The Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry took part in the 5th Capital Mayors Forum of the Central and Eastern Europe (CEEC) and the People’s Republic of China. The following topics were addressed during the forum: promoting international business and trade in the post-COVID-19 period, and innovation as a driver for the future development of science and technology.
The event was moderated by the President of the Chamber of Economy of Sarajevo Canton Muamer Mahmutović. Speeches were delivered by the Deputy Mayor of Sarajevo Anja Margetić, and Zhang Yongming, Chairman of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Beijing Sub-council (CCPIT Beijing). Representatives of the chambers of commerce and industry of Poland, Albania, Romania, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Latvia also took part in the forum.
BCCI’s Secretary General Vasil Todorov also took part in the forum and stressed the need to expand cooperation between China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe after the COVID-19 pandemic. He informed the participants about the economic situation in Bulgaria. According to a recent study conducted by the BCCI, businesses expect access to energy and raw materials to be the biggest challenges next year, along with uncertainty about changes in the labour market due to a shortage of skilled workers and an overall increase in labour costs.
A positive observation is the fact that the business community does not consider the requirements for sustainable development as a negative factor for the development of the economy. Concerns about rising energy and raw material prices dominate, which, unfortunately, are due to poor assessment and incorrect national and EU policies in the sector - both in the short and long term.
Todorov noted the positive fact that in the first half of 2021 bilateral trade between Bulgaria and China grew by 35.2% on an annual basis. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses in both countries are working closely together.
During the event, specific companies from the different countries were presented and shared their achievements, problems and challenges. A Bulgarian company from the transport sector also presented its activities.