Great Britain will assist Bulgaria both technically and financially in establishing a reference center for diseases concerning game which will work jointly with the British laboratory – a world reference center for animal diseases. This became clear after the meeting of the Minister of Agriculture and Food Dr. Miroslav Naydenov with Jim Pace, State Minister of Agriculture and Food in the Ministry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the Parliament building in London.
Bulgaria is becoming the frontline for Europe in fighting against FMD, since the main strains come from Turkey, Syria and Iran, said Minister Naydenov. For its part, Britain has twice suffered major economic losses from outbreaks of such diseases in 2001 and 2007, noted Naydenov. We can take advantage of the large financial resources available to the World Reference Center, he added, recalling that FMD is transmitted in Bulgaria also through wild animals and a reference laboratory in the country would contribute to the fight against spread of the disease. Cooperation in the fight against FMD was also agreed by the head of the Bulgarian Agency for Food Safety Dr. Yordan Voinov who visited the laboratory in London.
The two ministers also discussed the future of the Common Agricultural Policy. There are many similarities, but also differences in our positions and those of the UK. We, for example, insisted on support for a greater flexibility in the so-called greening, so that each party can determine the measures on Green support.
Trade between the two countries was also discussed on the meeting. In recent years, there has been a steady increase in the bilateral trade of agricultural and food products. In 2008 the total foreign trade in agricultural products is 66.376 million USD, while in 2011 it has risen to 81.804 million USD – i.e. with 23.24%. During 2011 the exports of our country for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is valued at 44.306 million USD, which is 30.4% more than in 2008. The realised import in 2011 was 37.498 million USD, which is 15.7% more than in 2008. This amount of our trade we find not satisfactory and our desire is to strengthen foreign trade, said Minister Naydenov.
The same evening he opened a reception at the Bulgarian Embassy in London, where wines, cheeses and foods from leading Bulgarian producers were presented. Interest in the event was expressed from representatives of British wine merchants and the British Association of wine importers as well as the British media.