by Marian Draganov, Chen Hang
SOFIA, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- Bulgaria's Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski has said in a recent interview with Xinhua that he sees a bright future for cooperation between China and the new EU members in Central and Eastern Europe.
He gave the interview on Tuesday on the eve of his departure for the Chinese city of Dalian to participate in the Summer Davos Forum, which will be held there from September 11 to 13.
"I believe that the real collaboration is yet to come, without underestimating the forms of cooperation achieved so far," Oresharski said. "China is the country with the second largest economy in the world, with strong growth potential compared to other leading economies, so in this regard the prospect of cooperation with China is excellent."
He said he welcomed China's initiative for cooperation with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe announced last April in Warsaw, and considered this partnership as part of a larger partnership between China and the EU.
Oresharski also positively assessed the 10-billion-U.S.-dollar credit set up by China, especially in the context of the global crisis after 2008. The Chinese initiative was very timely in this regard, he said.
"But I look at this initiative also as a way to deepen cooperation in the medium and long term, not just as financial resources that would be used only once mostly for the infrastructure projects," Oresharski said.
He would also appreciate more business initiatives from the private sector so as to subsequently deepen cooperation with Chinese companies that would also be involved in the use of these credit lines, he said.
As for the economic and trade relations between Bulgaria and China, Oresharski said that the trend in recent years of constant growth in bilateral trade has been satisfactory, and Chinese companies have shown strong interests to invest in Bulgaria.
At the same time, he stressed that there is significant potential to increase trade and attract more investment from Chinese companies in Bulgaria, because after Bulgaria's accession to the EU in 2007, it offered a market of 500 million consumers across the EU proper.
"I personally think the biggest reserves for Chinese investment in Bulgaria vary in different sectors ranging from infrastructure to investments of private companies which could use Bulgaria for organizing production activities with a view to easily penetrate the European markets," Oresharski said.
"But we also should not underestimate the potential in bilateral trade, and export of agricultural products from Bulgaria to China, " he added, suggesting Bulgaria and China can cooperate in producing sector aimed at export to third countries, especially EU member states.
Oresharski also saw potential in the tourism sector, as only 3,000 Chinese tourists visit Bulgaria every year, which is a tiny fraction of the 70 million Chinese tourists.
He also said that Bulgaria is a friendly country to all Chinese citizens, including Chinese investors.
As for his expectations for his participation in the Summer Davos forum in Dalian, Oresharski said he expected to establish contacts with colleagues, meet with major business leaders, and like to hear what leading analysts forecast on the development of global economic and the Asian region, the most dynamically developing economic region in the world.