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Economics Paradox: Bulgaria Imports More Tomatoes Than Bananas

Analysis, comparison and mirror data differences in foreign trade are the basis for an approach necessary for recovery, sustainability and development. The figures for exports, imports and balance of commodity exchange and trade in services y/y compared to those of neighbours, for example, are a key indicator. Looking carefully at the mirror difference between national data, e.g. exports of the Russian Federation energy resources to Bulgaria with Bulgarian data on importsfrom Russia, we notice differences in currency and no differences in kind. Of course, it becomes apparent when we use globally available and globally comparable data, such as those of Trademap, Geneva.

This approach shows the lab values that are not a diagnosis, but without them there is no treatment, says at the beginning of his analysis for Borislav Georgiev, expert in foreign trade.
The example of the TB index (ratio between the imported tonnes of Tomatoes and Bananas) is an eloquent overall indicator of the local production of tomatoes - imports of tomatoes (from mtp 0702) and bananas (from mtp 0803) in tonnes. I tried to develop such an indicator to show the real picture in the shortest and clearest way. To devise the TB index, I divided the tons of imported tomatoes into tons of imported bananas.

On average, nearly 81,000 tonnes of tomatoes and a little more than 57,000 tonnes of tomatoes are imported annually into Bulgaria as of 2020, i.e. the Bulgarian index is 1.41 and we are first in the Balkans. The indices of the other countries are as follows: Romania - 0.4, Serbia - 0.41, North Macedonia - 0.21, Greece 0.1, Croatia - 0.19, Turkey 0.01. The number for Germany is 0.55, US - 0.36, China - 0.00 , RF - 0.35.

We all like bananas equally in the Balkans. Everyone among the world's geopolitical factors likes bananas. But only Bulgaria is the “high achiever” and imports much more tons of tomatoes than bananas!?

The most plausible explanation for the Bulgarian championship here is the significant change (rather the country’s self-destruction program) –in Bulgarian agricultural production in terms of output, variety structure and quality in the last decades. In no historical period has the TB index been a measure of development and/or sustainability.

Here comes the second example of the integration of the Balkans into the EU for the period 2010 - 2019. The figures for the EU's commercial interest (there is also the individual data for Germany) confirm economic integration as a substantial, sustainable, predominantly European share. Or to put it bluntly, "Europe is expanding to the Balkans", including North Macedonia, Serbia, etc.

The fullest is the integration of Romania. And what is the situation in the commodity exchange of such geopolitical factors as Germany, China, the Russian Federation and the the US?

Germany is a leading, determinative and at the same time transparent and predictable partner for Bulgaria and the Balkans. There are virtually no or very small mirror data differences for each Balkan country in Germany's imports and exports.

There are significant mirror data differences in the commodity exchange of China and the Russian Federation with all Balkan countries. Especially paradoxical are the manifold differences between the worth of imports and exports, for example, of the RF with Bulgaria. For exports, it is close to 6 % and for imports close to 20 %. There are similar data for China and the United States. It should be taken into account again that the average annual Bulgarian-Russian mirror data difference in imports into Bulgaria is nearly BGN 1 billion. The Bulgarian statistics quotes BGN 1 billion on average per year more than the worth of the Russian exports to Bulgaria!?!



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