Iran, Bulgaria private sectors agree to create joint trade committee, develop economic ties

Iranian and Bulgarian chambers of commerce signed the memorandum in a bid to open the grounds for the creation of a an economic committee that facilitates private sector trade between the two countries.

24 April 2019
ID : 21942
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Iranian and Bulgarian chambers of commerce signed the memorandum in a bid to open the grounds for the creation of a an economic committee that facilitates private sector trade between the two countries.

Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) Vice President Hossein Selah Varzi, right, shakes hands with Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) President Tsvetan Simeonov following singing of an MoU on private sector economic cooperation in Sofia on 19 April (Credit: Iran Chamber Newsroom)

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.  

Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) Vice President Hossein Selah Varzi, 2nd from right, and Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) President Tsvetan Simeonov sign MoU in Sofia on Friday 19 April. (Credit: Bulgaria Transport, Information Technology and Communications Ministry)

“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.

Iranian Roads and Urban Development Minister Mohammad Eslami, right, shakes hands with his Bulgarin counterpart Rossen Jeliazkov following signing of several MoUs in Sofia on Friday 19 April. (Credit: Bulgaria Transport, Information Technology and Communications Ministry)  

“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.

19th session of the Bulgarian–Iranian Intergovernmental Commission for Economic, Industrial, Trade and Technical Cooperation took place in Hotel Balkan in Sofia on 19 April. (Credit: Bulgaria Transport, Information Technology and Communications Ministry)  

Dairy products

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.

Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) Vice President Hossein Selah Varzi, 2nd from left, and Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) President Tsvetan Simeonov, middle, take part in Bulgaria-Iran joint business forum (Credit: Iran Chamber Newsroom)  

Medicinal plants

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.

Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) Vice President Hossein Selah Varzi, left middle, holds talks with Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA) Vice President Dimiter Brankov in Sofia (Credit: Iran Chamber Newsroom)

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 bid to develop bilateral ties.

Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) Vice President Hossein Selah Varzi, 2nd from right, sits next to Savina Petkova, Plovdiv City Council Chairman (Credit: Iran Chamber Newsroom)  

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.

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