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Let’s Look Together Toward the East Conference

 

Nearly 50 Bulgarian-Chinese organizations, including NGO’s, business, academic and cultural institutions signed a memorandum for understanding and cooperation. This happened during the first forum, unifying all the friends of China in Bulgaria, which took place in Sofia Sheraton Hotel. The conference, organized by the Bulgarian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was honoured by the presence of H. Exc. Guo Yezhou, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Bulgaria. Among the other official guests at the event were Siegfried Verstappen – Senior Investment Promotion Executive at the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Brussels), members of the Bulgarian Parliament from the Group for Friendship Bulgaria-China, local authorities, officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, diplomats, members of other foreign-trade chambers, university rectors, NGOs and business organizations. A congratulatory address was sent by the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev. The Bulgarian-Chinese organizations united their efforts in order to be in line with the new priority in the foreign-trade policy of the PRC government. It’s focus recently shifted to the countries from Central and Eastern Europe. 
We are colleagues, not competitors, the Chairman of the Bulgarian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Victor Azmanov said. At the opening of the forum he also stated: “Living in times of a continuing final crisis, rising prices and dropping trust, the necessity of looking for new partners is stronger than ever. Although Bulgaria has the population of a Shanghai neighbourhood, it also has a spirit, worthy of the vast China. We are ready to be global, ready to be together. And to look together toward the East!”
According to the signed memorandum a unified information system will be built, which will provide services for all non-governmental and trade organizations, engaging in bilateral cooperation activities. The participants in the forum all agreed that the close partnership and the exchange of information will have a positive impact on the work of Bulgarian-Chinese institutions, making their efforts even more competitive and efficient.
BCCCI will also support Bulgarian companies, operating on Chinese territory: “I am proud to announce that the Bulgarian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the first Eastern-European organization, which took the decision of opening an office in Beijing. It will be operational by the spring of 2013. Our goal is to ease the access of the Bulgarian business to this great country, to help Bulgaria take the hand China is reaching towards us and to show that we have understood the PRC government’s message,” said Victor Azmanov, Chairman of BCCCI.
Bulgaria is becoming ever more active in respect of China, said H. Exc. Guo Yezhou, who cited statistical data about the trade exchange between the two countries, which reached $1.268 billion last year. The amount of Chinese investment in Bulgaria is $79.8 million. The Ambassador declared that it is essential to expand the field of cooperation between Bulgaria and China and said that the PRC government will encourage mutual understanding. He reminded the audience that Beijing recently launched a $10 billion credit line for investment in Central and Eastern Europe. 
However, H. Exc. Guo also said that he is concerned about some of the Chinese investment in Bulgaria. “The political stability is extremely valuable for the investors. Unfortunately, the policy on green energy in Bulgaria has changed”, the Ambassador reminded. “I hope that the Bulgarian government will thoroughly think out the investors’ demands and find a solution”, he advised. 
Georgi Peytchinov, former Ambassador of Bulgaria in the People’s Republic of China, said that the amount of Chinese investment in the country could increase up to billions of dollars.