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Pakistan, Bulgaria need to explore opportunities: Envoy

Ambassador of Bulgaria Irena Gancheva

LAHORE, FEB 26 /DNA/ – Ambassador of Bulgaria Irena Gancheva has said that Pakistan and Bulgaria need to explore opportunities for collaboration as the potential between both countries is not being utilized.

Bulgaria offers collaboration and business opportunities in various sectors including food processing, agriculture, IT and new technologies. She was speaking to the business community here at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Monday. LCCI President Kashif Anwar, Senior Vice President Zafar Mahmood Chaudhry also spoke on the occasion. Executive Committee Members Raja Hassan Akhter, Mian Attiq ur Rehman, Ahmed Elahi and Mohammad Tauqeer Malik were also present.

The Ambassador said that the bilateral figures of trade between Pakistan and Bulgaria need to be improved. She said that new trends are also being observed in trade between both countries as Bulgaria is exporting wheat and importing mainly textile items from Pakistan as this is the case of whole of the European Union.

She also gave in depth information about Bulgaria which has been an EU member since 2007. She said that Bulgaria offers a favorable taxation system for the investors and with strong traditions, it provides access to all EU markets with 1.3 billion customers.

The Ambassador said that Bulgaria is very good in Information Technology, automotive, mechanical engineering, electronics, mechatronics and robotics and also provides very low operational costs. Bulgaria is also very strong in manufacturing, plastic and rubber products.

She said that Bulgaria has top ten fastest internet mobile with world class artificial research. She emphasized on exploring more opportunities to diversify trade and partnerships. She said that as a member of the EU, Bulgaria is also part of GSP Plus arrangements. She said that she will also share the information with the Lahore Chamber regarding international exhibitions in Bulgaria during this year.

LCCI President Kashif Anwar said that Pakistan and Bulgaria enjoy cordial diplomatic, political and economic relations. Bulgaria has been giving continued support to Pakistan for the GSP Plus status which played a very important role in enhancing Pakistan’s exports to the European Union (EU).

He said that Bulgaria is an important economy. Its strategic location serves as a gateway for Pakistani products to enter the European Union (EU) market. He said that strengthening trade ties with Bulgaria opens up avenues for Pakistani exporters to expand their reach into the EU market.

The LCCI President said it is important to recognize the immense opportunities that lie ahead in enhancing trade and economic relations between our two countries. We need to make some concerted efforts to boost the bilateral trade to at least One billion dollars in the near future.

Kashif Anwar said that the volume of Bulgaria’s total global trade is around 108 billion dollars whereas Pakistan’s share in it is merely 80 million dollars. He said that it does not reflect the actual potential of bilateral trade. Pakistan exports bed-linen, woven fabrics, cotton yarn, tobacco, medical appliances and rice etc., to Bulgaria and our imports consist of wheat, worn clothing, tobacco and parts of tractors etc.

He said that there is a considerable scope for Bulgaria to enhance its imports of citrus fruits, mangoes, value added textiles, sports goods, leather products, 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 sector, Tourism and Agriculture Technology. There is also tremendous potential of cooperation in education sector by developing collaborations between Pakistani and Bulgarian universities and arranging exchanges of faculty and students.

The LCCI President informed the Ambassador about the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) established by the government of Pakistan to primarily focus on expediting new investments in five areas including defence, agriculture, minerals, information technology, telecommunication and energy.

He hoped that the Ambassador would apprise the investors from Bulgaria about these investment opportunities in Pakistan under SIFC. The government of Punjab is making an all-out effort to improve business climate in the province by facilitating international and national investors through one window operations in the Business Facilitation Centres.

Kashif Anwar 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.

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