The President of BIA Radosvet Radev met with the newly appointed Bulgarian Ambassador to Ireland Gergana Karadjova. The meeting also included Veselin Iliev - Director of International Economic Relations Center at BIA.
Mrs. Karadjova’s visit took place several days before her official departure to Dublin and the purpose of the meeting was to exchange information on the possibilities for partnership and development of the Bulgarian-Irish economic relations.
In the course of the conversation it was stressed that the investment interest of the Irish business to Bulgaria is marginal and even in the last years there is a noticeable withdrawal of investments from our country (according to data from the Bulgarian National Bank for the period January-December of 2018 the value of the Irish investments in Bulgaria is negative, -63.8 million). Investments are mainly in the real estate, hotels and restaurants, financial intermediation, construction, trade, processing and mining, transport and communications. There are untapped opportunities to attract Irish investment in infrastructure, telecommunications and energy.
Data on trade is also unsatisfactory, which for the year 2018 amounts to EUR 235 million and the balance is negative for Bulgaria (EUR -39.6 million). Bulgaria exports to Ireland mainly cereals and petroleum oils and products. From Ireland we import mainly telecommunication equipment and pharmaceutical products. There is an untapped potential for exporting Bulgarian wines and bio products to the Irish market, Ambassador Karadjova said.
A positive trend is observed only in tourism, where in recent years the average annual growth of Irish tourists in Bulgaria is over 20%.
Representatives of BIA expressed a strong positive impression of the work of the state agency Enterprise Ireland. It was noted that the Irish institution has developed an extremely useful tool for assessing innovation capacity of enterprises - Innovation Health Check, for which there are only two licensed persons in Bulgaria, one of them being Veselin Iliev. Up until now, 10 Bulgarian startup companies have benefited from the tool’s capabilities.