Bulgaria - Foreign trade

Foreign trade was a state monopoly under the Ministry of Foreign Trade until 1990. Before World War II, 90% of exports consisted of agricultural products, primarily foodstuffs; machinery, finished consumer goods, fuels, and raw materials were the major imports. However, in 2000, the principal exports were:


Apparel 14.6%
Refined petroleum products 11.2%
Chemicals 10.0%
Non-ferrous metals 9.9%
Machines and equipment 9.6%
Agri-food, drinks, tobacco 9.2%
Iron and steel 7.9%

The principal imports were crude oil, natural gas, diesel fuel, fuel oil, coal, textiles, and machinery and equipment.

Geographic distribution of trade has changed radically twice: since World War II and the collapse of the Soviet bloc. Whereas before the war Bulgaria traded mainly with the countries of Western and Central Europe, after the war, trade shifted almost entirely to the countries of the Communist bloc. In 1991, 49.8% of all exports still went to the former USSR and 43.2% of all imports still came from the former USSR.

By the mid-1990s, weak demand in the former Soviet block markets led to an increase in exports to European Union countries which now take about 50% of Bulgaria's exports. Just over 21% of exports go to Central and Eastern European countries, 16.2% to other OECD countries, 1.9% to Arab countries, and 11.9% to other countries. Principal trading partners in 2000 (in millions of US dollars) were as follows:


Italy 684 550 134
Germany 435 903 -468
Yugoslavia 376 23 353
Greece 376 317 59
Turkey 495 215 280
Belgium 299 86 213
Ukraine 240 335 -95
France 232 316 -84
United States 190 190 0
Russia 118 1,585 -1,467
United Kingdom 115 139 -24

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