Bulgaria Enjoyed Positive Trade Balance with Turkey in 2010Business | February 25, 2011, Friday // 17:11| views
Turkish PM Erdogan (left) and Bulgarian PM Borisov in Sofia in October 2010. Photo by BGNES
The trade between Bulgaria and Turkey grew by 60% in 2010, according to official Turkish figures, the Turkish-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry announced.
According to the Turkish statistics announced by the commercial counselor of the Turkish Embassy in Sofia Zafer Soylu, Bulgaria's exports to Turkey amounted to EUR 1.5 B in 2010, while its imports from Turkey were worth EUR 1.1 B. The data from the Bulgarian statistical institution has not been made available yet.
Bulgaria exports to Turkey mostly raw materials and mineral resources and imports consumer goods, Soylu explained. The most demanded Bulgarian goods in Turkey are cooper, lead, and scrap iron. Half of the unprocessed lead that Bulgaria exports goes to Turkey, as does one third of the zinc and one fourth of the copper.
According to data of the Bulgarian National Bank for the first nine months of 2010, Bulgaria's exports to Turkey grew by 60%, while its imports from Turkey increased by 12%. According to the Turkish commercial counselor in Sofia, the bilateral trade is growing largely thanks to the recovery in Turkey, whose economy grew by 8.9% in 2010.
The peak of the Bulgarian-Turkish trade was in 2008 when it amounted to a total of EUR 3.2 B, only to drop by 40% down to EUR 1.7 B in 2009; the 60% growth in 2010 brought it to EUR 2.6 B.
Soylu has pointed out that tourism is one of the fields with a great potential for growth on part of Bulgaria.
"We have a large number of Turkish tourists wishing to visit Bulgaria, especially the Black Sea resorts, the winter resorts, the spa and cultural tourism spots. The problem lies with the visa regime, which hinders most Turkish citizens from traveling. We believe that if it is dropped or eased considerably, there will be a substantial growth of Turkish tourists... For example, we have 12 ski resorts in Turkey but the Bulgarian ski resorts are better developed and with a larger capacity," Soylu has explained as cited by the Dnevnik daily.
Only 26 000 Turkish tourists visited Bulgaria in 2010 vs. 816 000 Bulgarians who went to Turkey.
The Turkish-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry forecasts a 1% GDP growth for Bulgaria in 2010, and a growth of 3%-3.5% in 2011, which is close to the official estimate of the Bulgarian government of 3.6%.
If these growth figures are reached, it is very likely that in 2011 the Bulgarian-Turkish trade will surpass the peak from 2008, according to the chair of the Chamber Timur Halilov.