50 Years of Diplomatic Relations between Bulgaria and AustraliaDiplomacy | December 13, 2022, Tuesday // 14:33| views
50 years of diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and Australia and a huge potential for the development of trade relations.
On the occasion of 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and the Australian Union, the Bulgarian-Australian Business Chamber (BABC) gathered in Sofia diplomats and companies that develop relations between the two countries. The event was attended by members of the chamber, business representatives, line ministries and directorates, as well as representatives of other mixed chambers.
According to data from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Bulgarian community in Australia numbers between 10,000 and 15,000 people, and more than 5,000 people live in New Zealand. The trade potential between the two countries, however, despite the great potential, is still underdeveloped. BABC makes a targeted effort to support this process by creating business contacts and assisting in the exchange of economic, legal, educational and other information.
Trade relations between Australia and the European Union, which is the second largest trading partner for the continent-state, have the opportunity to develop even more due to the fact that in October 2022 the Framework Trade Agreement entered into force, which was signed back in 2017 The agreement aims to promote European companies' exports to Australia by offering them a level playing field with countries that have signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It introduces trade and sustainable development regulations with a shared commitment to labor rights and environmental protection, protects the EU's distinctive regional food and drink from imitations in Australia, and also allows EU companies to participate more actively in the proceedings on public procurement in Australia. This process will certainly be pushed forward also after the signing of the Free Trade Agreement with the EU, the negotiations for which are expected to end in 2023.
In 2021, according to the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, exports from Bulgaria were worth a total of 85.2 million Australian dollars, and the sector with the largest contribution to exports was the copper industry (55.4 million Australian dollars). Imports to Bulgaria are worth 95.7 million Australian dollars, with the largest share being medicines (with the highest share of 7.9 million Australian dollars), cheeses, electrical equipment, vegetable fats, etc. For Bulgaria, in terms of exports, Australia ranks only in 65th place among the country's trading partners, and in terms of imports - in 41st place. Considering the size of the market, these figures can certainly be changed by strengthening business contacts between the two countries and establishing new sectors in bilateral trade.
BABC was established in 2018. The purpose of the organization is to support trade and investment interest in Bulgaria from Australia and vice versa. Its members include the main Australian investors in Bulgaria, as well as many Bulgarian companies that have entered or are entering the Australian market. A great advantage of the Chamber is that it is an active member of the Australian Business in Europe (ABIE) network of all bilateral European-Australian Chambers. This allows its members to participate in events that take place outside Bulgaria, as well as to be informed about everything that is happening in the trade negotiations between Brussels and Canberra. The Chamber also maintains close contacts with the Embassy of the Australian Union in Athens, as well as with the Australian investment agency Austrade.
Australia should be seen not only as a distant exotic destination known for its wild and unique nature, but also as a large market for goods and services that can stimulate exports. In addition, as part of the European Union, Bulgaria has many Australian investments in areas such as energy, mining, information technology, industry, agriculture and winemaking and many others.
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