Bulgaria & South Korea



Bulgaria and South Korea are countries of comparable size. South Korea's population equals, however, to around seven times the population of Bulgaria. Since the re-establishment of diplomatic relations in the early 90s of the previous century, the two economies have entered into a new era of trade, economic, scientific and cultural cooperation. Today, they occupy distinct places respectively in the European and in the Asian economy, but were brought closer since 2011 thanks to the entry into force of the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement that has been concluded by the European Union and its Member States, from one side, and the Republic of Korea, from the other side.


In 2017, the Republic of Bulgaria celebrated the tenth anniversary of its membership in the European Union. The country presided the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2018 and organized multiple events on socio-economic topics among others. Thanks to its geographical location, mild tax regimes, and as part of the EU single market, Bulgaria has become a gateway to around 500 million customers in the EU and to the market of South-Eastern Europe (around 122 million). More and more economic actors have chosen Bulgaria as an investment destination, thanks to the country's macroeconomic stability, low taxation rates for companies and individuals (fixed flat rate of 10%, the lowest in Europe), qualified workforce, etc.

South Korea

The Republic of Korea has a strong presence in the international economic and financial scene. The country is one of the world’s major economies and is a member of the World Trade Organization, of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and of the G20, which it presided in 2010. According to the World Bank (2015 data), the Republic of Korea is the eleventh world economy and the fourth in Asia after China, India and Japan.

Bilateral trade

Public data provided by the Ministry of Economy and by the Customs Agency of the Republic of Bulgaria shows that in the first half of 2016 the trade between Bulgaria and South Korea amounted to 99.6 million USD. For the entire 2014 and 2015 it respectively amounted to 205.6 million USD and 153.1 million USD. During the last few years the trade between Bulgaria and South-Korea showed some fluctuation but the last data to date has been promising as the bilateral trade increased by 37.4% comparing to the same period in 2015.

South Korea

Population ~ 51.5 million

Area 100,210 km2

GDP (2015) 1377.9 bn USD

GDP growth (2015) +2.6%

GDP per capita growth 

(2015) +2.2%

Average inflation rate (2016) +0.97%

Unemployment rate (2016) 3.2%


Population ~ 7.2 million

Area 110,994 km2

GDP (2015) 53.2 bn USD

GDP growth (2016) +3.4%

GDP per capita growth (2015) +4.3%

Average inflation rate (2016) +0.6%

Unemployment rate

(2016) 8%


(Bulgarian data,

first half of 2016)

Exports to Korea 

32.3 million USD

Imports from Korea

67.3 million USD

Trade balance (Bulgaria)

-35 million USD

Organizational structure

Combined data (World Bank, Bulgarian National Statistical Institute, Korean Statistical Information Service, Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Bulgaria)