Azerbaijan made its first pitch at the 2019 China International Fair for Trade in Services from May 28 to June 1 to attract new collaborators, said the envoy and trade representative of the Azerbaijan embassy in China, Teymur Nadiroghlu.
"At a 50-square-meter booth, we promoted Azerbaijan's investment opportunities, business environment, transit logistics and tourism potential alongside the best food, agricultural products, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages under the 'Made in Azerbaijan' brand," Nadiroghlu said.
Azerbaijan is a country with a long history and rich natural resources. For years, it has exported petroleum to China, fostering a solid relationship between the two countries.
The Eurasian nation has supported the Belt and Road Initiative since the beginning and played a key role on the New Silk Road, Nadiroghlu said. "It has attended many high-level forums and conferences to do business and organized mutual visits to enhance cultural exchanges. It is taking advantage of many platforms that China provides."
To become more competitive in attracting foreign direct investment to boost the real economy, Azerbaijan is working to encourage foreign investors to set up branches in its industrial and technological parks and offer them zero tax on profits, property and land for seven years.
"No value-added taxes nor customs duties are imposed on imports of machinery and technological equipment," Nadiroghlu said.
"Entrepreneurs with an investment promotion document can set up their business outside the parks while enjoy the same benefits of a 50-percent profit tax reduction.
"There is also a free trade zone which started operation this year to become the most important trading and manufacturing hub in the region," he added.
In February, the State Tourism Agency of Azerbaijan and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China signed a memorandum of understanding on simplifying group visits of Chinese tourists to Azerbaijan. It features a series of preferential policies for Chinese visitors.
According to the memorandum, the State Tourism Agency of Azerbaijan will launch a hotline for Chinese tourists and China's leading card payment, UnionPay, will be widely accepted.
"Now it is very easy for Chinese citizens to travel to Azerbaijan, since there is a direct flight from Beijing to Baku," Nadiroghlu said. "We received 15,000 Chinese visitors last year and we hope the number will rise.
"It is also very easy for Chinese citizens to get an Azerbaijani visa. You can apply online and receive it within 72 hours or get it upon arrival at Baku Heydar Aliyev Airport."
Wine, which Azerbaijan takes pride in and regards as a window into its culture, can now be seen on the shelves of some premium supermarkets in China.
According to Nadiroghlu, there are Azerbaijani wine houses in Shanghai and Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in Northwest China, and one wine promotion center in Beijing. These wines are available on Chinese online wine retailers too.