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On May 20, 2014, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (ITC) hosted the United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC) and AZPROMO for a breakfast presentation titled "Business and Trade with Azerbaijan" at Rotunda of Ronald Reagan Building. The purpose of the event was to brief the audience about fast-developing and emerging Azerbaijani market with focus on business opportunities in non-energy industry, including technology and communications, industry, agriculture, renewable energy and tourism.
The event was opened by Andrew Gelfuso, Director of Office of Trade Promotion at Ronald Reagan Building and ITC. Mr. Gelfuso welcomed the guests and briefly talked about the activities of Ronald Reagan Building and ITC. He stressed the importance of holding business and trade events to inform the American audience about vast opportunities in countries like Azerbaijan. The Director of ITC then introduced Aaron Brickman, Deputy Executive Director at SelectUSA, to the audience.
Mr. Brickman briefed the participants of the event on the mission of SelectUSA, highlighting the fact that it had been created at the federal level to showcase the United States as the world's premier business location and to provide easy access to federal-level programs and services related to business investment. He emphasized SelectUSA's interest in interacting closely with USACC and AZPROMO, and enhancing closer business and trade ties between two countries. Next, Mark A. Stuckart, CFA for Product and Business Development at OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corporation) took the stage. Mr. Stuckart highlighted Azerbaijan's importance as a key U.S. ally and energy partner for Europe and touched upon the successful cooperation between two countries over the past 20 years. He then briefed the audience about OPIC financing and funds that help U.S. businesses gain access to emerging markets, catalyzes revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad.
Speaking to the distinguished audience, Susan Sadigova, USACC Executive Director, focused on recent economic achievements and current business opportunities in Azerbaijan. In her presentation, she spoke about "Azerbaijan 2020" concept that outlines the stage-by-stage acceleration of the economy. Talking about major projects initiated by Baku, such as High-Tech Park, TASIM, and Sumgait Chemical Industrial Park, Ms. Sadigova underlined the role of the Azerbaijani leadership in seeing through the realization of projects of regional and global importance. She also outlined other opportunities in wide range of non-oil sectors, from renewable energy to agriculture, tourism, transportation, information and telecommunications.
Next, Elshan Baloghlanov, U.S. Representative of AZPROMO, informed the audience about AzPromo's activity and mission in the United States. He particularly touched upon the "Flavors of Azerbaijan" and "Wine & Spirits of Azerbaijan" projects, and invited interested U.S. parties, especially food and beverage importers, wholesalers and distributors to cooperate with export-oriented companies of Azerbaijan. AZPROMO representative also briefed the audience on legal and tax matters, as well as cultural and regulatory considerations in doing business with Azerbaijan.
The presentations were followed by a Q&A session.
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