Iranian and Bulgarian chambers of commerce have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that paves the way for the creation of a joint economic committee between the two countries.
Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) Vice President Hossein Selah Varzi and Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) President Tsvetan Simeonov signed the document during the 19th session of the Bulgarian–Iranian Intergovernmental Commission for Economic, Industrial, Trade and Technical Cooperation, in Sofia last Friday.
The memorandum allows the two organizations to cooperate to create better conditions for partnership between Bulgarian and Iranian companies, as well as to promote and diversify trade in various sectors, according to the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce website.
“We are ready to support any specific business initiatives in order to help companies from both countries understand the existing trade and investment potential”, said Tsvetan Simeonov at the luxurious Hotel Balkan in the Bulgarian capital.
Selah Varzi was leading a large business delegation that included companies operating in heavy machine building, chemical industry, manufacture of fertilizers, pharmaceutical and food industry, mining, energy production, transport, cosmetics industry, electronics and electrical engineering, ICT, agriculture, and construction.
“Creation of the joint trade commission between Iran and Bulgaria promises development of bilateral trade between the two countries in future,” the ICCIMA VP said.
The renewed US sanctions on Iran have strangulated Tehran’s international banking relations with the world. That’s why Europe put in place a Special Trade Vehicle (SPV), called Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) to ease transaction of non-sanctioned goods with Iran. However, months after its establishment in January, it hasn’t been functional yet.
Selah Varzi expressed hope the mechanism start work sooner, calling on the Bulgarian banks to accept Iranian surety bonds.
Further expansion of Iran-Bulgaria ties
Iranian Roads and Urban Development Minister Mohammad Eslami, who co-chaired the joint Iran-Bulgaria commission along with Bulgarian Transport, Information Technology and Communications Minister Rossen Jeliazkov, said several more Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) in maritime and port, air, land, post and standard cooperation were signed between the two countries.
“Bulgari’s growing GDP since 2010 and its special financial situation has made it one of the best countries for investment and it can be used as an important transit hub that connects Asia with Europe, North Africa and even Russia,” Deputy Bulgarian Transport Minister Anguel Popov said.
He added that Iranian knowledge-based companies can have bases in Sofia Tech Park.
Earlier, during Bulgaria-Iran joint business forum, the ICCIMA VP called for more cooperation between Iranian and Bulgarian dairy companies. “Iran’s Animal Husbandry Industry is growing and has been able to get a good share of the Iraqi and Afghan markets. That’s why we want two countries’ dairy companies share their experiences and expertise,” Selah Varzi said.
Vice president of Iran Chamber of Commerce also said that many Iranian and Bulgarian companies can cooperate in extraction of some medicinal plants. “Cultivating medicinal plants, especially rose, has been growing and developing recently in Iran,” Selah Varzi noted, saying that Iranian firms can use Bulgaria’s technology and expertise in extraction of medicinal plants.
Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA) Vice President Dimiter Brankov said the association has devised several plans in producing organic plants especially rose flower to meet the European Unión demands. “We can have good cooperation in this regard,” he added.
Also, Economic Counsellor at the Iranian Embassy Ali Akbar Rezaei said Iran has proposed that Bulgarian companies, engaged in rose agriculture, visit Iran.
“We value much the Iranian industry. We were the first association that had a meeting about new business opportunities with Iran right after the sanctions were removed [in 2016],” Veselin Iliev, Director of the International Economic Relations Center at BIA said during the meeting.
Joint Ventures in Plovdiv
According to the ICCIMA VP, Iran and Bulgaria need to create Joint Ventures in a beed to develop bilateral ties.
Selah Varzi also visited Bulgaria’s second largest city Plovdiv to hold talks with its city council members. The city is home to Trakia Economic Zone, an industrial and commercial area and one of the biggest economic projects in Bulgaria.
The industrial zone’s representative said many Chinese and Turkish companies have already invested in the area as it offers good financial incentives.