Moscow, 25 October – Denis Manturov, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, together with Temenuzhka Petkova, Minister of Energy of the Republic of Bulgaria, chaired the 16th Russian-Bulgarian Intergovernmental Commission meeting on Economic, Scientific, and Technical Cooperation.
The meeting was preceded by talks between the head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia and the Minister of Energy, who is also co-chair of the Intergovernmental Commission. The two sides discussed topical issues in Russia–Bulgaria relations.
Russia is among Bulgaria’s top five major trading partners. The head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia noted that bilateral trade increased by 23.5% to USD 3.4 billion in 2017, and emphasized that Russia expects this trend to continue in the current year.
According to the Minister, in addition to trade, Russia is actively seeking to develop investment cooperation with Bulgaria, including the implementation of major infrastructure projects in the oil and gas sector, such as, for example, the acquisition and modernization of the Neftochim Burgas, the largest refinery in the Balkans, by the LUKOIL Group.
“We are also actively working together on the construction and modernization of electric power and transport infrastructure in Bulgaria. In particular, the Russian company, Rakurs, and Bulgaria’s CERB agreed to cooperate in developing a comprehensive monitoring system for thermal power stations, which is to be implemented at power facilities in Bulgaria, Russia, and other countries,” noted Denis Manturov.
Cooperation in the construction of new hydro-infrastructure and nuclear energy facilities also holds great potential.
“On our part, we look forward to our Bulgarian partners’ new projects on setting up their production sites in Russia. Our country provides foreign investors with a wide range of incentives, preferential tax regimes and assistance in infrastructure access,” said the head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia.
One of the most critical areas of cooperation is the automotive industry. Russian manufacturers are thriving in Bulgaria; vehicles made by AvtoVAZ and KAMAZ in particular are traditionally in high demand in Bulgaria.
“We are also ready to expand the range of equipment supplied, for example, of the special URAL vehicles for the resources industries,” the Minister emphasized.
The potential of mutually beneficial cooperation in the agricultural machinery industry was also discussed during the meeting. Bulgaria is already purchasing Russian grain and forage harvesters, mowers, and cultivators.
“Without a doubt, our major agricultural machinery producers are poised for expanding the range of equipment supplied along with extending the service network. At the same time, our governments are considering the potential for cooperation in tourism, culture, and sports,” concluded Denis Manturov.
Both Ministers noted the success of the Russia–Bulgaria business forum organized by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation in cooperation with the Executive Agency for Promotion of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Bulgaria.
In conclusion, the Minister invited his Bulgarian colleagues to participate in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which will take place on 6–8 June 2019, as well as in the International Industrial Fair, INNOPROM.
The meeting resulted in the signing of the Protocol of the 16th Russian-Bulgarian Intergovernmental Commission meeting on Economic, Scientific, and Technical Cooperation, as well as the Tourism Cooperation Programme 2019–2021.