A meeting between the officials of the State Customs Committee and the representatives of the British Business Group in Azerbaijan was held on June 16.
The meeting was attended by chairman of the State Customs Committee, customs service Colonel-General Safar Mehdiyev, deputy chairmen of the Committee, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Azerbaijan James Lyall Sharp, chair of the British Business Group in Azerbaijan John Patterson and businesspeople from this country.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Kingdom to Azerbaijan James Lyall Sharp expressed satisfaction with the meeting, spoke about the cooperation between the two countries, mutual relations between customs bodies, exchange of experience on ensuring border security.
Ambassador said the State Customs Committee was playing a special role in the development of Azerbaijan's economy, improvement of people's welfare, fight against drug trafficking, their smuggling to Europe. Highly appreciating the discussions on customs issues held with the UK businesspeople in Azerbaijan, the diplomat described the meeting as a new level of cooperation.
Emphasizing that the British companies had made a significant contribution to the foreign investment in Azerbaijan's economy, especially in the oil and gas industry, the ambassador said that Azerbaijani companies were also investing in the non-oil sector as part of the steps taken by the Azerbaijani government to diversify the economy.
James Lyle Sharp said that in accordance with the promotion policy pursued by the Azerbaijani government, the UK companies were also involved in the restoration work in the liberated territories, and expressed hope that the existing opportunities would be used effectively to deepen the cooperation.
Noting that the reforms carried out in Azerbaijan in all areas, including the customs system over the recent years played an important role in supporting business, ensuring transparency, eliminating corruption, the innovations had upgraded Azerbaijan's rating, the ambassador said that this data was also highlighted in the studies conducted by the European Union, the United Kingdom and a number of international organizations.
James Lyle Sharp expressed hope that the meeting between the business people and customs bodies would contribute to productive relations.
Addressing the meeting, chairman of the State Customs Committee Safar Mehdiyev spoke about the productive cooperation between the two countries, said the British businesspeople working in Azerbaijan had also contributed to strengthening and deepening the relations.
Speaking about the progressive reforms carried out by President Ilham Aliyev in all spheres, including customs system over the recent years, Safar Mehdiyev said thanks to the innovations, the personnel capacity of customs bodies had strengthened, more modern and flexible structure had been formed, significant achievements had been gained in terms of eliminating the "shadow economy", ensuring transparency.
It was noted that the customs bodies were using cutting-edge approach and methods and were always ready to hear and assess the proposals of business representatives, including British businesspeople to eliminate the shortcomings in the customs system.
Safar Mehdiyev underlined that as a result of the innovations, attempts to smuggle up to 6 tons of drugs to Europe had been prevented.
Speaking about the measures taken by the customs bodies to ensure transparency, fight against corruption and "shadow economy", chairman of the Committee said the taxes and duties to be paid to the state budget would be increased from 2 billion manats to 4 billion manats.
Safar Mehdiyev said that thanks to the improvements in the Common Automated Management System of the State Customs Committee, complete digitalization of customs operations, risk-based customs control measures, application of "Green Corridor" and other innovations physical inspections had been reduced by 80 percent, noted that the customs bodies were using the best practices to ensure facilitated and rapid international trade.
Chairman of the Committee expressed hope that the meeting would provide new opportunities for productive activity and the cooperation would become stronger.
Then, discussions were held on certain issues determined by the British business people, questions of business representatives were answered.
Press and Public Affairs Department of the State Customs Committee