Japan eyes using ‘One Belt One Road’ to trade with Azerbaijan

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Japan is interested in using the Trans-Eurasian transport corridor in the framework of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) project for the development of trade with Azerbaijan, Japanese Ambassador to Azerbaijan Teruyuki Katori told Trend.

According to Katori, the use of this transport corridor can significantly reduce the time of transportation of goods from Japan and will contribute to the further development of trade and economic relations between the countries.

“For example, Japanese cars are very popular in Azerbaijan. They are currently being supplied to the country through Georgia, where, in turn, they are transported by sea through the Black Sea. This route takes up to three weeks. The Trans-Eurasian route can shorten the travel time by up to 10 days,” the ambassador noted.

Katori also underlined that although not all of the proposed transport corridor options for the OBOR project pass directly through Azerbaijan, the country can, nevertheless, easily integrate with them through the North-South project and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.

The diplomat noted that, despite certain political nuances existing in the implementation of the OBOR project, from an economic point of view, it benefits all countries along this route and will lead to the development of economic cooperation between them.

Touching upon the development of relations, the ambassador reminded that the decision taken by Japan back in September to simplify the visa regime with Azerbaijan would make a significant contribution to strengthening cooperation.

According to the ambassador, the tourist flow between the two countries has recently been increasing. The number of trips of both Japanese citizens to Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis to Japan, including those travelling for business purposes, is growing.

The official opening ceremony of the BTK railway was held in Baku Oct. 30 last year. The BTK railway was constructed on the basis a Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish intergovernmental agreement.

The railway’s peak capacity will be 17 million tons of cargo per year. At an initial stage, this figure will be one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo.

The North-South transport corridor is designed to connect Northern Europe with Southeast Asia, in particular to connect the railways of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia. It is planned to transport five million tons of cargo per year at the first stage, and more than 10 million tons of cargo in the future through this corridor.

The project is designed to transport goods from India and the Persian Gulf states to Western and Northern Europe through the territories of Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia, in particular by connecting the railways of these three countries.

The main advantage of the corridor is the reduction of the delivery time by two or three times.

One Belt One Road is an initiative put forward by China in 2013 for the combined projects of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road. According to official data, OBOR covers most of Eurasia, connecting developing countries, including “new economies”, and developed countries. The project area is rich in resources, includes 63 percent of the world’s population and has the estimated economic scale of $21 trillion.

Within the framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt project, creation of three Trans-Eurasian economic corridors is being considered: the Northern (China – Central Asia – Russia – Europe), the Central (China – Central and Western Asia – Persian Gulf and Mediterranean) the Southern (East Asia – South Asia – Indian Ocean).