China wants to foster close cooperation with Azerbaijan in green energy development and energy storage in the future, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Azerbaijan Guo Min said in an exclusive interview with Trend.
"China takes notice of Azerbaijan's green reforms and commends its commitment to ecologically sustainable development. China stands as one of the pioneer nations actively participating in renewable energy projects within Azerbaijan. Among the initial set of large-scale initiatives in the realm of new energy undertaken by Chinese firms, there is a 230 MW photovoltaic power plant and a 240 MW wind power facility. Remarkably, the photovoltaic plant's construction has been going on for just six months, poised to transform a 5.5 square kilometer area into an enduring source of prosperity. In the immediate future, the integration of the photovoltaic plant into the national power grid promises to positively reshape Azerbaijan's energy landscape," she added.
Guo Min mentioned that concurrently, numerous Chinese companies are actively advancing investment projects in the clean energy sector. These initiatives are poised to deliver not only direct investments and state-of-the-art technologies to Azerbaijan but also bolster employment and expedite industrial growth, the envoy added.
"Furthermore, we are delighted to witness an increasing presence of Chinese vehicles, especially those utilizing alternative energy sources, in the Azerbaijani market, warmly received by local residents. China is committed to sustaining collaboration with Azerbaijan and exploring opportunities for engagement in the realms of green energy and electricity. Looking ahead, we aspire to forge a close partnership in the advancement of green energy, energy storage, peak load reduction, energy transmission and conversion, energy efficiency, emission reduction, and the popularization of alternative energy vehicles, alongside the development of supporting infrastructure, among other areas. Our objective is to catalyze the implementation of more projects and invigorate the joint Chinese-Azerbaijani efforts in the green 'One Belt, One Road' initiative," the ambassador added.
Chinese business in Karabakh
Guo Min noted that at present, several Chinese enterprises are proactively championing investment and construction initiatives for photovoltaic power plants to foster the growth of the local green economy in the liberated territories of Azerbaijan.
She pointed out that Chinese enterprises are closely monitoring the progress of the restoration efforts in the liberated regions.
"Many companies have conducted research through on-site inspections and have actively participated in various projects, including initiatives like smart villages and the provision of testing equipment for airports. Currently, certain enterprises are actively advancing investment and construction projects focused on photovoltaic power plants, aimed at contributing to the development of the local green economy.
Chinese companies are well-informed about the investment promotion measures undertaken by Azerbaijan to bolster infrastructure development in the liberated areas and enhance the overall investment and business environment. Chinese business circles are fully prepared to engage in consultations with the Azerbaijani side regarding specific projects spanning the domains of renewable energy, infrastructure construction, production of building materials, information and communication technologies, and more," added the ambassador.
One Belt, One Road
The joint construction of One Belt, One Road strongly aligns with the concept of the Middle Corridor, Guo Min said.
China is prepared to strengthen transportation cooperation with Azerbaijan as part of joint construction of One Belt, One Road, the envoy added.
She noted that China is eager to facilitate exchanges between relevant departments and businesses of both countries, investigating methods to enhance the efficiency of customs clearance and goods transshipment, addressing various issues related to streamlining and standardizing transit transportation procedures, advancing the digitization of logistics and transportation, reducing transport expenses, and enhancing the operational reliability of China-Europe trains, among other areas.
"China will also attract major enterprises from the country to engage in investment, construction, and management of transport infrastructure projects along the Belt and Road. We will share our development expertise to leverage the complementary strengths of all stakeholders and collectively foster sustainable growth in regional transportation," she added.
The Ambassador underscored China's high regard for the strategic geographical significance of the Middle Corridor, serving as a vital link between Europe and Asia. China also commends its role in enhancing regional connectivity, driving regional economic advancement, and ensuring the stability of global industrial and logistics networks.
"The joint construction of One Belt, One Road strongly aligns with the concept of the Middle Corridor. In the realm of transportation infrastructure, China shares common interests with countries along the One Belt, One Road, including Azerbaijan," added Guo Min.
She pointed out that China is committed to accelerating connectivity, modernizing infrastructure and services along the Trans-Caspian International Transport Corridor.
“This year we celebrate ten years of joint implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative. Since its inception, this initiative has garnered widespread international support, including from Azerbaijan. Today, it has evolved into a global public good and a pivotal platform for international cooperation in the pursuit of sustainable global development.
As part of the joint implementation of the One Belt, One Road Initiative, Azerbaijan and China respect each other, meet each other halfway and achieve fruitful results in cooperation in various fields. Especially in recent years, under the leadership of the heads of the two states, the high-quality joint construction of One Belt, One Road is deeply intertwined with the “Azerbaijan 2030: National priorities for socio-economic development” strategy. This collaboration has given rise to numerous cooperation priorities, spanning fields such as logistics and transportation, sustainable environmental practices, processing and manufacturing, and digitalization. Overall, the degree of pragmatic bilateral cooperation is on a continuous upward trajectory,” she said.
The Ambassador highlighted that the current state of relations between the two countries marks the beginning of a new developmental phase. She emphasized that China is fully prepared to collaborate closely with Azerbaijan, aiming to strengthen strategic mutual trust, enhance policy alignment, and make effective use of cooperation mechanisms like the China-Azerbaijan Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation.
"China s is eager to promote trade and economic cooperation, simplify trade procedures, foster trade liberalization, and stimulate investment cooperation. We are committed to upholding the principles of collaborative discussion, joint construction, and resource sharing. Furthermore, we stand ready to support enterprises from both nations in unlocking the full potential of cooperation in various sectors, including renewable energy production, energy storage, the digital economy, industrial production, agriculture, and more.
In addition to these endeavors, China is dedicated to expediting connectivity improvements, upgrading infrastructure and services along the Trans-Caspian International Transport Corridor, enhancing China-Europe rail freight volumes, and eliminating barriers within regional and international supply chains.
Our commitment extends to strengthening cultural and humanitarian ties, encouraging engagement between businesses, academic institutions, and non-governmental sectors of both countries, and diversifying the social foundations that underpin deepening bilateral cooperation.
As we look toward the future, I have full confidence that both sides will seize this historic opportunity to bolster unity and cooperation, advancing China-Azerbaijan collaboration within the framework of jointly building the Belt and Road. Together, we will achieve tangible outcomes and make new contributions to the prosperity, stability, peace, and well-being of our peoples,” added Guo Min.
The envoy noted that China, in partnership with Azerbaijan, is prepared to explore novel mechanisms and initiatives aimed at broadening the scope of bilateral trade, streamlining trade procedures, and promoting trade liberalization.
"Bilateral trade represents a pivotal aspect of practical cooperation between China and Azerbaijan, demonstrating consistent and positive growth in recent years. According to Azerbaijani statistics, the period from January to July 2023 witnessed bilateral trade with China reaching $1.62 billion, marking a notable increase of 41.1 percent compared to the corresponding period in the previous year.
China continues to hold its position as Azerbaijan's fourth-largest trading partner and stands as the second-largest source of imports. Presently, China primarily exports high-tech products to Azerbaijan, including machinery, electronic equipment, and automobiles, accounting for more than 50 percent of the total exports. These exports have played a constructive role in advancing Azerbaijan's economic and social development, ultimately enhancing the living standards of its citizens.
Furthermore, China actively encourages Azerbaijan to leverage platforms like the China International Import Expo and the China Trade in Services Expo to showcase its high-quality and specialized products. China also extends support to Azerbaijan in establishing national pavilions in China for brand promotion and product sales. Notably, Azerbaijani products such as wine, pomegranate juice, and black tea have been gaining popularity in the Chinese market.
Both countries maintain close communication regarding the access of other types of products to the Chinese market,” said the ambassador.
Guo Min emphasized that China remains committed to offering essential support in advancing the "Made in Azerbaijan" brand.
"In collaboration with our Azerbaijani counterparts, we are prepared to explore innovative approaches and initiatives aimed at expanding the scope of bilateral trade, facilitating trade liberalization, and simplifying trade procedures. As the world's largest consumer market, China extends invitations to Azerbaijani companies to introduce an even wider range of Azerbaijani products to Chinese consumers through avenues such as exhibitions and cross-border e-commerce, among others,” she added.