Bulgaria, Indonesia Seek Closer Trade Relationship

Views on BG | September 15, 2003, Monday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0

By Rendi A. Witular
The Jakarta Post

The Indonesian and Bulgarian business lobby groups signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Saturday to preserve and stimulate investments and exports between the two countries.

Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) Aburizal Bakrie said that the deal would act as a bridge to link businesspeople of the two countries.

The signing ceremony was attended by visiting Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, State Minister for Information and Communications Syamsul Muarif and businesspeople from the two countries.

Aburizal said that the pact covered several strategic points such as the initiative to establish a representative bank in each of the two countries to deal with export transactions and documents.

He explained that under the deal, both countries agreed to set up a tourism committee aimed to boost the promotions of tourist destinations in the two countries.

They also arranged the main commodities to be traded.

Vice Chairman of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Trade Georgi Chernev said Bulgaria was offering to Indonesia its products specially for defense and security purposes.

He said that Bulgaria could provide Indonesia with a competitive and state-of-the-art defense system.

Bulgaria is known as one of the world's reliable and inexpensive producers of a range of weapons, ammunition and related military equipment. The country is known for manufacturing handguns, assault rifles, mortars, antitank mines and explosives.

The country also produces relatively sophisticated optical, radar and communication equipments, as well as surface-to-air missiles and armored personnel carriers.

The country produces military equipment under Russian license, and in the 1990s the country began moving toward producing standard equipment for the North Atlantic Territorial Organization (NATO).

Chernev also said that Bulgaria would cooperate with Indonesia in developing the power sector by providing infrastructure and engineers.

"I think the arms and power sectors are very important for Indonesia," said Chernev, adding that currently there were 42,000 companies included in the Bulgarian chamber of commerce.

He explained that Bulgarian businesspeople wanted to establish strategic alliances with Indonesian businesses because of the important role of Indonesia in the South East Asia region, as the largest country.

Based on trade data from the Bulgarian Economic Policy Secretariat, Bulgaria has had a trade deficit with Indonesia.

Imports from Indonesia in the first quarter of this year increased to US$15.9 million from $10.2 million in the same period last year. Bulgaria's exports to Indonesia in the first quarter also soared to $800,000 from $400,000 a year earlier.
In 2002, imports from Indonesia declined to $77.1 million from $106.7 million in 2001, while Bulgaria's exports surged to $3 million from $1.6 million.

Bulgaria mostly imported coal and copper from Indonesia and exported mostly defense and electrical equipment.

Other commodities imported by Bulgaria are spices, coffee, metal products, pharmaceutical goods and machinery.
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