Turkish and Bulgarian governments are ready to encourage private sector to engage in order to enhance cooperation, the Turkish deputy trade minister said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a virtual Turkey-Bulgaria Business Forum organized by the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), Gonca Yilmaz Batur said the forum will pave the way for the private sector to enhance cooperation.

The two countries are coming out of the difficult times caused by the contraction in trade activities due to the pandemic, Batur said: “The close cooperation between Bulgaria and Turkey should be further improved during the recovery period because our good relations have a positive impact on trade.”

She underlined that maintaining a positive dialogue is critical during challenging times.

For his part, Bulgarian Deputy Economy Minister Yana Topalova underlined that Turkey continued to be among Bulgaria’s prominent strategic partners.

Topalova said the pandemic negatively affected the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Bulgaria which fell by 11% year-on-year in the first nine months of 2020.

Noting that Turkey is among top 10 investor countries in Bulgaria, Topalova said Turkey’s foreign direct investments in the country was around €1 billion ($1.18 billion) as of June 1.

“Turkey invested more than €20 million in Bulgaria despite the pandemic,” she noted.

Topalova said the government is establishing new industrial parks to create new opportunities for investors.

“We should work together to eliminate the economic fallout from the pandemic and find new ways for cooperation,” she added.

Nail Olpak, the chairman of DEIK, said trade figures show that there is still a lot of room for improvement.

“Beside our friendship, Turkish and Bulgarian business circle, who have been bound with love for years, will proceed with all courage to further enhance our trade and investment relations, and partnerships,” Olpak noted.

Zeki Sarizeybek, the chairman of the Turkey-Bulgaria Business Council, underlined that Turkey and Bulgaria are two countries which complement each other despite their differences.

Stressing that the cooperation between two countries will ensure Turkey and Bulgaria’s strong presence in the new order, Sarizeybek said: “Although global trade is shrinking in this period, we can improve our business rapidly through cooperation.”

Sarizeybek highlighted the countries’ aim is to find topics that both sides will benefit from on the win-win principle.

Boyko Takov, the executive director of Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency (BSMEPA), also said the institution is working with its partners all over the world to improve the relations between companies of two countries.

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