Trade between Bulgaria and Turkey for the first 11 months of 2022 is at a record high level - about 7 billion euros. We have the strong ambition and motivation for this exchange of goods to reach 10 billion euros in the medium term, and we have all the prerequisites to achieve it. This was stated by the Minister of Innovation and Growth Alexander Pulev to representatives of Turkish companies in one of the largest industrial zones in Istanbul - "Birlik".
Minister Pulev visited the "Birlik" Industrial Zone together with the delegation, which includes representatives of Bulgarian municipalities and businessmen. Both local and foreign companies operate in the zone. It was established in 2012 and has more than 80 factories in the sectors of mechanical engineering, automotive engineering, chemical industry, etc. The annual export of its companies is 500 million US dollars, and more than 4,000 people work there.
Pulev pointed out that the Republic of Turkey is one of the main foreign trade investors and partners for our country. "At the moment there is a very strong political will and very good economic prerequisites to strengthen this dialogue", he added. The Minister of Innovation and Growth reminded that about a month ago there was a meeting at the highest level between the presidents of the two countries Radev and Erdogan. "Based on their discussion, we were able to negotiate a historic agreement between our two countries. There, the topic was energy, but this gave us a lift, a very strong pull, which we want to use from the point of view of the development of the economic dialogue," he added.
Minister Pulev invited the companies from the Industrial Zone to attend a business forum organized by the Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises at MIG on February 16 in Burgas. "The topic will again be the interaction between Bulgarian and Turkish business," the minister added.
During the visit of the Bulgarian delegation to the "Birlik" Industrial Zone, a Memorandum of Partnership was signed between BAI and the Zone in Istanbul. It was signed by the executive director of the Bulgarian Investment Agency, Bogdan Bogdanov, and by the chairman of the Management Board of the Birlik Industrial Zone, Shenol Telli. The memorandum will encourage cooperation in the direction of identifying good practices and confirming competitive models for the construction and development of economic zones in Bulgaria, as well as partnership through joint participation in international projects and programs. It aims to contribute to the deepening of economic ties between the countries by facilitating the stable development of foreign direct investment.
Minister Pulev emphasized that the development of industrial zones is one of the key priorities for Bulgaria. "MIG very actively supports industrial zones. At the moment, in the most effective way, we are programming a measure under the Recovery Plan, which will be available to all strategic operators of industrial zones in Bulgaria in the amount of BGN 212 million. According to him, we can take a lot of good practices from Turkish industrial zones. "At least 5 priority operators of industrial zones in Bulgaria will become beneficiaries under the procedure that we will open", announced the minister and added that the grant is to improve the overall infrastructure and working conditions in the respective zones.
During the visit to the "Birlik" Industrial Zone, Minister Pulev visited part of the production of the Turkish holding Sarkuysan A.S., which is the largest producer of copper in our southern neighbor. Through Sark Bulgaria, the subsidiary of the Turkish company, the holding has production facilities in Shumen since 2017. Two projects have already been implemented in Bulgaria, which have received certificates under the Investment Promotion Law from BAI. The total amount of investments in the certified projects so far is BGN 23.5 million.
On the second day of Pulev's visit to our southern neighbor, the Turkish investors highlighted as impressive the presence of three Bulgarian ministers in the delegation and declared great interest in investments in Bulgaria. They indicated that they rely on support from the Bulgarian side to secure qualified workers and shared the practices of other European countries for work visas with different time frames, according to the needs of the enterprises.