Bulgarian exports to the United Arab Emirates are double the counter-imports. This was emphasized by the Minister of Economy and Industry Nikola Stojanov at the opening of a business forum organized by the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce. The event is part of the programme of the Bulgarian delegation led by President Rumen Radev, which includes government and business representatives. The forum was attended by 15 Bulgarian and 30 local companies.
“Such events are the basis for establishing long-term partnerships and I am sure that with the political commitment at the highest level that we see today, it is only a matter of time to achieve even better results in the economic cooperation between our two countries,” Minister Stojanov said. He pointed out that the figures for the first six months of 2022 continue the trend of growth in bilateral trade – by 18% or a total of USD 83.2 million. “Bulgarian exports account for about two-thirds of the trade, and a positive trend is that a significant share of them are products of mechanical engineering; electrical equipment and medical supplies,” he added.
According to the economic minister, there is a huge untapped potential between the two countries, which could be overcome with more such bilateral meetings. “The world is in a series of crises, but each of them is also an opportunity – including to expand ties with well-known partners such as Bulgaria and the UAE,” Nikola Stojanov said.
During the official visit Minister Nikola Stojanov signed two Memoranda of Cooperation – in the field of agriculture and tourism.
Negotiations on the conclusion of an Agreement for the Promotion and Mutual Protection of Investments between the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Government of the United Arab Emirates are at the final stage, Minister Stojanov said. “The lack of this agreement is a significant obstacle to the implementation of more Arab investments in our country,” he added. Work on the strategic document has been intensified in the two countries in recent weeks, and its formal signing is expected as soon as possible.
“Bulgaria is a destination with huge potential for Arab companies – both because of its strategic position and access to the single European market. Against this backdrop, investments from the UAE last year amounted to only 3.1 million euros,” Minister Stojanov underscored. In his words, one of the reasons for such low figures is the lack of this document.
“There have been dozens of visits of Bulgarian institutions and businesses and every time there has been a presentation of really big projects for investment the question of this agreement has been raised. However, nothing has been done to establish this administrative basis for the development of our economic relations,” Nikola Stojanov said and stressed that for the first time the two countries are united on specific texts that will be included in the future Agreement.
“Against the backdrop of billions of investments in some European countries, the total value of the projects of UAE companies in Bulgaria amounts to 129.3 million euros. I hope that after the signing of this document we will increase these values several times,” Minister Stojanov further said.
President Rumen Radev’s official delegation also included Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport and Communications Hristo Alexiev, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikolay Milkov, Minister of Innovation and Growth Alexander Pulev and others.