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SOFIA, February 06. /ITAR-TASS/. Bulgaria and Belarus are set to restore full-fledged trade and economic cooperation.
The two countries made such a decision on Thursday at a meeting of the intergovernmental commission for trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation that took place in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, for the first time after a five-year break.
“This five-year hiatus is quite unclear for us, especially taking into account the fact that our countries have friendly and pragmatic relations,” Belarusian Deputy Foreign Minister Elena Kupchina told Itar-Tass. “We state that the potential of our trade and economic cooperation is serious, but it is not being tapped. Even business contacts between our countries strongly slowed, because business received no signals from the government that it was necessary to boost cooperation.”
“Today I found out with surprise that a significant number of Belarusian goods was supplied to Bulgaria through Russia. Therefore the main task of the intergovernmental commission is to restore relations, give a fresh impetus to the work at the intergovernmental level and maximally encourage business circles to cooperate in the future,” she said.
In January-September 2013 Bulgaria’s direct investments into the Belarusian economy reached $5.4 million. Sixty-three joint ventures were registered in Belarus. Bulgaria is among Belarus’s 50 major trade partners. The highest trade turnover between the countries was registered in 2008.
Bulgaria exports mainly medicines, spare parts for motor vehicles and tractors, and food commodities to Belarus. Sopharma, one of the leading pharmaceuticals company in Bulgaria, has already invested into the development of a retail network of pharmacies in Belarus.