Vol. 6, No. 13 (July 01, 2013)

Azerbaijan’s trade with Asian countries expands

Paul Goble
Publications Advisor
Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy

Since 1992, Azerbaijan’s trade with China has increased by a factor of 600 times to more than a billion US dollars a year, according to Beijing’s ambassador in Baku, a development that reflects a more general rise in trade between Azerbaijan and the countries of Asia and one that is likely to have geopolitical consequences as well.

Speaking at the Presidential Center for Strategic Research in Baku on June 13, Ambassador Hong Tsyuinem noted that, “if in 1992, trade between the two countries amounted to 1.5 million dollars, in 2011, it reached 1.086 billion dollars, 16.5 percent more compared to 2009 and 600 times the amount 21 years earlier.”

Such trade, the ambassador continued, has contributed to “an unprecedented level of mutual political trust and respect.”  As a result, “there are no unresolved issues” between China and Azerbaijan, and “both countries support one another on the issues of sovereignty and territorial integrity.”  And China expects this relationship to develop further.

Chinese companies have begun to make major investments in Azerbaijan amounting to 700 million US dollars, Hong Tsyuinem said, and there are now 15 Azerbaijani companies operating in China, a number that the ambassador said he expects to see increase over the next few years. [1] 

Azerbaijan’s economic and political relations with China and other countries in Asia have attracted less attention than its ties with Europe and the former Soviet republics, but they are large and increasingly important.  In 2011, according to Azerbaijan’s state statistical committee, total foreign trade turnover with Asian countries amounted to 8.2 billion US dollars, some 22.6 percent of the country’s total trade.  Although that share was only a third of Azerbaijan’s trade with Europe, it was three times that of Baku’s turnover with the Americas and vastly more than its trade with Africa or Oceania. [2] 

Although Azerbaijan exported more to Asian countries than it imported from them, 5 billion US dollars as opposed to almost 3.2 billion US dollars, Asian countries were responsible for almost a third (32.6 percent) of Azerbaijan’s imports, while Azerbaijan’s exports to the countries on that continent formed less than a fifth (18.6 percent) of the country’s total exports.

Azerbaijan’s most important trading partners in Asia in 2011 were Indonesia, with almost a billion US dollars in turnover, China with roughly the same, Korea with a total of 650 million US dollars in trade, Thailand with 150 million, and Taiwan 30 million.  It also had trade with most of the other countries in the region.

In support of this trade and in recognition of Asia’s growing importance politically as well as economically, Baku has opened embassies in China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam and has active exchanges of officials, parliamentarians, and students with these countries and others in which it has not yet established an embassy.


[1] See http://news.day.az/economy/408365.html (accessed 30 June 2013).

[2] See http://azstat.org/publications/azfigures/2012/en/018en.shtml (accessed 30 June 2013).