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LAHORE: Ambassador of Bulgaria to Pakistan Ms Irena Gancheva has said that Pakistan and Bulgaria can be the most advantageous gate ways for each other to enter Asian and European markets respectively.

She was speaking at a meeting at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir presented the address of welcome and talked at length about the trade and economic relations between the two countries. LCCI Vice President Haris Ateeq also spoke on the occasion.

The Ambassador said that though the substantial increase in bilateral trade has been witnessed this year as compared to the previous one but still a lot of room is available. He said that both the countries have historic and good diplomatic relations which should be reflected in trade.

She said that the meeting of Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation will be held next year while there will also be exchange of trade delegations.

She added that Information Technology sector in Bulgaria is well established. The country is also abundant with the skilled human resources. She said that there are vast investment opportunities available in Bulgaria which must be availed by the Pakistani businessmen through joint ventures with their Bulgarian counterparts.

LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir said that Pakistan and Bulgaria enjoy cordial diplomatic, political and economic relations. He said that Bulgaria has been giving continued support to Pakistan for GSP Plus status which has critical importance in boosting Pakistan-EU trade relations.

He said that according to the State Bank of Pakistan Statistics, the total trade volume between Pakistan and Bulgaria was around $44 million in 2019-20 which went up to $115 million in 2020-21 due to increase in both imports and exports. During that period, the exports slightly moved up from $30 million in 2019-20 to $37 million in 2020-21 while imports surged from $14 million to $78 million in the same period.

The LCCI President said that in the first four months of the current financial year (July-October 2021), Pakistan’s exports to Bulgaria stood at around $13 million while the imports stood at around $4.6 million.

He said that the volume of Bulgaria’s total global trade is around $67 billion whereas Pakistan’s share is merely $115 million in it. You will agree with me that it does not reflect the actual potential of bilateral trade. There is considerable potential to take the bilateral trade volume to at least $1 billion.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that Pakistan exports bed-linen, woven fabrics, resins, cotton yarn, tobacco, medical appliances and rice etc., to Bulgaria and our imports consist of wheat, dried vegetables, worn clothing, parts of tractors and unwrought zinc etc.

He said that there is a considerable scope for Bulgaria to enhance its imports of citrus fruit, mangoes, rice, value added textiles, dates, furniture and marble etc. from Pakistan.

He said that the potential areas where Pakistan and Bulgaria can enhance economic cooperation through Joint Ventures (JVs) are information technology, food processing, automotive, livestock, tourism and agriculture technology.

LCCI Vice President Haris Ateeq said that there is a great need to connect the private sectors of both countries for exploiting the potential opportunities. It can be done through exchange of export oriented delegations and participation in trade fairs and exhibitions.

LCCI Executive Committee Members Naeem Hanif, Shamim Akhter, Ahmad Elahi, Shahzad Butt, Mian Ateeq-ur-Rehman, Muhammad Yousaf Shah, Mardan Ali Zaidi, Malik Muhammad Nadeem and former Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad were also present in the meeting.

Meanwhile, Ambassador of Egypt Tarek Dahroug has said the both countries are making serious efforts for establishing business council to facilitate the business community.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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