If One Belt and One Road Initiative (OBOR) works as well as Beijing is predicting, Azerbaijan should be a big winner, the US expert on Central Asia Bruce Pannier told Trend.
“If the project continues successfully, OBOR should be a huge benefit for the South Caucasus, particularly for Azerbaijan and Georgia since they have ports on, respectively, the Caspian and Black seas. OBOR’s best route between China and Europe takes it through the Caucasus, so it should prove a boon in terms of transit fees, help to develop the necessary infrastructure (road, railways, and port facilities), and strengthen the ties of Caucasus countries with the East and the West,” he said.
Azerbaijan is in an ideal position on One Belt and One Road, according to Pannier.
“Goods from China cross the Caspian and Azerbaijan sends them further to the West, and goods from Europe come across the Black Sea and eventually to Azerbaijan to be shipped back across the Caspian to Central Asia, China, and other Asian countries. If OBOR works as well as Beijing is predicting, Azerbaijan should be a big winner,” he concluded.
“One Belt, One Road” concept is China’s international initiative to improve existing and create new trade and transport corridors connecting more than 60 countries of Central Asia, Europe and Africa, which is designed to promote the development of trade relations between these countries and China.
The idea of forming the Silk Road Economic Belt was put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping and was first voiced during his speech in Astana as part of the state visit to Kazakhstan in September 2013.
A memorandum of understanding on joint encouragement of the establishment of the Silk Road Economic Belt between the Government of Republic Azerbaijan and the Government of the People’s Republic of China and a number of other cooperation documents were signed during the visit of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev to China in December 2015.