Bulgaria looking to build business ties

By Ni Dandan Source:Global Times Published: 2014-11-13 19:03:01

Following a previous event in Beijing, the investment in Bulgaria forum was held in Shanghai Tuesday. The occasion, where the latest policies and incentives regarding doing business in Bulgaria were introduced, drew together some 250 Chinese companies and their representatives.

Kostadin Djatev, deputy executive director at Invest Bulgaria Agency, led a delegation to China whose goal was to deepen the two countries' cooperation in the fields of transportation equipment and machinery manufacturing, electrical and electronic engineering, food and agriculture, and tourism.

Bulgaria offers investors from China unique advantages compared with other European countries. "First, the strategic location of Bulgaria gives investors direct access to the European market. To invest in Bulgaria and to produce in Bulgaria, Chinese companies can avoid some of the heavy duties that are imposed on Chinese imports to Europe," he told the Global Times.

Djatev said companies can also enjoy the lowest corporate tax in his country, which is set at just 10 percent. "And in areas with high unemployment, the Bulgarian government can offer zero corporate tax for a minimum of five years," he said.

The country also has one of the most competitive labor costs in Europe and at the same time the labor force is skilled and well-educated. Besides, utility costs in Bulgaria, such as gas, electricity and water are the lowest in Europe and the EU.

However, at present, Chinese investment doesn't account for a significant percentage in foreign investment in Bulgaria. Djatev said investment from China currently ranks the 39th among all foreign countries that invest in Bulgaria. "But China has the potential to be the No.1 investor in Bulgaria. We've seen an increase in Chinese investment in the past few years," he said.

Djatev cited Great Wall Motors and Tianjin State Farms as successful examples of Chinese investment in Bulgaria. "The Great Wall car manufacturer has done a joint venture with a Bulgarian company," he said. "They've already been producing cars exported to Europe. It's the first factory for Great Wall Motors in Europe. Then we have Tianjin State Farms, which has invested in the agricultural sector in Bulgaria."

In the investment in Bulgaria forum in Beijing, Tianjin State Farms announced 100 million euros ($124 million) in additional investment that it plans to invest in Bulgaria over the next few years.

After the global financial crisis in 2008, Djatev said it was true that the total investment volume could be not as high as it was in 2007, but the structure of investment has changed in an optimistic way. "The investment now is more in the production sector, where it creates many jobs, and also in the high-tech sector, which improves the quality in general investment in Bulgaria," he said.

Once a student at Fudan University who studied the Chinese economy, Djatev said he personally hopes to see the countries get closer, regardless of whether it's through economic cooperation or cooperation in other areas.

Irina Beleva, Consul General of Bulgaria in Shanghai, said that since she took office in 2011, visas issued by the Bulgarian consulate have increased by 30 percent. "We've seen more people traveling to Bulgaria for both tourism and business trips," she told the Global Times.

For an occasion like the recent investment forum, Beleva said that she is confident that at least 15 percent of the people who visit the forum go to Bulgaria. "They were here to listen to the new polices and rules first," she said. "They will later learn something new by themselves. And then they will go to Bulgaria to make on-site investigations and make their own meetings. Such an occasion builds up new connections between businesses in Bulgaria and China."

Two women in traditional Bulgarian clothing serve Bulgarian bread to a guest at an investment forum in Shanghai Tuesday. Offering bread is a traditional way of welcoming guests in the southeastern European country. Photo: Ni Dandan/GT


Posted in: Metro Shanghai

blog comments powered by Disqus