Bulgarian and Turkish companies aim at reaching annual bilateral trade worth USD 10 B, stated the head of the Turkish-Bulgarian Business Council Yalcin Egemen at a business forum organized during the visit of Turkish President Abdullah Gul to Bulgaria.
At the forum, which attracted over 50 Turkish companies, the President of the Turkish-Bulgarian Business Council, Yalcin Egemen said there is real potential for the trade between the two countries to grow tremendously.
Egemen pointed out that in 2011 the bilateral trade is expected to be USD 4 B after it topped USD 3 B in 2010.
Data of the InvestBulgaria Agency ranks Turkey 19th by the amount invested in the country. The Turkish investments in Bulgaria to date amount to EUR 700 M, while 334 Bulgarian companies are active in Turkey.
According to data of the Turkish-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 816 000 Bulgarians traveled to Turkey in 2010, while only 45 000 Turkish citizens visited Bulgaria.
The Turkish business requested from Bulgaria once again assistance in lifting the visa regime and improving conditions at the border to ease the passing of Turkish trucks.
"We request easier procedures for crossing borders," declared in Sofia M. Rifat Hisarciklioglu, President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey and Vice President of Eurochambers, as cited by BGNES.
Hisarciklioglu described Turkey as an "economic tiger" because of its economic growth against the backdrop of the situation in neighboring countries.
In his words, the Turkish business views Bulgaria's as a "door to the EU". He has also pointed out that the goal of the companies in the two countries should be to reach a bilateral trade exchange worth USD 10 B.
Several years ago when we promised one another to reach USD 1 B in bilateral trade between Bulgaria and Turkey, from the then level of USD 920 M, I actually exaggerated by saying I will throw a party when this happens. Unfortunately, I haven't lived up to this commitment of mine but I am ready to come for the party for the trade worth USD 10 B, which has already been set as an ambitious goal – but a plausible one, as far as I am concerned,” Bulgarian President Parvanov declared.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul in turn has underscored Bulgaria's key role as Turkey's door to the European markets. He emphasized that Turkey is a very large market with a well-developed economy, and one of the G-20 countries. He pointed out that in the first quarter of 2011 the Turkish economy grew by 11%, after growing over 8% in 2010.
Responding to requests over the visa and border crossing issue raised by the Turkish business delegation, Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov said during his joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul that Bulgaria is following the EU visa rules and requirements.
The business forum in Sofia was organized by the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) together with Turkey's Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), and the Turkish-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.