Azerbaijani, Austrian businessmen meet in Baku

On October 12th more than 260 business people from Azerbaijan and Austria came together in Baku to explore ways of building cooperation in a variety of fields, including agriculture, food industry, construction, consulting, ICT, finance, alternative energy and healthcare. 
The forum, held as part of Austrian President Heinz Fischer`s visit, was organized by the Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Fund (AZPROMO).
The forum was opened by Azeri economic development minister Shahin Mustafayev, who stressed the role of the two presidents` personal relations in developing the bilateral cooperation.
"The fact the presidents of Azerbaijan and Austria have joined our forum increases its importance, creating solid foundations for building relations between our businessmen."
Mustafayev said: "The two countries have a sound legal basis in the economic field. We have signed nearly 20 documents so far, including on investment promotion and protection and mutual elimination of double taxation."
"And an intergovernmental commission which was set up in 1998 is contributing to developing our relations," he added.
The Azeri minister praised the fact it was the second Azerbaijan-Austria business forum in 2011. He hailed the activity of Austrian companies in Azerbaijan, saying their number exceeds 40.
"I want to laud, in particular, the active involvement of Austrian companies in construction of Shahdagh Winter and Summer Olympic Complex and Carpet Museum as well as implementation of other tourism and infrastructure projects."
The minister highlighted Azerbaijan`s economic achievements,
saying the country`s Gross Domestic product tripled between 2004-2010.
"Our strategic reserves saw a 18.4-fold growth in the years between 2004 and 2010, while the poverty level fell 5-fold," Mustafayev noted.
The minister added: "Azerbaijan`s economy has seen 40 billion US dollars in investment so far, with more than half of this coming from foreign sources."
"Last year Azerbaijan topped the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States in the global competitiveness index, ranking 55th among 142 countries on the global scale. Azerbaijan was also ranked first by Forbes among CIS states in terms of favorable business climate."
Mustafayev invited Austrian businessmen to invest in Azerbaijan`s non-oil sector, in particular information and communication technologies, agriculture, tourism, alternative energy, environment and construction.
Austrian federal minister of economy Reinhold Mitterlehner praised the two countries` economic relations.
"Azerbaijan is a successful partner for Austria in the region," he said, adding there were ample opportunities for building cooperation in the fields of infrastructure, urban planning, architecture, renewable energy and healthcare.
Mitterlehner also lauded the activity of Azerbaijani companies in Austria.
Following the speeches by the two ministries Azerbaijan and Austria signed a memorandum of understanding on mutual cooperation.
Azerbaijani and Austrian companies also signed several bilateral accords.



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