USACC Completes Landmark US Food and Agriculture Trade Mission to Azerbaijan

CONTACT: Aynura Huseynova 
(202) 333-8702 or [email protected]

First-ever mission “bodes well for commercial relationships” between the United States and Azerbaijan

Washington D.C. (June 6, 2007) – The United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC) has completed the first-ever agriculture trade mission to the Republic of Azerbaijan on May 21-26, 2007 for leading U.S. firms specializing in the food and farming sector.

US companies joining the trade mission were Bunge, California Caspian Consulting, Cargill, Charles Greens Nursery of Florida, Coca-Cola, HeinzSeed, International Gold Star, John Deere International, Lindsay Corporation, Salans and Valmont. Mr. Frank J. Mermoud, U.S. State Department Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs, and Mr. Kirk Miller, U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service General Sales Manager, represented the US government in the trade mission.

“I want to thank and congratulate the U.S.-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce for its efforts in assembling this impressive group of US firms and for organizing an impressive program,” Mermoud said. “Such broad participation today is a sign of potential U.S. companies’ interest in Azerbaijan, which bodes well for a healthy and growing bilateral commercial relationship.”

The trade mission included meetings with Minister of Agriculture of Azerbaijan, Mr.Ismat Abasov, and Deputy Minister of Economic Development of Azerbaijan, Mr.Niyazi Safarov, and other senior government officials and industry representatives, as well as field visits to food and agricultural facilities in Azerbaijan.

In another landmark event for the country during the trade mission, the USACC also hosted the first U.S.-Azerbaijan Agribusiness Forum in Baku, where representatives from more than 200 local and American companies participated. During the event, the trade mission delegates made presentations of their products and services. The forum created an excellent opportunity for officials from both countries to speak about developments in U.S.-Azerbaijan business relations and the vast opportunities in Azerbaijan’s food and agriculture sector.

“The private sector has more than a 99 percent share in the production of agricultural goods in Azerbaijan,” Minister Abasov noted. “There is great potential for U.S. firms in the production and processing of agricultural products here.”

The trade mission was an important step for Azerbaijan in tapping into development in addition to that of its already sizeable oil and gas industry.

Agriculture is the second largest sector of Azerbaijan's economy. The Government of Azerbaijan has already begun allocating revenues from the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan to the development of the agriculture sector, one of the critical non-oil sectors of the economy.

“We value Azerbaijan’s friendship.  Our commercial cooperation in the energy sector has been excellent,” said Mr. Miller of USDA. “The United States welcomes increased bilateral trade and investment beyond the energy sector, and looks forward to working with Azerbaijan to make this a reality in the agricultural sector.”

Participating companies also visited the 13th Azerbaijan International Food, Drinks and Packaging Exhibition held May 23-26.

For more information on this or other trade missions to Azerbaijan, please contact the USACC at (+1) 202 333 8702

Source: USACC