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News 21 Aug 17

Bulgaria Reopens Commercial Service in Macedonia

Following the historic signing of a friendship treaty, Bulgaria has decided to reopen its commercial and economic service in the Macedonian capital, aiming to boost business ties between the two countries.

Mariya Cheresheva
BIRN
Sofia
Bulgaria's cemmercial and economy service will re-open in Skopje. Photo: Chet Kroom/Flickr

In a move to boost economic links between Bulgaria and Macedonia, Bulgaria's economy ministry has decided to re-launch the activities of its commerial and economy service in Skopje, which was closed in December 2015, its press office told BIRN in a statement.

A procedure to appoint Bulgarian representatives to be sent to the Macedonian capital has been launched, the ministry added.

The main functions of the commercial and economic service would be to encourage exports to Macedonia and help Bulgarian companies find Macedonian business partners and niches for their products and services.

The decision to restart the work of its business representation in Skopje comes after the prime ministers of the two countries signed a landmark friendship treaty on August 1.

This envisages Bulgaria supporting Macedonia's bid to join NATO and the EU, improving trade and transport infrastructure and easing customs and border formalities. 

Bulgaria and Macedonia also signed memorandums to build a railway connection between Sofia and Skojpe and for a partnership in the supply of natural gas.

According to the Ministry of Economy, Bulgaria is the sixth largest foreign investor in Macedonia.

In 2016, Bulgarian firms invested 5.9 million euros in the Macedonian market. Macedonian investments in Bulgaria amounted that year to 2.5 million euros.

Bulgarian investments are concentrated in banking and insurance, metallurgy, the food industry, IT and telecommunications and the hotel businesses.

“The interest of Bulgarian companies to invest in Macedonia is constant, while we expect that now the political crisis in the country [Macedonia] has been overcome, the conditions for foreign investors offered by the Macedonian government will improve significantly,” the ministry commented.

Macedonian companies are also eying potential investment in Bulgaria, which offers them easy access to the European market.

The ministry added that opportunities exist to set up joint Bulgarian-Macedonian companies in the fields of agriculture, food, energy, transport, telecommunications, and construction.

Trade between the two neighbouring countries grew by 2.1 per cent  in 2016 to a total of nearly 640 million euros, nearly 400 million euros of which was generated by Bulgarian exports to Macedonia.

“Macedonia is an important economic partner, considering the advantages of the Macedonian market for Bulgarian companies, such as low transport costs and requirements for goods that are similar to those of the Bulgarian market,” the ministry commented.

Bulgaria hopes to export more goods with a higher added value to Macedonia, such as computer elements, machines, electronic components and vehicles.

 

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