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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

UAE cooperation with Azerbaijan to be enhanced

21/11/2006 Gulf News - by AhmEd A. Elewa - Abu Dhabi: The UAE and the Republic of Azerbaijan signed 11 agreements in the capital yesterday, pertaining to cooperation in the fields of economy, legal, military, health, education and sports. "The trade balance between the two countries is in the vicinity of Dh700 million, and we seek to push that figure further," said Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Economy, before signing two agreements with the Azerbaijani minister of economic development, Haider Babayev. The ministers signed an agreement for encouragement and protection of business and investment, and another for cooperation in the fields of economy and trade. A third agreement was also signed yesterday by the Azerbaijani minister of foreign affairs related to avoiding double taxation. "Azerbaijan is an Islamic country, and it occupies a strategic location in central Asia. It is also a major oil producer. Accordingly, the UAE is capitalising on these factors to further enhance bilateral relations," Shaikha Lubna added, explaining that the trade balance is in favour of the UAE given the huge re-export capabilities the country enjoys. "UAE businessmen will have a better opportunity, as there are no investments in that country so far. However, given the treaties signed today, investments shouild start to flow in-line with the countries policy of estabilishing businesses overseas," she added. "There will be many privileges provided for the UAE businessmen when they invest in Azerbaijan," said Babayev. Shaikha Lubna extended an invitation for Azerbaijan to enter into free trade negotiations with the GCC, explaining that "this is not a free trade arrangement, as the UAE is committed in this respect to its obligations within the GCC." A high profile Azerbaijani delegation is currently visiting the country, headed by the nation's president, to conclude the 11 agreements.

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