After launching a series of ambitious projects in some of the states of India, Bulgaria, the scenic gateway to Europe, is now exploring business opportunities in the Eastern India region as well as the whole country – addressed Ms. Eleonora Dimitrova at an exclusive interactive session with the state’s leading industrialists today, organized by the Indian Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. Eleonora Dimitrova, the first woman ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria hopes to expand Bulgaria’s significant footprint in the education sector along with industrial sectors of Electrical engineering, Automotive and IT sector.
“Bulgaria is a great destination for Indians whether it is for education, business set up or tourism. Apart from being a country enriched with potential business environment, educated citizens and art & cultural developments, Bulgaria also works as a gateway to expand business in European Union – it can be the springboard for Indian goods and investments to the European market, CIS countries and Turkey. The country’s export growth to India has increased by 60% as per pre-pandemic data and is expected to set new milestones in both the countries’ cross-trading opportunities.” she said.
The ambassador highlighted five major benefits offered by Bulgaria to establish business in the country, which in many ways keep the country in more advantageous position than other European countries. These factors are – (i) Stability (ii) Educated and skilled workforce, (iii) Easy market access (European Union, Russia, Turkey, Middle-East), (iv) Reduced cost and risk and (v) Government incentives and tax benefits.
Low tax rates and inexpensive labour force are indeed two key factors to woo industrialists. Bulgaria has a tax rate of 10 percent for both corporate and personal income tax, which is the lowest in EU and general VAT is 20%. The country has over 40 trade agreements with 80 countries with access to 1.3 bn customers worldwide. According to the latest World Bank report Bulgaria’s economy is expected to grow by 2.6% in 2021 and 3.3% in 2022, which raises optimism for a proliferation of business in the country. Some renowned Indian companies that are prevalent in trade operation in Bulgaria are CocaCola, TCS, IBM, HCL Technologies etc.
In Bulgaria, Indian culture is incredibly popular – India has inked 17 Cultural Exchange Programs with Bulgaria so far; the most recent of which was signed in March 2018 in New Delhi for the term 2018-20. Tourism is another area in which both the countries have immense potential to grow. Bulgaria, with its picturesque mountains and the Black Sea Coast, which includes cities like Varna and Burgas, has become a popular filming location for many Indian movies, resulting in immense investment opportunities.
There are similar advantages for students, said the ambassador, as Bulgarian degrees are recognised across Europe for both internships and jobs. The country offers various educational degrees for Indian students, among which medicine and IT hold great importance. The country expects to re-issue the student VISA soon as India has finally withdrawn the red-zoned country list, as decided during the peak of COVID pandemic.
Ms. Nayantara Palchoudhuri, Executive Committee Member, ICC and Mr. Vishambhar Saran, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Bulgaria in Kolkata also highlighted the trading relation between the two countries and provided a vivid perspective on the country’s existing and potential business outlook and how Bulgaria can be another trading hub for India.