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New Zealand's bilateral relationship with Bulgaria, at both economic and cultural levels, is cordial but lacks substance. Government-to-government contact with Bulgaria largely takes place in multilateral forums, including the WTO, UN and the Antarctic Treaty (Bulgaria was accepted as a Consultative Party in 1998).
New Zealand's relationship with Bulgaria has begun to gain more depth since the latter's accession to the European Union on 1 January 2007, reinforcing Bulgaria's interest in expanding its regional and global outreach. New Zealand granted visa-free status to Bulgarian visitors (for visits of up to three months) on 30 July 2007.
In 2007, New Zealand announced its first-ever accreditation to Bulgaria, by the New Zealand Ambassador in Brussels. Ambassador Peter Kennedy made his first accreditation visit on 7 April 2008, presenting his ambassadorial credentials to President Parvanov.
Land Area 111,002 sq km
Population 7.6 million (2009 est.)
Capital city Sofia
Political system Parliamentary republic
National government Formed by Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party (GERB), with support from Blue Coalition and Order, Law and Justice parties
National legislature Unicameral national assembly: 240 members elected by proportional representation
Last election July 2009 (parliamentary) and October 2006 (presidential)
Next election due July 2013 (parliamentary) and October 2010 (presidential)
Head of State President Georgi Purvanov
Head of Government Prime Minister Boiko Borissov
GDP US$51.9 billion (2008 est.)
Real GDP growth 5.9%
Exports US$19.7 billion
Imports US$32.6 billion
Main exports Clothing and footwear, iron and steel, other metals
Current account balance US$ -5.0 billion
NZ Exports (FOB) NZ$6.3 million (year ended December 2008)
Main Exports Meat, fish, dairy products
NZ Imports (CIF) NZ$4.4 million
Main Imports Metals, machinery, woven apparel, dairy products
The New Zealand Ambassador to Bulgaria is resident in Brussels [external link]. Bulgaria does not have an Ambassador to New Zealand; its closest post is the Bulgarian Consulate in Sydney.
The Safetravel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to Bulgaria [external link].