Azerbaijan’s economy has surged mainly due to its oil exports, however, trade and investment in non-oil and gas sectors of the economy had been lagging, due to policy and regulatory distortions and a poor business enabling environment. The USAID Trade and Investment Reform Support Program in Azerbaijan (TIRSP) helped Azerbaijan improve its business climate and primed the country’s economy so it could benefit from integration with the global economy.
TIRSP provided technical assistance and training to accelerate the accession of the Government of Azerbaijan to the WTO. The program worked with the government to design accession-related legislative packages in areas such as customs valuation, rules of origin guidelines, tariff bindings, import/export control requirements, trade remedies, SPS-related legal and policy reforms, service sector market access, public procurement reforms and general subsidy/countervailing duty legislation, among others.
With poor relative performance in the areas of business registration/licensing procedures, restrictive trade practices, taxation guidelines, and investor protections, TIRSP helped create the many reforms that are required for Azerbaijan to compete in the global economy. The TIRSP initiatives promoted a sustainable increase in the flow of private investment resources—both FDI and local private investment—into the Azerbaijani economy, as well created a significant improvement in the efficiency with which those resources are allocated and their impact on income and job creation. Azerbaijan is now ranked 66 in the most recent World Bank Doing Business Survey, which is up 30 places from when the project began.
- Accomplished a record four WTO Working Party meetings in just over two years with the acceleration of country’s accession.
- Assisted with capacity-building in preparing more than 40 WTO-compliant laws on customs, intellectual property, foreign trade policy, food safety, and non-tariff barriers to trade and proposed reforms in bankruptcy law, 20 of which were adopted.
- Trained state inspectors, educators, and industry representatives in food safety on best practices in food handling and inspection regimes to support the Azerbaijan Government’s goal of expanding exports of agricultural products.
- Worked to get legislation drafted and eliminate 15 import and export restrictions, simplifying import and export approval processes in Azerbaijan and reduce opportunities for corruption.
- Successfully helped create a tax revenue forecasting model, designed to allow ministries to accurately forecast budget revenues, which the Council of Ministers has indicated it will put forth mandatory use of the model throughout government.
- Developed highly successful cost/benefit analysis spearheaded by the project, which led to a Presidential Decree stating that all projects must be subject to financial and economic analysis prior to approval
Project Duration: 2007 – 2010