Bulgarian exports to the State of Israel grew by nearly 36% last year. This became clear during a meeting between Minister of Economy and Industry Nikola Stojanov and Minister of Economy and Industry of Israel Nir Barkat.
‘Our exports account for about 80% of the bilateral trade,’ Minister Stojanov said. In his words, this is a positive trend for the Bulgarian economy, but much more needs to be done to encourage exchanges and the launch of more projects between companies from the two countries.
To date, bilateral trade amounts to nearly USD 400 million. ‘Given our geographical proximity and the rich history between our two countries, these are very low figures,’ Minister Stojanov stressed. The two ministers discussed common initiatives to give a new impetus to economic exchanges.
Bulgaria and Israel will organize a business forum for companies in the field of information and communication technologies. This was agreed between the two ministers as a concrete step to promote business ties. Preparations for the next meeting of the Joint Economic Commission between the two countries were also discussed. Minister Stojanov also invited his counterpart to visit Bulgaria and get acquainted with the Bulgarian start-up system and the activities of Sofia Tech Park.
The two ministers commented on innovation and high technologies as one of the areas with the greatest potential for joint cooperation between the two countries. ‘Sofia is attracting more and more foreign start-ups, and in Israel this environment is developed at an extremely high level,’ Nikola Stojanov emphasized. They discussed opportunities for exchanging experience and initiating business missions from both countries to implement more joint projects.
During the conversation it also became clear that many of the Israeli companies operating in Bulgaria have registered Bulgarian companies and the investments they make are reported as made by Bulgarian legal entities and not by foreign ones.
The meeting was also attended by Rumiana Bachvarova, Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to the State of Israel.
Earlier in the day, Minister Stojanov visited the headquarters of the largest state-owned company in the defence industry in Tel Aviv — Rafael — and discussed opportunities for sharing experience and knowledge between companies from both countries in this sector.