”Bulgaria has a potential to turn into a platform for the Chinese business to the EU. Our country is outlined as a preferred investment and business destination and this brings a lot of possibilities for the Chinese companies.” This was indicated by the Minister of Economy Bozhidar Lukarski during a meeting with a delegation on a high level, including over 30 representatives of the Government and the business from China. The European visit of the delegation was organized by the Chinese Council for Promotion of Cooperation “South-South” and further to Bulgaria, it also includes Poland and Romania. The main objective is the study of the possibilities for international cooperation in the sphere of the production capacity. The delegation includes representatives of 15 structures, 13 big companies and 2 financial organizations. The Deputy Minister of Economy Lyuben Petrov also attended the meeting.
“The guidelines of the Chinese Government are for the transfer of a part of the ecological production capacities of high quality from China to the developing countries”, the Chairman of the Chinese Council for Promotion of Cooperation “South-South” Liu Xinhua, who is also the Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Foreign Relations of the Political Advisory Board of the Chinese People, indicated. According to his words although their efforts are directed at the developing countries, Bulgaria as a developed country and a member-state of the EU, provides lots of possibilities for the Chinese companies. Specific projects for joint production between Chinese companies and potential Bulgarian partners will be discussed at a Bulgarian – Chinese Forum for International Cooperation, which will be held in “Sofia Tеch Park” within the framework of the visit of the delegation. Over 90 companies will take part on the Bulgarian side. The sectors, which new possibilities will be sought in, are urban, road, port and railway infrastructure; ecology and water resources; agriculture; industrial electronics; production of medical equipment; textile; production of cement, as well as cultural cooperation and education. According to the words of Liu Xinhua the Chinese Government stimulates the Chinese enterprises to invest abroad and supports the financial security of such projects. Due to this reason a part of the delegation are also representatives of financial institutions as Export-Import Bank of China and Bank of Beijing.
According to the words of Minister Lukarski there are possibilities for cooperation with the Chinese country not only in the highly technological productions but also in the joint development of scientific research centers, laboratories for scientific research and innovations, building up of demonstration areas for Chinese highly technological companies and achievements in the sphere of science and innovations as well as cooperation with leading Bulgarian academic institutions. Specific projects, which Chinese companies may be successfully attracted to, are “Sofia Tеch Park” and the industrial zones operated by the state-owned “National Company Industrial Zones” EAD (JSC).
“There already are successfully implemented projects of Chinese companies in Bulgaria, which are an indicator for the competitive investment and business conditions which our country offers”, Minister Lukarski indicated. He also emphasized the advantages of our country as a member of the EU providing unimpeded and duty-free access to the market of the overall community, the lowest operational expenditures in the EU and a favorable tax policy as well as the strategic geographic situation with access to sea and river transport. The Economic Minister added that the Project of the Bulgarian – Chinese Association for Business Development for Building up a Euro-Chinese Zone for Economic Development within the framework of Thrace economic zone in the town of Plovdiv also has the support of the Ministry of Economy.
The possibilities for the increase of the tourist flow from China to Bulgaria were discussed at the meeting as well. Representatives of the Chinese country indicated that the still comparatively slow and complicated procedures for the issuance of visas are an obstacle for that. According to the words of Minister Lukarski the Bulgarian country has undertaken measures and has attained progress in the last two years, and the capacity of the Consular Office in Shanghai has been strengthened since the beginning of 2016. All the Chinese citizens who have Schengen visas also have possibility for stay without the need of a Bulgarian visa.
By tradition China is the biggest trade partner of Bulgaria in Asia. In 2015 the exchange of goods added up to 1688.7 million US Dollars, marking a drop of 9.9% as compared to 2014. The export of Bulgaria for China added up to 612.4 million US Dollars (-14.3%), and the import was in the amount of 1076.3 million US Dollars (-7.2%).
During the first quarter of 2016, the exchange of goods with China added up to 423 million US Dollars, marking a drop of 14.2% with regard to the same period of 2015. The Bulgarian export for China was in the amount of 136.6 million US Dollars (-22%), and the import from China was equal to 286.4 million US Dollars (-9.8%).