Canada has the potential to replace Russia as a valuable supplier of raw materials to the EU

The relations between Bulgaria and Canada have been moving in a positive direction over the last 5-6 years. There has long been talk about having a Canadian embassy here. The Canadian government responded to the strength of the economic and trade relations. The Canadian Trade Chamber was established back in March, and its official opening took place on Wednesday, coinciding with the summit between the EU and Canada, which is set for November 23rd and 24th. During the meeting, various aspects of the relationship will be discussed – economics, the environment, foreign policy, and shared values. This was stated by Alex Nestor, President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria, in the show ‘The World is Business’ with host Ivaylo Lakov.

According to Nestor, the relations between the EU and Canada will deepen at a rapid pace, considering the geopolitical and geoeconomic situation globally. Since the EU has turned away from Russia as a reliable partner for the supply of minerals and fuels, Canada can play a key role as a potential supplier of oil, natural gas, and rare elements for high technologies.

Trade and economic relations between the EU and Canada began with the CETA agreement, which came into force in 2017. Bulgaria is yet to ratify it in the parliament’s second reading. As a result of this agreement, a significantly intensified trade and economic activity is anticipated. Since the signing of CETA, Bulgaria’s exports to Canada have increased by about 78%. The essence of the agreement is the elimination of almost all tariffs and duties, encompassing trade in goods, services, and the exchange of intellectual property, Nestor pointed out.

“Considering the global geopolitical situation, I am convinced that it’s a matter of time before a super-economic bloc is created on both sides of the Atlantic – and CETA was the first step.”

Multinational companies have long been present on both sides of the Atlantic. These agreements would rather create and consolidate rules, allowing small and medium-sized businesses easier access to the North American and Canadian markets as well as Europe. The lifting of visas between Bulgaria and Canada also greatly facilitates Bulgarian business, noted Nestor.

One of the goals of the Canadian Trade Chamber is to assist Bulgarian businesses in entering the Canadian market. On the other hand, Canadian firms need to be familiar with what Bulgaria offers in terms of attracting investments. If production starts in Bulgaria, for example, it opens doors to the entire European market, according to Nestor.

Regarding Canada’s presence in the Bulgarian economy, Nestor pointed out that the Canadian side is exceptionally strong in the IT sector, and given that the Bulgarian IT sector is also robust, he sees good opportunities for interface. In Bulgaria, there are about 200 companies importing or exporting products to Canada, and they are likely to be interested in increasing their trade exchange.

According to Nestor, the Canadian government is closely observing what is happening with the American reactors in Kozloduy and the contracts being signed. Canada has a strong expertise in nuclear energy, and once “Westinghouse” seriously enters the other phase of the market, there will certainly be Canadian involvement.

“The first thing that interests Canadian companies is what the rules are and whether there is the rule of law. Their philosophy is that even if there is a low corporate tax, if the rules are not followed – they wouldn’t invest.”

Statistics show that the largest portion of all direct investments in the world goes to countries with the highest taxes – first being the USA because investors seek security.

Regarding the goals of the Canadian Trade Chamber, Nestor stated that they will strive to attract a membership base – companies with investment interest in Canada or Canadian companies interested in Bulgaria, as well as firms buying and selling goods in both directions. Then, they aim to expand the membership base and involve the Canadian community in Bulgaria.

Watch the entire conversation in the video.You can find all the guests of the ‘The World is Business’ show here.

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