Belarus and Bulgaria can increase trade to $400mn within three or four years
Belarus and Bulgaria can increase trade to $400 million within the next three or four years, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Bulgaria to Belarus Petko Ganchev told a press conference dedicated to the national holiday - Day of Liberation, reported Belta.
According to the Ambassador, Bulgaria has been taking an active part in the process of intensifying the cooperation between Belarus and the European Union: "In recent months the dialogue between Belarus and the EU has intensified. Bulgaria has joined in this process. I believe that a visit at the highest level from Belarus to Bulgaria can take place in the near future, and this is a good factor for further development of all-round cooperation."
The diplomat noted that for the past three and a half years the Belarusian-Bulgarian trade increased almost four times, which shows that the bilateral contacts have been growing stronger.
In the 1980s, Belarus and Bulgaria had close trade and economic relations and close integration which was evidenced by the $600-700 million trade, Petko Ganchev said. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the contacts between Bulgarian and Belarusian partners broke off. Some time after, these contacts were gradually re-established. In 2008 the bilateral trade hit $100 million vs. $67 million in 2007.
According to the Ambassador, most promising avenues of cooperation include food industry, power engineering, and wine production. Bulgaria is interested in purchasing more Belarusian machinery and in high-tech exchange. Petko Ganchev noted that Bulgarian investors are ready to implement several projects in hotel and tourism industry.
The diplomat said that the third session of the intergovernmental commission for trade, economic and sci-tech cooperation held in autumn 2008 greatly contributed to strengthening trade and economic relations. The decisions made at the session are currently being implemented.
According to Petko Ganchev, the global financial crisis may interfere in the development of the Belarusian-Bulgarian trade and economic relations. 'This year is very likely to see a slowdown in the bilateral trade, cooperation development and other areas,' he said.
The Ambassador noted that Bulgarian wine will go on sale in Belarus in H2 2009.