About Bulgaria

Bulgaria has a population of 7,351,234 as of 01.02.2011, with 72.9% of its people living in either cities or villages. The country is justly famous for its yoghurt and other dairy products, for its rose oil products, and for its wines and brandies.

The economy of Bulgaria is an open market economy with a developed private sector and a limited number of state enterprises. Bulgaria has been a member of the World Trade Organization since 1 December 1996. Since 1 January 2007, Bulgaria has also been a member of the EU. The Bulgarian economy is characterized by economic, political and financial stability. The country has a strategic geographic location, liberal access to markets consisting of more than 560 million consumers, and the lowest corporate tax in EU – 10% and one of the lowest labor rates in the EU. Investments in municipalities with high levels of unemployment enjoy tax-free status. There are also increased amortization norms (of 50%) for investments in new machinery, manufacturing equipment and other apparatus, computers, peripheral computing devices, and software. Bulgaria offers tax credits in accordance with special provisions for VAT assessment for the import of material related to investment projects amounting to more than 10 million BGN. There are also provisions for a 5% tax upon dividends and a 10% “flat rate” tax on the incomes of physical persons. Bulgaria enjoys the lowest operating costs in the EU. The level of national indebtedness and the state deficit for 2011 is also among the lowest in the EU. Bulgaria is one of three countries in the EU that has not changed tax rates as a result of the financial crisis. As of 1 January 2011, the country has the lowest tax burden for households and businesses in all of the entire European Union. Its farsighted fiscal policy and stable business environment make Bulgaria one of the most stable countries in the EU.

Bulgaria – in south-eastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey – has made significant economic advances in the last few years. Successive governments have demonstrated commitment to economic reforms and responsible fiscal planning.. Bulgaria has averaged more than 6% growth since 2004, attracting significant amounts of foreign direct investment. Growth has been driven by increased foreign direct investment, domestic consumption and exports. Foreign investment inflows in Bulgaria have been the highest in the whole of central and eastern Europe. As a result, the government has become committed to economic reform and responsible fiscal planning – a policy set for development .

Bulgaria’s natural resources are bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, coal, timber and arable land. Minerals, including coal, copper and zinc, play an important role in industry. Main industries are electricity, gas, water, food production, beverages, tobacco, machinery and equipment, base metals, chemical products, coke, refined petroleum and nuclear fuel.Exports comprise clothing, footwear, iron and steel, machinery and equipment, and fuels. Export partners are Germany (11.3%), Greece (9.6%), Italy (9.3), Romania (8.6%), Turkey (7.3%), Belgium (5.7%) and France (4.5%). Imports are mostly machinery and equipment, metals and ores, chemicals and plastics, fuels, minerals and raw materials. Import partners are Russia (13.4%), Germany (12.2%), Italy (7.7%), Greece (6.1%), Romania (5.6%), Turkey (5.4%), Ukraine (4.8%) and Austria (4.1%) (2009 figures).

GDP growth was 6% in 2008, but the imbalances generated in past years of rapid growth, together with the impact of the global economic crisis, caused a sharp slowdown in 2009 (-5.5%). In 2010 the figure climbed again to 0.4%, 2011 growth to 1.7%, for 2012 the growth is calculated to 1.4% and the expectations for 2013-2015 are growth between 2.5% and 4%.