Online Joint Business Forum between the business communities of Pakistan and Bulgaria
The Embassy of Pakistan in Bulgaria in collaboration with the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) organized the first-ever Online Joint Business Forum between the business communities of Pakistan and Bulgaria. Around 100 prominent companies from different sectors of the economy participated in the event from both sides.
At the start of the event, Mr. Tsvetan Simeonov, President of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry thanked the Embassy of Pakistan in Sofia, FPCCI and TDAP for collaborating and hosting this important and long-awaited event. He said that the Bulgarian economy had shown strong resilience in fighting the challenges posed by COVID-19 last year and its GDP contracted by only 4.5% despite initial estimates of 10%. He said that Bulgaria was on his way to strong recovery and the outlook of the economy for 2021 was very positive. While underscoring the importance of effective and strong business linkages, he highlighted a number of sectors, especially food, textiles, surgical instruments, pharmaceuticals and sports good, where the business communities of the two countries could collaborate to further strengthen their bilateral relations.
Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Mariam Aftab, Ambassador of Pakistan to the Republic of Bulgaria thanked the BCCI, TDAP and FPCCI for providing full cooperation to the Embassy in hosting the event. While highlighting the existing warm and cordial bilateral relations, she said that the current volume of bilateral trade between the two countries was not commensurate with the actual potential that exists and that the Embassy was working closely with the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy, Bulgarian as well as other regional chambers of commerce and industries, Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency (SMEPA) and other private entities to improve it. She also highlighted the policies and incentives of the Government of Pakistan to attract Foreign Direct Investment in Pakistan through Pakistan’s ‘Investment Policy 2020’. The Ambassador underscored that the business communities of the two countries could learn from each other’s experiences and best practices through mutual investments and transfer of technology. While congratulating the FPCCI and BCCI on signing the MoU for Establishment of Joint Business Council, the Ambassador hoped that this initiative would go a long way in establishing much-needed linkages and contacts between the business communities of the two countries.
Mr. Ahsan Ali Mangi, Secretary (TDAP) and Mr. Nasir Khan, Vice President, FPCCI also delivered their remarks on the occasion, highlighting the historic ties between the two countries and emphasizing on the need of revitalizing the bilateral trade and investment relations. They said that the two countries should take full advantage of their potential locations and collaborate with each other by launching joint ventures for benefit of people and business circles in the two countries. It was also proposed that the relevant organizations of the two countries may prepare a detailed three-year Plan of Action for undertaking trade enhancement activities in a planned and phased manner.
During the event, detailed presentations were given by Invest Bulgaria, TDAP and Board of Investment of Pakistan on trade and investment opportunities in the two countries. FPCCI and BCCI also signed an MoU on the Establishment of Joint Business Council (JBC) between Pakistan and Bulgaria on the occasion.
The event was followed by a Question/Answer session during which business communities from both sides not only showed a keen interest by asking relevant questions but also put forward detailed suggestions for establishing strong business linkages which included, but were not limited to: hosting of a virtual exhibition and B-2-B meetings in May/June 2021, visits of sector-specific trade delegations to Bulgaria, exchange of information relating to main exporters/importers of specific products, launching of a website/joint window for trade-related queries by JBC, and holding of physical exhibition of mangoes, citrus fruit, textiles and surgical instruments (when COVID-19 situation improves) in Sofia.
At the end of event, it was decided that the FPCCI and BCCI would further collaborate to formulate a list of activities (both physical and virtual) which the two organizations could undertake ahead in collaboration with the Embassy of Pakistan in Bulgaria.
MoFA Spokesperson Shah Mahmood Qureshi Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria InvestBulgaria Agency Bulgarian News Agency /BTA/ – English Service Novini.bg The Sofia Globe Monitor.bg FPCCI FPCCI United Business Group