Russia is Azerbaijan's largest non-oil importer
Azerbaijan's basic market for the country's actively developing non-oil sector exports is Russia: supplies valued at $553 million were exported to the country, which is more than one third of total output of the sector in 2017.
The most popular Azerbaijani goods on the Russian market were tomatoes: they had accounted for every tenth dollar of foreign trade participants. Azerbaijan exported a total of $151.6 million in tomatoes to foreign markets, RIA Novosti reported.
In total, according to the last year's results, thanks to measures for the improvement of the non-oil sector, the export of Azerbaijani products increased by 24% and amounted to $1.538 billion," the Export Review of the Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communication says.
Azerbaijan's non-oil exports are not limited to the Russian market alone: Azerbaijani goods worth $292 million were exported to Turkey, Switzerland ($143 million), Georgia ($138 million) and Italy ($56 million).
Political scientist Rovshan Ibragimov, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Russia will continue to maintain leadership in the structure of importers of Azerbaijani goods. "I think that the figures will only increase due to several factors: First, we have been united by the traditional economic ties since the Soviet times, when Azerbaijan was the main exporter of fruits and vegetables to the Russian market. It means that Russian consumers are familiar with Azerbaijani goods - Baku tomatoes, pomegranates, pomegranate juice are recognizable brands. Second, there are all necessary transport communications for the export of goods to Russia, which provides Azerbaijani products easy access to the Russian market," he said in the first place.
"Third, Azerbaijan and Russia have a free trade agreement, which simplifies the entrance of Azerbaijani products to the Russian market, which is very important. Especially when compared with a European market, which has too many different requirements, standards and categories. In addition, Europe is a far market with no direct transport exits for Azerbaijan. Fourth, there is a conjuncture factor: Russia's food sanctions against a number of countries have increased the demand for Azerbaijani products. So three structural reasons for Russia's leadership in the structure of Azerbaijan's non-oil export have increased due to sanctions," Rovshan Ibragimov noted.