AmCham: U.S.-Bulgarian Economic Relationships Are Essential for the Sustainable Growth of the Bulgarian Economy

Today the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria discussed strategic topics with the Government of Bulgaria including sustainable economic growth of Bulgaria, rule of law, education, energy strategy, diversification, and decarbonization, healthcare. All of them are part of the AmCham Bulgaria’s Priorities and are key focus areas of the Chamber’s committees work to identify gaps and to provide solutions that benefit whole sectors and stakeholders. The discussion was part of the AmCham Event Calendar and welcomed 250 guests – members, partners, institutions representatives, academia, ambassadors to Bulgaria, and media – at the Grand Hotel Millennium Sofia.

The event was attended by Nikolay Denkov, Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Asen Vassilev, Minister of Finance, Bogdan Bogdanov, Minister of Economy and Industry, Prof. Galin Tsokov, Minister of Education and Science, as well as Martin Gikov, Deputy Minister of Innovations and Growth, and Emil Dechev, Deputy Minister of Justice.

Guest of honor was Andrea Brouillette-Rodrigues, Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria.

“AmCham Bulgaria with its comprehensive portfolio of network, expert capacity, experience, and outreach is the most reliable partner among the local business community to any government that aims to implement the necessary reforms in many needed areas, such as healthcare, energy, education and labor, defense, digitalization, etc. Our brand-new study about the U.S. investments in Bulgaria shows that there is significant growth of American and Canadian investments here. This data is amazing and brings new insight into the density and the results of long-time relationships in many areas. However, other data, reports and our own experience show that this growth could have been even greater if Bulgaria implements rule of law, cuts red tape, and brings more transparency in public procurement in strategic sectors. We are ready to work together to make Bulgaria a better place for investments and its people.”

Olivier Marquette, AmCham Bulgaria President, at the opening of AmCham Business Breakfast with the Government of Bulgaria, September 26, 2023

AmCham Bulgaria has initiated and presented publicly two comprehensive studies that present solutions for reforms and smoother transition in healthcare and power sector of the country. In addition, AmCham Office in Washington D.C is already helping businesses from both sides of the Atlantic to start operations and to grow.

“AmCham Bulgaria insists that the Government of Bulgaria takes firm steps to secure Bulgaria’s role in the Rebuilding Ukraine initiative,” he said also.

U.S. – Bulgarian Economic Partnership – Highlights

Olivier Marquette presented some of the highlights of the up-to-date study of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria, conducted by the Institute of Market Economics. It builds-up the initial study from 2018 when for the first time ever the American investments in Bulgaria were evaluated in terms of volume, impact, and regional presence.

This year’s study has many new features that enrich the analysis. Among them is the special section about the Canadian investments in Bulgaria.

U.S. Investments
  • The U.S. Investments in Bulgaria 1990 – 2022 are BGN 5.5 bilion, compared to BGN 4 billion in 2018
  • They have created almost 41 000 jobs in several regions, incl. Razgrad, Sevlievo, Galabovo, Isperih, Dobrich, Veliko Tarnovo, Rakovski, Sofia, etc.
  • Most of the U.S. investments are in sectors such as manufacturing, energy, ICT, and trade. There are seven other sectors with prominent U.S. companies as well.
Canadian investments
  • The FDI from Canada total at BGN 1.1 billion (compared to BGN 90 million)
  • They have created nearly 5,200 jobs in three regions in Bulgaria.
  • They are present in mining and shared services.
Export / Import

Over the past decade, trade in goods between the U.S. and Bulgaria has seen incremental growth, which has accelerated significantly after 2020. While between 2013 and 2018 Bulgaria’s import volume from the US fluctuated between USD 250 and USD 400 million per year, by 2022 it reached USD 834 million, primarily because of increased imports of LNG from the US to Europe and Bulgaria, following the unilateral suspension of gas supplies from Russia to Europe and Bulgaria.

There has also been a steady increase in the value of Bulgaria’s exports to the US, rising from USD 404 million in 2013 to USD 1.1 billion in 2022. Compared to Bulgaria’s total exports of just over USD 50 billion in 2022, this means that the US accounts for just over 2 % of Bulgaria’s exports.

Business Breakfast Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov’s Remarks – Video