News 12 july — 13:09

Development of electronic commerce discussed in Azerbaijan


A round-table on “Electronic Commerce in Azerbaijan: Current Situation and Prospects for Development” was launched in Baku jointly by the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies (MTCHT) and the European Union (EU), informs the press-service of the Ministry.

The event was organized within the framework of the project “Enhancing development of e-Services (incl. e-Commerce) in the Republic of Azerbaijan”, which MTCHT and the EU have been implementing since 2017. 

The purpose of the roundtable is to propose a platform that will unite efforts of various government agencies for the development of national e-commerce and to prepare proposals on removing obstacles and restrictions impeding the operation of small and medium-sized businesses in the field of e-commerce.    

The agenda of the roundtable, which is attended by representatives of state agencies, international organisations and private sector, includes such topics as “Provision of state support to small and medium-sized businesses for development of e-commerce business (supply chain, logistics, etc.)”, “Obstacles facing small and medium-sized entrepreneurs who want to engage in e-commerce business and ways to overcome these obstacles”.    

Presentation of the project “Baku E-Commerce Forum-2018” was also held at the event. 

At the round-table, Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies Ramin Guluzade spoke about the large-scale economic reforms that have been implemented in the recent years in line with global economic challenges. 

He said that a purposeful policy have been conducted in the country in this period.  “As a result of this policy, the business and investment climate in Azerbaijan has improved and the position of our country in the international ratings has been enhanced. 

Taking a unified approach to entrepreneurial policy, expanding the application of innovations and international standards, increasing state support for exploring export markets and widening the application of other support mechanisms gave a great impetus to the development of entrepreneurship in the country.” 

Ramin Guluzade stressed that the diversification of the economy and the development of entrepreneurship and non-oil sector are one of the priorities of the economic policy implemented in the Republic of Azerbaijan. 

“E-commerce has been rapidly developing in the country during the last few years. Retail e-commerce turnover in Azerbaijan in 2016 amounted to 25,613,000 manat.  In 2017, this figure increased to 46,227,000 manat. Presently, Azerbaijan ranks 68th among 144 countries in the B2C ecommerce index of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). 

Azerbaijan Digital Trade Hub was created by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. It enables persons who have registered as taxpayers in the country to compile and sign documents, including contracts, with their foreign business partners in electronic form, as well as to render transboundary electronic services in real-time mode.”

The minister emphasised that Azerbaijan’s favourable geostrategic position in terms of postal delivery of international electronic commerce products have opened new opportunities for our country.

“Using these opportunities, Azerbaijan’s Postal Service now acts as a regional transit mail centre (HUB) for the implementation of interstate electronic commerce,” Ramin Guluzade added.

Then, Head of the European Union Delegation to the Republic of Azerbaijan Kestutis Jankauskas spoke at the event. Noting that Azerbaijan is an important partner for the EU, the ambassador said that this cooperation have been continuing for more than 20 years. “Azerbaijan has achieved a lot of successes in the field of electronic commerce. Thanks to its regional and geographical advantages, Azerbaijan has turned into a transportation hub. The globalisation of the world necessitates the sharing of technology. And today , services  are being digitised worldwide. Azerbaijan must also enter this open competition.  From this perspective, the project ‘Enhancing development of e-Services (incl. e-Commerce) in the Republic of Azerbaijan’ is very important for the country. Significant achievements have been attained over the last two years as a result of the implementation of this project.  And we will continue to bring the best practices to Azerbaijan,” Kestutis Jankauskas said.    

Deputy Chairman of the State Customs Committee Iqbal Babayev also spoke at the round-table. In his speech, he touched upon the problems encountered in the development of this area. "Electronic commerce is developing dynamically in Azerbaijan. But Azerbaijan's trade turnover has not yet shown good results when compared with the world trade. Electronic commerce is developing based on three key criteria, such as electronic platform, electronic payment systems and logistics. The arising problems are connected mainly with electronic payment systems. Globalisation of the market, complexity of trade chain-related procedures requires introduction of changes to the customs sphere. In the future, electronic commerce will be an integral part of people’s life. So it is important to increase awareness-raising activities in this area,” Iqbal Babayev said. 

Then, Head of the ICT Policy Department of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Executive Officer of UNCTAD in the fields of ICT, e-commerce and digital economy, Torbjörn Fredriksson, spoke at the event. Emphasising the rapid digitisation of the world economy, he noted that the electronic commerce, which is one of the branches of the economy, is transformative in nature. “Like big and small businesses, this area brings problems as well as benefits to states.  Naturally, there will be those who will win and who will lose from the development of e-commerce. And it is no coincidence that the Intergovernmental Expert Group on Electronic Commerce and Digital Economy was established in the United Nations,” Torbjörn Fredriksson added. 

After the speeches, presentations on such topics as “Major criteria for the development of electronic commerce in Azerbaijan”, “Electronic commerce is an unused potential” were made. 

Then, the round-table participants exchanged their opinions and views on the presentations  with the active participation of private sector representatives. 

The private sector representatives voiced their opinions and proposals regarding the current state of entrepreneurs who are being engaged in domestic e-commerce. 

The round-table participants representing the private sector spoke about problems and difficulties encountered in the development of e-commerce. They suggested that appropriate steps be taken by state bodies to eliminate these problems. 

The round-table currently continues its work on the following sessions: “The role of the state in the development of electronic commerce”, “Cooperation between the state and private sectors in the development of e-commerce” and “E-commerce development initiatives”.

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