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 You are in: Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs > Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs > Finance and Development > Organization > Investment Affairs > Investment Climate Statements: 2006

Azerbaijan

2006 INVESTMENT CLIMATE STATEMENT -- AZERBAIJAN


INTRODUCTION

Azerbaijan's ongoing transition to a market economy presents both significant prospects and challenges. Since 1994, Azerbaijan has successfully executed a strategy to develop its oil and gas resources and has achieved macroeconomic stability. Much work remains to be done, however, to produce prosperity for the country's population of over eight million. This includes improving governance and curbing corruption, diversifying the economy through domestic and foreign investment, and creating jobs. A long running and unresolved conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh has left Azerbaijan with approximately 800,000 refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) for more than a decade and constitutes an enormous burden on economic and democratic development. The World Bank estimates that 49 percent of the population lives in poverty, with nearly nine percent in extreme poverty. Poverty remains particularly acute in Azerbaijan's regions, and developing an environment in which private investors can help create employment opportunities in the regions remains an imperative for Azerbaijani policymakers. Throughout 2005, President Ilham Aliyev continued to pursue policies designed to engender political and economic reform. While the Government of Azerbaijan made some progress toward holding free and fair elections in November 2005, the vote failed to meet some international standards.

Cooperation with the international financial institutions has been a key element in Azerbaijan's reform efforts. However, in 2005, Azerbaijan concluded a three-year IMF Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) program and has since operated only on a consultative basis with the IMF. Cooperation with the World Bank continued through a USD 20 million Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC) facility. Azerbaijan is not yet a member of the World Trade Organization, but the U.S. Trade and Development Agency has provided an advisor to the Ministry of Economic Development to assist in preparing Azerbaijan's bid for accession. Creating a stable and predictable business environment is especially crucial for attracting investment to the non-energy sector. At present, however, Azerbaijan remains a challenging market in which to do business.

Azerbaijan's macroeconomic situation continued to improve, with the National Bank of Azerbaijan (NBA) estimating GDP growth at 23.4 percent through October 2005. Developments in the oil and gas sector were the primary forces behind this growth. With the forthcoming completion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the resulting increase in oil exports, GDP growth is forecasted to be as high as 30 percent in 2006. Azerbaijan registered a small trade deficit in 2004 largely due to oil-related imports, but ran a significant trade surplus throughout 2005, due in part to record-high oil prices. Sound fiscal and monetary policies have kept the budget deficit low, although inflation rose to 11.4 percent through October 2005, the highest level in the past eight years. The National Bank intervened to stabilize exchange rate fluctuations, however the national currency, the manat, appreciated about 4.5 percent in real terms against the U.S. dollar in 2005. Gross reserves totaled approximately USD 1.1 billion as of October 2005, in addition to over USD 1.1 billion in the country's State Oil Fund.

Corruption is a significant deterrent to investment in Azerbaijan, especially in the non-energy sector. Laws and regulations that exist to combat corruption are not effectively enforced, with corruption in the regulatory, tax, and dispute settlement systems most pervasive. A new and much-anticipated anti-corruption law came into force on January 1, 2005. Under the terms of the law, a new commission has the authority to require full financial disclosure from government officials. However, Azerbaijan made little progress on implementation of the law in 2005.

Problems in the quality, reliability, and transparency of governance, as well as abuse of the regulatory system and poor contract enforcement, significantly impede the ability of many companies to do business in Azerbaijan. These problems have driven many companies, including some major Western firms, from the market. In response, Azerbaijan has taken steps to reform its civil service, which has included significant salary hikes for government employees. Key business groups, such as the American Chamber of Commerce, have reported some improvement in areas such as tax administration. In the past several years, however, politically connected businesses have benefited from government regulatory and other decisions to achieve effective control over several lucrative sectors of the economy.

2005 brought continued development of Azerbaijan's energy sector. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) main export oil pipeline is scheduled for completion in early 2006. This pipeline is designed to be the main export route for increased volumes from AIOC's Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli fields, whose production is slated to increase from 145,000 barrels per day in 2002 to an estimated 400,000 barrels per day in 2006, and other Caspian oil volumes. In September 2002, AIOC sanctioned Phase Two of full- field development of its Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field, worth USD 3.6 billion. Construction of a South Caspian gas export pipeline from Azerbaijan and Turkey to export natural gas from the Shah Deniz field to Turkey was sanctioned in early 2003, and construction continued in 2005 with a completion target of 2007. The construction of these oil and gas pipelines offers great opportunities for oil and gas service firms and related infrastructure industries. Azerbaijan has taken significant steps to implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which will promote oil revenue transparency. In 2004, Azerbaijan signed an agreement with 17 foreign and four domestic oil companies under which the companies report on payments made to the government, and the government reports on payments received. An outside auditor then reviews these reports and publishes findings.

OPENNESS TO FOREIGN INVESTMENT

The Government of Azerbaijan officially welcomes foreign direct investment, realizing that it plays a vital role in development of the country's economy. Since 1994, Azerbaijan has attracted significant amounts of foreign investment to develop further its energy sector. However, government bureaucracy, weak legal institutions and predatory behavior by politically connected monopoly interests have severely hindered investment outside of the energy sector. Following meetings with domestic and foreign entrepreneurs in spring 2002, a series of presidential decrees were issued in August-October 2002 to address business concerns. The decrees reduced the number of activities subject to licensing and streamlined the licensing procedure, created an SME Entrepreneur's Fund, and placed restrictions on harassment of businesses by federal and local authorities. An Entrepreneurs' Council, consisting of domestic and foreign companies and reporting to the president, first convened in July 2003. As a result of these and other reforms, there have been improvements in the business and investment climate.

The Law on Protection of Foreign Investments permits foreign direct investment (FDI) in any activity open to a national investor unless prohibited by law. Prohibited areas include those relating to national security and defense. The government carefully controls other key sectors, such as energy and mobile telephony. In the past, the process of investment in the oil and gas sector has been to conclude a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) with the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), which is subsequently ratified by parliament. The establishment of a Ministry of Fuel and Energy, renamed the Ministry of Energy and Industry (MEI) in 2004, has not meaningfully changed this procedure, although the MEI has been given nominal responsibility for conclusion of PSAs. A limitation on FDI in the banking sector was reduced when the National Bank of Azerbaijan (NBA) increased the limit on participation of banks with foreign ownership from 30 to 50 percent of the commercial banking market. As of January 2006, parliament is discussing a new law on investments. However, if adopted, this law is not expected to change significantly treatment of international investors.

Under Azerbaijani law, foreign investors may participate in the Azerbaijani market through joint ventures with local companies, establishment of subsidiaries wholly owned by foreign investors, and representative offices and branches of foreign legal entities. The Law on Protection of Foreign Investments provides that the Azerbaijani government will treat foreign investors in a manner "not less favored" than the treatment accorded to local investors. This law provides for repatriation of profits, revenues, and other investment-related funds so long as applicable Azerbaijani taxes have been paid. The law also provides a 10-year grandfather clause in the event new legislation less favorable to the foreign investor is adopted. However, this provision does not apply to changes in tax legislation.

While the Azerbaijani government employs no formal screening mechanisms for general foreign investment, the process of registering an enterprise with the Ministry of Justice serves as a de facto screening process. Although by law required only to determine that documents of enterprises seeking registration are in order, the Ministry operates in a non-transparent and arbitrary manner. Credible reports indicate that ministry officials make extra-legal determinations of whether individual foreign investments are of an appropriate nature before making decisions about registration. Some investors have alleged that they have received demands for bribes when attempting to register their enterprises. Registration procedures for businesses and NGOs have been cumbersome and time-consuming. In 2003, Azerbaijan adopted a new Law on State Registration of Legal Entities. The law covers establishment and liquidation of Azerbaijani legal entities and representative offices and branches of foreign legal entities. The law is more comprehensive and to some extent provides clearer rules than the previous law, but it also extends the period for the registration process to 40 days. The Embassy has argued forcefully for full adherence to the law and has advocated on behalf of several U.S. firms and NGOs that have encountered delayed registrations.

The Ministry of Economic Development maintains a web site with information about investment opportunities available in English, Azeri, and Russian (www.economy.gov.az). In September 2005, a presidential decree moved control of privatization from the Ministry of Economic Development to an autonomous State Agency for Privatization. Implementation of a second stage privatization program, which began in 2001 and could include some of Azerbaijan's largest state-owned enterprises, has been slow. Foreign investors may participate, though it is not clear what role vouchers and options purchased previously by foreigners will play in these and other privatizations. However, a June 2004 presidential decree extended the term of validity for privatization vouchers to January 1, 2008. Plans for the partial privatization of the majority state-owned International Bank of Azerbaijan, with the EBRD intending to take a 20 percent stake stalled in 2004. In addition, several attempted privatizations or placements of large state enterprises under private management failed for lack of qualified bidders. In general, participation in the privatization program continues to be hindered by a lack of resources to properly prepare assets for privatization, as well as insufficient information about the assets of enterprises to be privatized.

In 2004, the previous Ministry of Communications was abolished and replaced by a new Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT). Under the new Minister, the MCIT is moving to separate its commercial and regulatory functions and has adopted a more investor-friendly stance. The MCIT has retained a 51 percent share in most telecommunications enterprises. In 2003, the government fully privatized one mobile telephone operator, but has yet to move forward with plans to privatize its other telecommunications ventures. In the energy sector, management of electricity distribution was privatized in 2002 through contracts with one Turkish and one Azerbaijani firm. However, in 2005 the Azerbaijani firm withdrew from its contract. Management of its share of distribution networks then reverted to state-run Azerenerji. In addition, the Ministry of Taxation opened an aggressive case against the Turkish firm, though the firm continued to operate at the end of the year.

CONVERSION AND TRANSFER POLICIES

Azerbaijan has a liberal exchange system, and, in general, there are no restrictions on converting or transferring funds associated with an investment into freely usable currency and at a legal, market-clearing rate. Conversion is carried out through the Baku Interbank Currency Exchange Market and the Organized Interbank Currency Market. The Baku Electronic Currency Exchange System (BEST) was launched in July 2002. Cash exchange is carried out at numerous currency exchange points and no difficulties exist in obtaining foreign exchange. The average delay for remitting investment returns is two to three business days. Since 2001, the NBA has required that cash transactions be conducted in Azerbaijani manats. Additional requirements relating to the disclosure of the source of currency transfers have been imposed in an attempt to reduce illicit transactions. There have been no recent changes in, nor are there plans to change, remittance policies that would tighten access to foreign exchange for investment remittances. In June 2002, the National Bank of Azerbaijan liberalized some overseas transfer provisions for Azerbaijani legal residents, including an increase of advance payments for import transactions from $10,000 to $25,000 and waiver of all restrictions for withdrawing foreign currency in cash. The Tax Ministry has occasionally frozen bank accounts of companies that it believes have failed to meet their tax obligations.

EXPROPRIATION AND COMPENSATION

The Law on Protection of Foreign Investments protects foreign investors against nationalization and requisition except under certain specified circumstances. Nationalization of property to prevent harm to the population or damage to state interests of Azerbaijan is possible by parliamentary resolution. Requisition by a decision of the Cabinet of Ministers is possible in the event of natural disaster, epidemic, or other extraordinary situation. In the event of nationalization or requisition, foreign investors are entitled by law to prompt, effective, and adequate compensation. There have been no cases of nationalization or requisition against foreign firms in Azerbaijan.

DISPUTE SETTLEMENT

Dispute settlement mechanisms are improving in Azerbaijan, but effective means of protecting and enforcing property and contractual rights are not yet assured. While the Azerbaijani government does not officially interfere in the court system, in practice courts are weak, judges often inexperienced, and progressive new tax and other economic legislation poorly understood. The Economic Court, which has jurisdiction over commercial disputes, is weak, widely regarded as corruptible, and its decisions are often inconsistent. The Civil Procedure Code of September 2000 sets forth basic civil legislation.

Since 2000, the Law On International Arbitration provides for the possibility of local arbitration in international commercial matters. However, in practice arbitration is seldom used to resolve disputes. A Bilateral Investment Treaty between the U.S. and Azerbaijan, which came into effect in 2001, provides U.S. investors with recourse to the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes. Azerbaijan is a party to the World Bank Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States and is also a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). Azerbaijan is also a party to the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, which provides for binding international arbitration of investment disputes between foreign investors and the state. The Civil Procedure Code provides that foreign arbitral awards may be enforced in Azerbaijan so long as they do not contravene legislation or public policy, and if reciprocity exists.

Investment disputes have arisen in Azerbaijan when a foreign investor's success threatens favored, politically connected interests. Reportedly, resolution of such disputes has occasionally involved the foreign investor acquiring a local partner with strong ties to influential persons in the government. Azerbaijan's bankruptcy law does not function effectively and is rarely used.

PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS AND INCENTIVES

Azerbaijan has not yet developed effective incentives to attract foreign investment, other than the incentives provided by Production Sharing Agreements in the oil and gas sector. Performance requirements are not imposed on new investment, but investors who participate in the privatization process of enterprises often assume specific obligations regarding future investment and employment. Foreign investors are not required to purchase from local sources or export a certain percentage of output. Except for those state monopolies identified above, there is no requirement that nationals own shares in enterprises. Investors in PSAs assume obligations and requirements as provided within the PSA.

There are no legal requirements for employment of host country nationals. Employers wishing to hire foreign workers in Azerbaijan must obtain a license from the Ministry of Labor. Foreigners who wish to work in Azerbaijan must register with local authorities at their place of residence and obtain work permits from the Ministry of Labor. Heads of representative offices and branches of foreign legal entities and their deputies do not require work permits.

RIGHT TO PRIVATE OWNERSHIP AND ESTABLISHMENT

Under Azerbaijani law, foreign investors may engage in investment activities not prohibited by law. Private entities may freely establish, acquire, and dispose of interests in business enterprises. In practice, access to markets, credit and other business operations is often impeded by licensing and other regulatory requirements and by politically connected business interests that can mobilize the powers of the state to their advantage. In sectors of interest to certain senior government and political figures, competition is not tolerated.

Legislation regulating real property rights include the Law on Mortage (2005), Land Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan (1999), the Law on Land Reform (1996), the Law on Land Leasing (1999), and the Law on Land Market (1999). Azerbaijani citizens and Azerbaijani legal entities, including enterprises with foreign investment, can legally own, buy, sell, and trade property. Foreign citizens and enterprises may lease, but cannot own, land.

PROTECTION OF PROPERTY RIGHTS

In the mid-1990s, Azerbaijan began implementing a national system for registering and protecting intellectual property rights with the assistance of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), of which it is a member. Azerbaijan enacted modern copyright legislation (Law on Copyright and Related Rights) in 1996, patent legislation (Law on Patents) in 1997, and trademark protection legislation (Law on Trademarks and Geographic Names) in 1998. Azerbaijan is a party to the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Paris Convention for Protection of Industrial Property, and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. Azerbaijan is also a party to the Geneva Phonograms Convention, and acceded to the two WIPO Internet treaties in 2005.

The State Copyright Agency has formed an anti-piracy commission, with representatives from various ministries. While the Agency has made some progress by conducting raids and initiating civil court proceedings for violation of copyrights, in practice, there is limited enforcement of intellectual property rights. Pirated software and movies, as well as knock-off clothing and luxury items, are widely available in Azerbaijan. In 2005, Azerbaijan remained on the U.S. government's "Watch List" of countries that fail to provide adequate and effective protection for intellectual property rights of American companies, as specified by Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.

TRANSPARENCY OF THE REGULATORY SYSTEM

Although the Azerbaijani government has improved its regulatory system in the past several years, it remains characterized by weak administration, a lack of transparency and widespread allegations of corruption. The lack of transparent policies and effective laws to establish clear rules and foster competition are particularly serious impediments to investment. While Azerbaijan has adopted laws, such as the 2001 Tax Code, that conform in varying degrees to international standards, effective implementation and administration will be key to creating a transparent, rules-based economy capable of attracting and retaining investment. In 2005, there were continued improvements in tax administration, and the Ministry of Taxes continued to work with technical advisors from U.S. Treasury and the European Union. A new website of the Ministry (www.taxes.gov.az) provides extensive information on taxation issues in English, Russian, and Azeri. In addition, the Ministry has established a telephone service number (+994-12-195), which handles inquiries from individual and corporate taxpayers.

While laws and decrees are usually published in one of the country's official newspapers, implementation is often delayed while regulations are developed. Those regulations in many cases are not published or distributed. Despite some improvement in recent years, many persons doing business in Azerbaijan continue to complain that bureaucratic procedures contribute to long delays in gaining necessary permits and licenses.

EFFICIENT CAPITAL MARKETS AND PORTFOLIO INVESTMENT

As of October 2005, there were 43 banks and 80 non- bank credit organizations functioning in Azerbaijan. The banking sector is dominated by two large state banks, the International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA) and United Universal Joint Stock Bank (BUS Bank), which together account for over half the banking sector's total assets. There are 17 banks with foreign capital. According to the National Bank of Azerbaijan (NBA), as of November 2005, total assets of Azerbaijan banks were about USD 1.4 billion. A new Commercial Banking Systems Law, based on Basel Core Principles, was enacted in 2004, as was a new National Bank Law. The latter law should strengthen the role of the NBA in banking supervision, as well as improve oversight of the National Bank. Foreign ownership in the banking sector is limited to 50 percent on an aggregate basis.

The NBA has taken steps to improve bank supervision and raise capital requirements. The minimum statutory capital requirement for new banks is now USD 5 million, with a minimum requirement for existing banks of USD 3.5 million. However, the capital requirement for existing banks is scheduled to increase to USD 5 million in January 2006. Bank consolidation, which began in the mid- 1990s when Azerbaijan had 250 small, illiquid banks, needs to continue. The NBA, which implemented a SWIFT- based Real Time Gross Settlements system in 2001, has now deployed a low-value payments system, and a presidential decree requires installation of point of sale (POS) terminals in all shops within two years beginning in January 2006. The Baku Interbank Currency Exchange (BICEX) carries out interbank auctions of foreign exchange. Treasury bill auctions are conducted by the Baku Stock Exchange, which was established in 2000. Since then, the number of participants and volume of transactions have increased, but this is not yet a truly competitive market.

Following the departure of HSBC British Bank of the Middle East from retail banking operations in Azerbaijan in 2002, the National Bank issued a license to Turkish Kocbank to accept deposits. Presently, Kocbank and state- owned IBA are the banks most frequently used by foreign enterprises. As of June 2005, IBA reported assets exceeding USD 950 million. In 2004, Fitch Ratings upgraded Azerbaijan's long-term foreign currency rating from a BB- to BB with a stable outlook, reflecting macroeconomic stability, low government debt, and development in the oil and gas sector.

POLITICAL VIOLENCE

There have been no acts of political violence against U.S. businesses or assets, nor against any foreign-owned entity. While the risk of political violence affecting foreign investors remains minimal, there were demonstrations during the 2005 parliamentary election period. At times, police used force to disperse protestors. Demonstrations following the 2003 presidential election were violent, reportedly injuring 300 and killing one.

CORRUPTION

Corruption is a significant deterrent to investment in Azerbaijan, especially in the non-energy sector. Laws and regulations that exist to combat corruption have not been effectively enforced. A new anti-corruption law came into force in January 2005. Under the terms of the law, a new commission has the authority to require full financial disclosure from government officials. However, Azerbaijan made little progress on implementation of this law in 2005. The Azerbaijani government recognizes that corruption is a problem, although it frequently disagrees with the results of international rankings produced by groups such as Transparency International. Published results of other recent surveys identify the State Customs Committee as the institution of greatest concern of businesses in Azerbaijan, followed by the Ministry of Taxation. Corruption appears most pervasive in the regulatory, tax and dispute settlement systems. Throughout the country, problems in the quality, reliability and transparency of governance, as well as abuse of the regulatory system and poor contract enforcement, significantly impede the ability of many companies to do business in Azerbaijan and have driven many companies, including some major Western firms, from the market.

In the past several years, politically connected businesses appear to have benefited from government regulatory and other decisions to achieve effective control over several lucrative sectors of the economy, including cotton and tobacco, and U.S. investors have been among those victimized. Currently, powerful state- owned enterprises such as the Azerbaijan State Caspian Shipping Company (CASPAR) and the State Airlines (AZAL), have protected their commercial interests by blocking entrance of new entrants into the market through the exercise of their regulatory authority -- a clear conflict of interest. A focus of current international community work in Azerbaijan is combating corruption and improving governance. In 2004, Azerbaijan joined the Council of Europe's Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), but Azerbaijan is not a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery.

In 2004, Azerbaijan adopted an implementation plan for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to promote more transparent management of oil revenues. See Introduction, above.

BILATERAL INVESTMENT AGREEMENTS

On October 18, 2000, the U.S. Senate ratified the Treaty Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan Concerning the Encouragement and Reciprocal Protection of Investment (commonly known as a "Bilateral Investment Treaty" (BIT). Azerbaijan and the U.S. exchanged instruments of ratification on July 3, 2001, and the treaty entered into force on August 2, 2001.

In addition to the above agreement, Azerbaijan has bilateral investment protection agreements with the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Libya, Moldova, Pakistan, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

OPIC AND OTHER INVESTMENT INSURANCE PROGRAMS

OPIC has provided USD 100 million in political risk insurance to U.S.-based financial institutions and U.S. equity partners in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. OPIC has also provided financing to Baku Oil Tools for a joint venture with the State Oil Company, SOCAR. In 2002, OPIC invested USD 50 million in Soros Investment Capital for projects targeted to all three Caucasus countries. OPIC also disbursed a USD 4.6 million loan to Caucasus Airlines, a regional air carrier based in Tbilisi. Caucasus Airlines ceased operations in late 2004 after a dispute arose with Azerbaijan's state air carrier AZAL over terms on the Baku-Tbilisi route.

In March 2004, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) provided a USD 19.3 million loan guarantee to Saba, Inc., a mid-sized U.S. company, for engineering, design, and construction services to build a business and residential center in Baku.

LABOR

Azerbaijan has an abundant supply of qualified, trained technicians and skilled and unskilled laborers available at attractive rates to employers. The collapse of the old Soviet industrial sector in this country during the 1990s resulted in large numbers of Azerbaijanis becoming unemployed or underemployed. International organizations estimate the rate of unemployment at ten to twenty percent or more, with underemployment much higher. In October 2005, the minimum monthly wage increased to 150,000 manats, approximately USD 31 at current exchange rates. A Labor Code that took effect in 1999 regulates labor relations. The workweek is generally forty hours, the right to strike exists, and industrial strikes occur occasionally. Azerbaijan is a member of the International Labor Organization and has ratified more than 50 ILO Conventions. Azerbaijan is currently engaged with the World Bank in a program to reform the state pension system.

FOREIGN TRADE ZONES/FREE PORTS

Although the government announced in 2003 its intention to create special economic zones, there are currently no foreign trade zones or free ports operating.

FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT STATISTICS

As work on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) main oil export pipeline and development of Azerbaijan's oil and gas fields intensified, foreign investment increased from approximately 15 to 25 percent of GDP in the late 1990s to nearly 50 percent of GDP in 2004. According to the State Statistics Committee, Azerbaijan received FDI of USD 4.26 billion in 2004, and the accumulated FDI stock was over USD 12 billion. During the first six months of 2005, Azerbaijan received foreign investment totaling over USD 2.14 billion, the vast majority of which was invested in the country's energy sector. Non-energy sector investment was largely in the transport and communications sector.

FDI
----------------------------------------------------
Years 2002 2003 2004 2005(6 months)
----------------------------------------------------
inflow
(USD million) 1392 3285 4260 2140
----------------------------------------------------
(Sources: National Bank of Azerbaijan, State Statistical
Committee, UNCTAD World Investment Report)

Non-energy sector investment for 2004, by country of origin, is registered as follows:

United Kingdom USD 1.240 billion
U.S. USD 996 million Norway USD 478 million
Turkey USD 438 million Japan USD 392 million
Russia USD 111 million
Germany USD 0.1 million
Others USD 604 million
(Source: State Statistics Committee)

Major Foreign Investors: Significant foreign investors in the energy sector include BP, Unocal, ExxonMobil, Devon Energy (Pennzoil), TPAO, Statoil, Lukoil, Itochu, Agip, ChevronTexaco, ENI, Halliburton, Schlumberger, Kvaerner, Aker Maritime (Technip-Coflexip), and Barmek. Significant non-energy investment includes Garadagh Cement, Castel (brewery), Baku Steel, Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, Azercell (mobile telephony), Bakcell (mobile telephony), Kocbank, Baku Hotel Company, and Kenan Construction.


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