Bulgaria and the United Arab Emirates advanced the long-awaited Agreement for the Promotion and Mutual Protection of Investments between the two countries. According to the Acting Minister of Economy and Industry, Nikola Stoyanov, it is the lack of the strategic document, which has been talked about and insisted on for a long time, that is perhaps the main obstacle to not having more and bigger Arab projects in the country.
Dozens of visits to Bulgarian institutions and businesses have been carried out, and every time there was a presentation of really large investment projects, the question of this agreement was raised. However, nothing has been done to establish this administrative basis for the development of our economic relations,” commented Stoyanov, quoted in a press release of the economic department.
It states that work on the agreement has deepened in recent weeks, and its formal signing is expected as soon as possible.
Bulgaria is seen as a destination with potential – due to its strategic geographical location and access to the single European market – which, however, the governments have so far failed to realize to any extent. As for the UAE’s interest in the region, the news of the last year is indicative.
One is from November 2021, when it became clear that the emirates were creating a fund of 10 billion dollars for investments in Turkey. The second is more recent and relevant, especially against the background of the raging energy crisis on the continent. It is from May this year and is for an agreement concluded between neighboring Greece and the UAE for investments for 4 billion euros in the sector of renewable sources.
Against the background of billions of investments in some European countries, the total value of the projects of companies from the UAE in our country amounts to 129.3 million euros,” noted Minister Stoyanov.
Bulgaria – UAE trade
The UAE’s investments in Bulgaria last year amounted to EUR 3.1 million, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, the data for the first six months of 2022 confirm the growth trend of bilateral trade – by 18%, or a total of 83.2 million dollars. Bulgarian exports to the United Arab Emirates are twice as large as counter-imports.
Bulgarian exports account for about 2/3 of trade, and a positive trend is that a significant share of it is machine-building products; electrical equipment and consumables for medicine”, added Stoyanov.
The Minister of Economy is part of the official delegation of President Rumen Radev to the UAE. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport and Communications Hristo Alexiev, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikolay Milkov, the Minister of Innovation and Growth Alexander Pulev and others also participate in it.
During the visit, Minister Nikola Stoyanov signed two memorandums of cooperation – in the fields of agriculture and tourism.