India - Bulgaria Commercial and Economic India - Bulgaria Commercial and Economic

The first Trade and Rupee payment agreement between India and Bulgaria was signed in 1956. The two-way trade was switched from Rupee Trade to Freely Convertible Currency trade in January 1979.

Bilateral trade between two countries, after worldwide economic recession, has begun to revive as may be seen from the table below. However, there is still considerable untapped potential keeping in view Bulgaria’s geo-strategic location, EU membership and India’s strong economic growth and profile. Our trade with Bulgaria still reflects the traditional export basket of India which is not reflective of the true export profile of India of today. Indian businessmen have evinced interest in sectors like wine, pharmaceuticals, textiles, food-processing, steel, IT and education franchise etc. The Bulgarian businessmen are interested in enhancing economic and commercial relations with India. Bulgarian business delegations have been visiting India to explore trade and investment opportunities especially in the IT, defense, Hospitality and heavy engineering sectors.

The following table shows Bulgaria’s trade with India during the last five years:
                                                                                     (In Million US $)

Year 2012 2013 2014 2015
India’s Exports 156.98 168.10 266.45 145.53 240.09
India’s Imports 90.09 93.65 103.66 93.72 182.22

Total 247.07 261.75 370.11 239.26 422.31

(Source: Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, GOI)

Main items of India’s Exports: heterocyclic compounds; unwrought aluminium; polymers of propylene; medicaments; unmanufactured tobacco; plastics; wool; flat –rolled products of stainless steel; woven fabrics of cotton, etc

Main items of India’s Imports: instruments & apparatus for physical or chemical analysis, e.g polarimeters, refractometers, spectrometers, etc.; electrical machinery and equipment & parts thereof; medicaments; preparations of a kind used in animal feeding; ferrous waste & scrap; telephone sets; waste & scrap of aluminium; machinery for working rubber or plastics; transmission apparatus for radio-broadcasting or television, etc.

Bulgaria offers business opportunities in the fields of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)-(Sutherland Global Services owns a business centre in Sofia); manufacturing, food processing, pharmaceuticals (Elder Pharmaceuticals based in Mumbai started the manufacture of some of its products in its Bulgarian subsidiary Elder Bio-meda AD and selling them in the EU); tourism (Bulgaria offers conditions for cultural tourism, SPA tourism, golf and balneology); opportunity for participation of Indian firms in the sphere of high tech, IT, biotechnologies, education in “Sofia Tech Park”; renewable energy; facility management/ mall management (India’s cinema operator CineGrand Pvt Ltd. has opened theatres in 2 malls in Bulgaria- “City Centre Sofia” and “Sofia Ring Mall” and agriculture (Namdhari Seeds in Plovdiv grows fruits and vegetables for export).

Year 2014 marked the first major Bulgarian investment in India in line with the campaign “Make in India” by the Bulgarian company Prime Petroleum for packaging bitumen in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra. There have been reports of wine imports from Suhindol region of Bulgaria into India. In addition, Bulgarian companies – Kintex, Huwe Pharma and Extreme Broadband have their presence in India. Arsenal 2000 JSCo. – Bulgarian OEM has opened a representation office in Delhi.

There have been regular exchanges of visits by business delegations to and from both countries to attend fairs, exhibitions and other business events. A Road Show on “Make in India” was organized by the Embassy in cooperation with Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) and Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) at Sofia Balkan Hotel on 25th March 2015. The event was attended by around 100 persons. The Programme included address by the Ambassador, President of BCCI followed by High Tea. The event received prominent coverage in the Bulgarian National TV.

The Indian Bulgarian Business Chamber (IBBC) was formed in August 5, 2015 with the participation of reputed Bulgarian companies and was formally launched on 16th February 2016 at a well-attended event organized in Sofia in the presence of Bulgarian Minister of Economy H.E. Bojidhar Lukarski . Established on the initiative of the Embassy, the Chamber is working for expansion of and facilitation of business and trade links between India and Bulgaria. The development of commercial relationships, new opportunities for cooperation between companies from India and Bulgaria and successful business practices of Bulgarian companies in India have been presented during the Business Forums organized by the Indian Bulgarian Business Chamber (IBBC) and the Embassy of India on 16th February (Sofia), 15 June 2016 (Plovdiv) and 10th October 2016 (Varna). Mr. Borislav Boyanov, is the first Chairman of the Indian Bulgarian Business Chamber. During these forums, Bulgarian companies had the opportunity to get acquainted with the specifics of the Indian economy and get answers to specific questions related to the practical aspects of the bilateral business relations between India and Bulgaria. Mayor of Plovdiv was the Chief Guest at the event at Plovdiv forum and Mayor and Regional Governor of Varna attended the forum in Varna.

Indian Institute of Hardware Technology (IIHT) opened its oversees center in Plovdiv on 28th September 2016 in partnership with Technology & Innovations Corporation PLC, Bulgaria, which was inaugurated by Ambassador of India and attended by renowned scientists and intellectuals.

  Tourism is an area which holds prospects for both the two countries. Bulgaria, with its beautiful mountains, the Black-Sea coast and good film shooting facilities is emerging as an attractive destination for Indian film industry. In the year 2014, three Telugu films had an extensive shooting sessions at different locations in the country. India has been identified as an important market for promoting tourism travel to Bulgaria. There are reports that Bulgaria is emerging as a preferred destination for even Bollywood films shooting on account of good locations, talented technical crews and economical costs. The trend has been welcomed by the Bulgarian government as they are keen to encourage increased flow of tourists from India. Big-budget Bollywood movies such as Bahubali, Dilwale and Shivaay were shot in Bulgaria.

Bilateral Institutional Arrangements between India and Bulgaria

In order to enhance trade and economic cooperation between both the countries, bilateral institutional arrangements like Joint Commission on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation at Governmental level, Joint Business Council at non-governmental level and Working Groups on four different sectors have been set up and have been meeting regularly.

Joint Commission on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation (JCM)

The Indo-Bulgarian Joint Commission on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation was set up at Government level in 1973. The Ministry of Agriculture was the nodal Ministry coordinating the activities of JCM till the 15th Session. The mandate has now been shifted to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. There are four Working Groups under the aegis of JCM i.e. 1) Working Group on Agriculture and related sectors; 2) Working Group on Commerce and Industry; 3) Working Group on Electronics and Information Technology; 4) Working Group on Science and Technology. The Bulgarian Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism, Mr. Delian Dobrev accompanied by the Deputy Minister of Interior, Mr. Veselin Vuchkov, five Regional Governors and the senior officials visited India from October 15-16, 2012 for the 17th Session of India- Bulgaria Intergovernmental Joint Commission for Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation (JCESTC) in New Delhi. The Indian side was led by MOS (C & I), Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia. Joint Business Council between FICCI and the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce & Industries (BCCI) was also held. During the 17th Session, a Protocol was signed which outlined areas of possible future cooperation in such fields as trade, investments, energy, tourism, small and medium-sized enterprises [SMEs], development of industrial zones and technological parks, science and technology, information technologies and communications, transport and agriculture.