fourth session of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission between the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on economic cooperation was held in Baku.
Representatives of the relevant agencies from both countries participated at the online meeting chaired by Minister of Energy Parviz Shahbazov and Parliamentary representative Under Secretary of State and Minister for Exports Graham Stuart.
Work done since the third session of the Intergovernmental Commission were reviewed, existing cooperation and opportunities for developing the relations between Azerbaijan and the UK in the fields of energy, renewable energy and energy efficiency, economy, agriculture, transport, communications, environment, education, health, tourism, culture, and other fields were discussed in the meeting.
It was noted that economic and trade cooperation between the two countries is developing successfully, as in the political sphere. Also, high-level mutual visits, signed documents, and projects played a crucial role in the development of multilateral economic relations. In this aspect, the importance of visits of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev to the United Kingdom in April 2018, as well as high-level government representatives of Great Britain to Azerbaijan was emphasized. The trade turnover between the two countries increased by 34% in 2019 and amounted to 704.6 million USD. This indicator decreased by 35% due to the negative effects of the pandemic last year, but this year there is an increase in this indicator. In particular, in the first quarter of this year, the trade turnover increased by 2.5 times compared to the same period last year and amounted to 162.2 million USD.
Co-chair of the Intergovernmental Commission, Minister of Energy Parviz Shahbazov said that 30 years of successful cooperation between Azerbaijan and the United Kingdom in the oil and gas sector entered a new stage of development in line with the challenges of the global energy sector: “Energy sector accounts for 28.8 billion USD out of 30.6 billion USD of the United Kingdom's investments to Azerbaijan`s economy. The strategic decision encouraging the development of renewable energy and green technologies and the resolution of tasks assigned by the President, the realization of the national priority of the “Clean environment and Green Growth country” approved by the relevant Order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev in the next decade open new opportunities for diversification of energy cooperation. Decarbonization of integrated energy and transport systems, renewable energy, energy efficiency, transition to the liberal energy market, and our cooperation on electricity networks will contribute not only to the relations between the two countries but also to the energy transition process.”
Parliamentary representative Under Secretary of State and Minister for Exports Graham Stuart expressed his country's support for the development of existing relations between Azerbaijan and the UK in new directions: “The UK has the world-class capabilities and expertise required to help lead the charge towards a cleaner, greener global recovery - from offshore wind to smart energy systems, sustainable construction to precision agriculture and from green finance to electric vehicle manufacturing. Hopefully, this, coupled with the government’s ambition to liberalize its energy market, reform enterprises will make Azerbaijan an even more attractive place to invest and do business. Going forward, I hope even more UK firms can support the process of rebuilding infrastructure across your beautiful nation and become an even more crucial partner in helping to unleash even more of Azerbaijan’s huge economic potential.”
At the meeting, discussions were held on the development of the energy sector, investment climate, opportunities for SMEs, needs-based future planning in education, assessment of bilateral educational activities of both countries, an overview of Azerbaijan’s plans in smart cities/ application of artificial intelligence/ digital transformation of Azerbaijan and UK experience in this field, digital healthcare, reforms in the financial sector, as well as creative economy and creative education, and presentations were made.
Within the framework of the event, the “Memorandum of Understanding on Clean Energy Transition” was signed between the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Ministry of International Trade of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The document aims to strengthen cooperation between the two countries on energy issues and explore opportunities for solving the climate change problem. Within the Memorandum, cooperation, exchange of information and experience will be held in the fields of renewable energy, energy efficiency, low-carbon technologies, transition to the liberal energy market, and electricity networks.
At the same time, the e-Government Development Center under the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government Digital Service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland signed the Protocol of Intent in the field of digital government at the event.
The protocol on the outcomes of the fourth session of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission between the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on economic cooperation was signed. It was agreed to hold the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Commission in London in 2022.