Having joined the European Union in 2007, Bulgaria is one of the newest EU members, has the lowest tax rates in Europe and an economy forecast to grow at twice the continental average.
The Balkan country’s consumer market is forecast to expand rapidly as demand for high value products and an emerging middle class fuel economic development. In 2011 UK exports to Bulgaria rose 35% to £0.5 billion.
A European business culture means many UK companies find it easier to reach the high – growth markets closer to home in emerging Europe than other markets further afield, often encountering far less corruption.
Accession to the European Union has brought down many of the barriers to trading in Bulgaria, and an ‘Ease of Business’ rating unmatched by any other Central Eastern European country.
The parliamentary Republic is expecting Brussels to award €10 billion in structural funds for the strategic period 2014 – 2020, as Bulgaria looks to catch up with its Western European neighbours.
The country’s continued growth and political stability is not lost on the EU, commenting on Bulgaria’s ascension José Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission said: “Each time I come to Bulgaria I am struck by the dynamic progress that is being made and the commitment of the government and the people I meet to the European project.”
EU investment will be aimed at improving social and economic conditions, infrastructure development, competitiveness, human resources development, and administrative capacity; creating significant opportunities for UK companies within a broad range of sectors.
And Bulgaria’s strong strategic position at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East, Russia, Turkey and the former Soviet Republics represents an opportunity to reach 120 million consumers.
A well educated multi – lingual workforce (22% have degrees) and a strong manufacturing base engineer to make the Black Sea coast country an ideal hub location for the wider Eurasian area.
Entrepreneurs will also find a welcoming business climate open to UK investments, goods and services. The Bulgarian government can offer a range of incentives including social security rebates, labour cost savings, office space and more through the ‘Invest Bulgaria’ agency.
Enterprise Europe Network has 14 offices throughout Bulgaria, contact us for more information on doing business in South – East Europe.