Saudi-Azerbaijan Joint Commission seeks to bolster bilateral links

Updated 15 December 2015
0

Saudi-Azerbaijan Joint Commission seeks to bolster bilateral links

RIYADH: The fourth meeting of the joint commission between the Kingdom and Azerbaijan held here on Tuesday sought to bolster bilateral cooperation when delegations from both sides exchanged views and information on the current economic situation in respective countries and reviewed the current status of cooperation.
Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) Gov. Abdullatif Al-Othman, who represented the Saudi side at the joint commission, and Shahin Mustafayev, Azerbaijan’s minister of economy and industry, jointly chaired the session during which the two sides explored strategies to deepen the economic and commercial relationship between the two countries. They noted the religious, cultural and intellectual histories shared by both the countries.
Speaking at the joint commission meeting, Al-Othman said: “I am very pleased to welcome our friends from Azerbaijan as our two countries continue to expand our cooperation in a number of areas, including trade and investment."
He pointed that the input from the private sector and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has given a road-map for increasing the bilateral commercial activity.
"I believe the determination shown from both sides to implement these recommendations heralds a closer and mutually beneficial future for both Azerbaijan and the Kingdom,” he noted.
In an exclusive talk with Arab News, the SAGIA governor said that the meeting was very positive and both sides agreed on the need to increase the volume of bilateral trade exchanges in terms of quantity as well as quality, and work for better coordination in order to facilitate the procedure for the entry of goods and products.
He said: "A very high representation from Azerbaijan came for the joint commission meeting where we discussed specific action plans and key issues of mutual benefits to further bolster cooperation. There is a need for us to take advantage of what our economies offer."
He added: "There are opportunities for us to collaborate in petrochemicals, agriculture, tourism, education, health care and culture. We have a historic relationship with Azerbaijan and the entire central Asian countries," he maintained.
In a reply, he said the joint business council is one of the specific plans in the agenda.
Addressing the joint session, Mustafayev said: “I am very pleased to co-chair this year’s joint committee focused on increasing bilateral exports, strengthening investment channels and removing barriers to further enhance cooperation that help in the creation of a joint working group on oil, gas and mining and enhance joint investments."
He added that the session will build upon the work of the last meeting of the committee where “we made progress on eliminating double taxation and improved the linkages for bilateral investment. Despite starting at a low level, commercial exchanges between our countries have been on the rise, reaching almost $ 400 million to date invested in Azerbaijan by Saudi enterprises. We look forward to strengthening this relationship to build more bridges between the countries of the Islamic world,” he underlined.
Notably, the two sides at this 4th joint commission agreed to organize mutual business forums, exchange of information on exhibitions, conferences and business events in both countries and invite each business community from both the countries in order to help expand trade relations, increase the volume of trade, increase visits between businessmen from the two countries and explore the feasibility and benefits of establishing a Saudi-Azerbaijan joint business council.
Moreover, the two sides noted the importance of the current cooperation level between the security organs of the two countries and agreed on organizing mutual business visits of the heads of the services, and reviewing matters for ensuring security of the big economic projects to be held in the region and international events of OIC countries.
Furthermore, the Saudi Fund for Development (SDF) would like to extend cooperation between Saudi export program and the central bank of Azerbaijani federation for exchange, information and access to credit reports for Azerbaijani banks and companies and with Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce to introduce the financing facilities provided by the Saudi export program in order to achieve the contribution toward bilateral trade development.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the SAGIA governor and the visiting minister signed the minutes of the joint commission meeting.


For Iranians, economic crisis looms larger than US tensions

Updated 19 May 2019
0

For Iranians, economic crisis looms larger than US tensions

  • Iran’s 80 million people struggle to buy meat, medicine and other staples of daily life
  • Many pointed to the economy, not the possible outbreak of war

TEHRAN: Across Iran’s capital, the talk always seems to come back to how things may get worse.
Battered by US sanctions and its depreciating rial currency, Iran’s 80 million people struggle to buy meat, medicine and other staples of daily life.
Many pointed to the economy, not the possible outbreak of war, as Iran’s major concern. Iran’s rial currency traded at 32,000 to $1 at the time of the 2015 nuclear deal. Now it is at 148,000, and many have seen their life’s savings wiped out.
Nationwide, the unemployment rate is 12 percent. For youth it’s even worse, with a quarter of all young people unemployed, according to Iran’s statistic center.
“The economic situation is very bad, very bad. Unemployment is very high, and those who had jobs have lost theirs,” said Sadeghi, the housewife. “Young people can’t find good jobs, or get married, or become independent.”
Sores Maleki, a 62-year-old retired accountant, said talks with the US to loosen sanctions would help jumpstart Iran’s economy.
“We should go and talk to America with courage and strength. We are able to do that, others have done it,” Maleki said. “We can make concessions and win concessions. We have no other choice.”
But such negotiations will be difficult, said Reza Forghani, a 51-year-old civil servant. He said Iran needed to get the US to “sign a very firm contract that they can’t escape and have to honor.” Otherwise, Iran should drop out of the nuclear deal.
“When someone refuses to keep promises and commitments, you can tolerate it a couple of times, but then certainly you can’t remain committed forever. You will react,” Forghani said. “So I don’t think we should remain committed to the deal until the end.”
Yet for Iran’s youth, many of whom celebrated the signing of the 2015 nuclear deal in the streets, the situation now feels more akin to a funeral. Many openly discuss their options to obtain a visa — any visa — to get abroad.
“Young people have a lot of stress and the future is unknown,” said Hamedzadeh, the 20-year-old civil servant. “The future is so unknown that you can’t plan. The only thing they can do is to somehow leave Iran and build a life abroad.”