Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov met with Angelino Alfano, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Italian Republic. At the meeting, ministers noted that 25 years’ anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Italy is celebrated this year and they jointly expressed their satisfaction on development of comprehensive cooperation in all the fields in those years.
Characterizing Azerbaijan as a critical and reliable partner and calling relations with Azerbaijan strategic, Minister Angelino Alfano talked about the high level of political dialogue between the two countries. Furthermore, A.Alfano mentioned the importance of relations in the field of energy and significance of TAP project. Adding that there is a wide range of opportunities in deepening economic relations along other sectors.
E.Mammadyarov briefed his counterpart about the current status of Azerbaijan-European Union cooperation and negotiation process on strategic partnership agreement. Elmar Mammadyarov touched upon the negotiations process on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and stated the importance of expressing EU's commitment to the principles of territorial integrity, sovereignty, independence and inviolability of borders of states in a common and unambiguous manner in respect of all conflicts.
Mammadyarov earlier in the day met with Italy’s Minister of Economic Development Carlo Calenda. Calenda said that his country intends to take serious steps for development of cooperation with Azerbaijan in non-oil sector. Azerbaijan is an important economic partner of Italy, Italian companies operate successfully in Azerbaijan, particularly, in the energy sector, and it is necessary to take serious steps in order to continue this cooperation, said Calenda.
The two ministers expressed satisfaction with the level of bilateral relations both in political and economic spheres, and noted the importance of continuing the efforts to further strengthen the ties.
Calenda and Mammadyarov also noted the importance of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) for Italy in terms of providing additional gas volumes. The two ministers also exchanged views on transnational transport corridors.
In 2016, the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Italy amounted to $1.89 billion decreasing by 33.5 percent as compared to 2015. Italy, which has been ranking first among major trade partners of Azerbaijan during eight years, was the third in late 2016.
During the previous year, Azerbaijan exported goods worth $1.56 billion to Italy that accounted for 17.06 percent of Azerbaijan’s total export volume. Import from Italy totaled $332.19 million decreasing by 43.5 percent as compared to 2015.
However, in early 2017, Italy again became the leader among Azerbaijan’s trade partners. According to Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee, the two countries’ trade turnover amounted to $461.5 million in January-March 2017, increasing by 41.4 percent as compared to the 1Q2016.