22.01.2008 Estonia Supports Azerbaijan’s WTO Aspirations

22. jaanuar 2008

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet met with Azerbaijani Minister of Economic Development Heydar Babayev on Tuesday, 22 January. Minister Babayev is in Estonia for the Azerbaijani business forum taking place in Tallinn.

At the meeting, the two discussed economic relations between the two nations, as well as future cooperation opportunities. Minister Babayev noted that the areas of particular interest to Azerbaijani businessmen are construction, oil processing, and infrastructure.

According to Foreign Minister Paet, Estonian businessmen in turn are interested in Azerbaijan’s real estate, food industry and information technology. Estonia is also prepared to share its experiences with developing e-services, and to offer training to Azerbaijani officials on the subject. “Successful implementation of internet-based services has a positive impact on the entire economic environment,” said the foreign minister. “A good example is the e-Tax Board, which greatly simplifies communication between people and the state.”

The ministers also spoke about Azerbaijan joining the WTO, which is a top priority for the country. Foreign Minister Paet confirmed that Estonia supports Azerbaijan’s aspirations to join the WTO, and he expressed the hope that Azerbaijan would become a member of the organisation as soon as possible.

Azerbaijan has been a part of the European Neighbourhood Policy since 2004. A five-year action plan was approved in 2006, which holds as priorities the strengthening of democracy, legal order and the protection of fundamental freedoms, as well as improving the business and investment climate. That same year, the EU and Azerbaijan signed a memorandum of understanding, which created a foundation for cooperation in the field of energy. The memorandum is a major step in strengthening the EU’s energy-related ties with Baku.

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