Until 1989, Bulgaria had a Soviet-style economy in which nearly all agricultural and industrial enterprises were state-controlled. A stagnant economy, shortages of food, energy, and consumer goods, an enormous foreign debt, and an obsolete and inefficient industrial complex instigated attempts at market-oriented reform in the 1990s. Long a largely agricultural country, Bulgaria's principal crops are vegetables, tobacco, wheat, barley, sunflower seeds, and sugar beets. Grapes and other fruit, as well as roses, are grown, and wine and brandy production is important. The country has been considerably industrialized since World War II. The leading industries are agricultural processing, petroleum refining, and the production of machinery and equipment, base metals, chemicals, coke, and nuclear fuel. Bulgaria's chief mineral resources include bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, coal, lignite, iron ore, and oil and natural gas. There are many mineral springs. Clothing, footwear, iron and steel, machinery, and fuel are exported. Imports include machinery and equipment, metals and ores, chemicals, plastics, fuels, minerals, and raw materials. Germany, Italy, Turkey, and Greece are Bulgaria's main trading partners.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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