The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan must increase, Azerbaijani Economic Development Minister Shahin Mustafayev said at the Azerbaijani-Uzbek Business Forum on Thursday.
"The trade turnover between the two countries increased in 2011 two fold," he said. "Nevertheless, both sides have great potential for further growth. Current figures do not reflect the full potential of the two countries' economies. The level of economic relations must be brought to the level of political relations."
He said that at present, an effective legal framework has been created for the development of bilateral relations in all areas. Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan have signed more than 100 documents.
"We would like to highlight an agreement on the promotion and protection of mutual investments and avoidance of double taxation," Mustafayev said. "The two countries have a free trade regime. Azerbaijani companies are successfully operating in Uzbekistan in trade, construction, chemical industry and agriculture."
Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister Ulugbek Rozukulov, leading a delegation of Uzbek businessmen, said that relations with Azerbaijan are developing in terms of mutual trust and a reliable partnership.
"Uzbekistan is interested in large scale expansion and intensifying bilateral relations with Azerbaijan," Rozukulov said. "The purpose of the visit and the meeting is to strengthen relations between the economic entities of the two countries. I hope that Azerbaijani and Uzbek entrepreneurs will determine new areas of cooperation and agree on concrete projects."
Uzbek businessmen, operating in the fields of agriculture, heavy industry, textiles, building materials, agricultural machinery and other sectors are attending the forum.
The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan in 2011 amounted to $72.44 million, with $50.5 million falling to imports.