Russian exports to Bulgaria in 2002 totaled only USD 1,031million, a year-on-year decrease of 23.8%. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, this was announced on Friday, January 24, at a meeting of the joint state committee on trade and technological cooperation between Russia and Bulgaria, which was attended by Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin and Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Vasilyev. The committee also announced that Bulgarian exports had totaled USD 78.9 million, a year-on-year decrease of 28.9%. Commodity turnover between the two countries for the first eleven months of 2002 totaled USD 1,057 million.
Mr Kudrin announced at the meeting that a regional Russian certification centre would be opened in Sophia. This centre had previously been located in the Bulgarian city of Varna but had been closed in 2002 due to the unfavourable economic situation. The two sides also plan to discuss the possibility of supplying gas to some Bulgarian towns and villages with the help of Russian contracting agencies as well as speeding up construction work on the main gas pipeline to Yugoslavia and the Burgas-Alexandropolis oil pipeline to Greece.