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International Trade Minister visits Bulgaria to strengthen trade

International Trade Minister Greg Hands visited Bulgaria to deepen the trade relations and support Bulgaria’s EU Presidency priorities.

Minister Greg Hands with Bulgarian Deputy Energy Minister Zhecho Stankov.
Minister Greg Hands with Bulgarian Deputy Energy Minister Zhecho Stankov.

International Trade Minister, Greg Hands visited Bulgaria this week to learn about preparations for the country’s first EU Council Presidency. Minister Hands outlined the UK’s support for Bulgaria’s Presidency priorities, particularly the Western Balkans, while exploring ways to advance the trading relationship between the UK and Bulgaria.

During his 2-day visit, Minister Hands met with Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev, Economy Minister Emil Karanikolov and Deputy Energy Minister Zhecho Stankov where they discussed the future trade policies of the UK and the EU, including key sectors in the bilateral relations such as energy.

UK-Bulgaria bilateral trade has doubled in the past 10 years. The UK is Bulgaria’s eighth biggest export market, accounting for 3% of goods exports. The UK was the fifth largest investor into Bulgaria in 2016, with investment totalling more than €180 million (£158 million). UK exports to Bulgaria cover a wide range of sectors, including telecommunications equipment, specialised machinery, pharmaceuticals and food and drink.

International Trade Minister, Greg Hands said:

I am delighted to have met with my counterparts in Bulgaria this week, discussing our approach to the future trading relationship and working to remove barriers to free trade wherever we find them.

As we leave the European Union, we want to ensure that UK companies have the freedom to trade with and operate within European markets – and to let European businesses do the same in the UK.

In doing so we aim to maintain close co-operation with Bulgaria, and I am confident that over the coming weeks, months and years, we will continue to build a fruitful relationship between our nations.

Minister Hands also addressed local business representatives and members of the British Bulgarian Business Association to outline the future of the trading relationship.

Published 15 December 2017