Minister of Economy Bojidar Loukarsky and Pakistani Ambassador Muhammad Jamshaid Iftikhar have discussed at a meeting today the creation of a commerce incubator in the coastal city of Bourgas, which will serve all of Europe. The idea behind the incubator is to take advantage of Bulgaria’s favourable geographic location, being the closest EU Member State to Pakistan via land, and to increase trade between Pakistan and Europe.
Ambassador Iftikhar noted that among the advantages, for which Bulgaria was chosen for the project implementation, are the lower operational costs, the presence of qualified workers and the access to various logistics channels. Minister Loukarsky expressed readiness to provide the necessary institutional support for the project implementation. He noted that similar initiatives would help increase trade between the two countries as current trade scopes are significantly below our ability. Bilateral trade currently stands at USD 39 million, compared to USD 20 million just two years ago.
The two also discussed Pakistan’s plans to build a land transport connection to Bulgaria, which will provide a direct bridge with China. According to the Ambassador, such a project would optimize logistics not only for Pakistani goods, but for other Asian markets. A railway connection, for example, would cut delivery times by at least a half.
There is a potential to enhance trade and economic relationship between Bulgaria and Pakistan in many sectors. Bulgaria could export agricultural products, animal vaccines, pharmacy, and etc. At the same time, Pakistan is able to import in the Bulgarian market products such as cotton and surgical instruments, as was emerged at the meeting.
They discussed the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Bulgarian Investment Agency and Pakistan Investment Fund, as well as between agencies for small and medium-sized enterprises of the two countries. These measures are part of the initiatives arising from the agreement for economic cooperation dated 2011, as per which a founding meeting should be held in Sofia.
Minister Loukarsky took the opportunity to invite representatives of Pakistani leading business to visit Bulgaria, enabling the establishment of direct contacts between Bulgarian and Pakistani business. As Ambassador Iftikhar said, one of the main reasons for the low trading volume is the lack of awareness and non-recognition of Bulgaria as a source of opportunities for Pakistani business.