Business Forum

Last updated: Monday, April 22, 2019


Vietnam - Bulgaria Business Forum: Multifaceted Cooperation

Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2018

More than 20 Bulgarian companies involved in industrial parks, engine greases, animal feeds/agricultural products, urban lighting, import and export insurance, organic products, food additive and organic cosmetic production consulting, immigration consulting, real estate, diesel and gas engine assembly and maintenance, transportation and warehousing, waste treatment technology and others met with Vietnamese partners at the Vietnam - Bulgaria Business Forum.

The gathering was jointly organised in Hanoi by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in cooperation with the Embassy of Bulgaria in Vietnam on the occasion of an official and business delegation of Bulgaria led by Minister of Economy Emil Karanikolov attending a meeting of the Vietnam - Bulgaria Intergovernmental Committee.

Addressing the forum, Dr Doan Duy Khuong, VCCI Vice President, said that Vietnam and Bulgaria have good long-term cooperative ties. During wartime, Bulgaria always provided valuable spiritual and material support and assistance to the Vietnamese people. About 1,000 Vietnamese students and skilled workers have studied and worked in Bulgaria since the 1980s. Thousands of Vietnamese officials and experts have been trained in Bulgaria and they are now invaluable shared assets of the two countries and valuable contributors to the development of Vietnam and Vietnam - Bulgaria relations as well.

On trade cooperation, despite positive progress, the two-way trade value remains modest. In the last five years, the bilateral trade has annually reached US$70 million on average. Bulgaria has eight valid direct investment projects with a total registered capital of US$31.42 million in Vietnam, including six wholly Bulgaria-invested projects with US$20.96 million (63 per cent of the registered fund) and two partly invested joint ventures with registered capital of US$10.46 million (37 per cent). Despite these positive signals, the outcomes are shy of both sides’ potential and aspirations.

Although it has a small economy with a population of about 7.5 million, Bulgaria has a strategic geo-political position - a gateway for Vietnam to approach and penetrate potential European markets, he said. Bulgaria's investment and trade growth in recent years provides an opportunity for Vietnamese investors and others around the world as a whole.

“This is the golden time for Vietnam and Bulgaria to work together to uplift their fine traditional relations to new highs, especially in economy, trade and investment focused on their strengths such as agriculture, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, information and communication technology, energy, education and training to create new breakthroughs. A promising field for the upcoming two-way cooperation is labour, as Bulgaria is experiencing a labour shortage in almost all sectors. Bulgaria is forecast to need 50,000 skilled workers and this is a very good opportunity for Vietnam, which has a young workforce and low labour costs relative to other markets,” Dr Khuong added.

To boost Vietnam - Bulgaria relationship to match potential and expectations of two countries’ leaders and peoples, the business communities should be active and creative to meet changing markets, he added.
The two sides should pay special attention to improving product quality on each other’s markets (Vietnam’s key exports to Bulgaria are cotton, coffee, rubber, cashew nut, and apparel while its main imports from Bulgaria are wheat, chemical, microbiological fertiliser, dried fruit, vegetable oil, veterinary medicine and plant protection chemicals). In addition, seeking cooperation opportunities in new fields, high technology and agriculture is the right way that businesses need to go.

Bulgarian businesses are potentially strong in pharmaceuticals, chemicals, mechanics, electronics, information services, telecommunications, agrotech, transportation, and advanced industries, said Bulgarian Economy Minister Emil Karanikolov, adding that they are seeking to cooperate with Vietnamese enterprises. To boost cooperation, the Government of Bulgaria is ready to create favourable conditions, support cooperation initiatives, strengthen business delegations, organise seminars and forums for both sides to better understand potential and development cooperation opportunities.

“Vietnamese companies can open a warehouse in Bulgaria where tax rates are among lowest in the European Union (EU). The country also has a highly skilled workforce, low transport costs and attractive trade and investment destinations. The government advocates building and maintaining an advantage to draw investors to Bulgaria. At present, Bulgaria has a very favourable investment policy in industrial parks and high-tech zones,” said Minister Emil Karanikolov.

According to Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung, to boost economic, trade and investment cooperation, Vietnamese and Bulgarian businesses should pay more attention to utilising each other’s potential and strengths. Enterprises of both nations lack information on markets, products, strengths, business culture, consumer culture and partner information of each other, resulting in low trade value.

At the same time, when they know more of each other’s markets, they should actively develop business and investment strategies in each market, strengthen trade and investment promotion through international exhibitions, seminars and fairs to bring each country’s strengths into full play, he said.

Anh Mai

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