Azerbaijan & Turkmenistan Seek To Develop Trade Ties & Transport Corridors

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On last weeks visit to Baku, Turkmen President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev discussed expanding bilateral trade ties. Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan see themselves as key to the East-West trade corridor that has attracted billions of dollars of investment over the past few years and media reported that this issue was also among the issues that they discussed. The trip to Baku was a relatively rare overseas trip for Mr Berdymukhamedov, although he has shown more interest in developing foreign ties to expand Turkmenistan’s gas trade routes.

“We defined priority areas of cooperation, in particular energy, transport, communications, chemical and textile industry, construction, technologies, service sector and etc.,” Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov told a news conference following the meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Berdimuhamedov said Baku and Ashgabat reached agreement to coordinate efforts toward building East-West transport and transit corridors passing through the territories of both countries. “We also agreed to use port infrastructure of both Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea in order to establish automobile-ferry and railway-ferry communication.”

Berdimuhamedov expressed his country’s interest in cooperating with Azerbaijan in energy, chemical, textile industries and the IT sector.

Aliyev said the two countries agreed to increase the volume of cargo transportation. “Given our close and good relations with our neighbors, we will attract more shippers from neighbouring countries to build a new transport corridor that will stretch thousands of kilometers.”

Directly connected with the business sector is the sphere of transport and transit. The joint statement confirms that deepening of the “close cooperation in the field of transport and transit is of key importance in the development of international trade between countries and regions.”

In this context, it underlines the importance of joint Turkmen-Azerbaijani Joint Commission on Transport, Transit and Logistics, the Lapis Lazuli Corridor (Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey), and other transport projects within the Trans-Caspian space. The need for close cooperation between the Turkmenbashy Port and Baku Port is also highlighted in the joint statement. — This is solid reassurance to any countries that may be studying the use of the space of Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan for the transit of their cargo in any direction.

The two countries signed a package of nearly 20 documents during Berdimuhamedov’s one-day official visit, including in the fields of civil aviation, culture, migration, education, protection of environment, and land registry. Trade between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan rose 40% last year in comparison with 2018, linked to the development of the overland Belt & Road Initiative routes between China and Europe.

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