By Daniel Shane
Trade between the UAE and Azerbaijan has reached US$300m this year so far
Dubai Chamber of Commerce has opened its first overseas office in Azerbaijan as the trade body seeks to establish a larger presence for UAE businesses in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
The office, located in the former Soviet state’s capital Baku, will seek to assist companies from the Gulf state in setting up in industries including agriculture, transport, logistics, construction and infrastructure.
Dubai Chamber said the office also hopes to facilitate investment from Azerbaijani businesses into the emirate.
"The opening of this first overseas representative office is part of Dubai Chamber’s new strategy to stir the economic growth of the emirate by promoting Dubai globally while enhancing its business competitiveness in the overseas market," Dubai Chamber director general HE Hamad Buamim in a statement.
Trade between the UAE and Azerbaijan in the first nine months of 2012 reached US$300m, an increase of 24 percent compared to the same nine-month period the previous year. Companies from the UAE have invested US$200m in the country.
The International Monetary Fund forecasts that Azerbaijan’s GDP will grow by 3.9 percent this year, slowing to 2.7 percent in 2013.
Earlier this year, Buamim said Dubai Chamber was planning to open offices in markets including India, China, Brazil, Iraq and Libya.
"We've seen a spike in interest from foreign companies," Buamim said at the time.
Buamim said that within three to five years Dubai Chamber would have 20 offices around the world in countries.
The head of Dubai Chamber, which has approximately 135,000 member firms in the emirate, said the aim of the expansion was to convince companies to set up in Dubai.
Buamim added that Dubai Chamber would also form a policy arm to lobby decision makers in the emirate for more favourable policies towards businesses.