Plevneliev Hopes Bulgaria Will Become France's Preferred Outsourcing Destination
During a meeting with French business representatives in Paris on Monday, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev expressed hope that Bulgaria will become the preferred outsourcing destination for French firms.
The meeting which was organised by the French-Bulgarian chamber of commerce marked the beginning of his visit to France.
Plevneliev noted that in the past decade, the exchange of goods between Bulgaria and France has amounted to more than EUR 1 B annually.
In the same period, the exchange of goods has increased by 61.2 %, while French investments in Bulgaria exceeded EUR 1.3 B.
The Bulgarian president was firm that France is a strategic commercial-economic partner of Bulgaria and that the development of bilateral relations is a priority.
He expects to see more French investors attracted to more high tech sectors in Bulgaria.
According to him, the success goes through building sustainable and successful economic partnerships.
In his words, integration – both political and economic, was making the advance in this direction possible.
Turning to the outcome of last week's referendum on UK's membership to the EU, in which 51.9 % of UK voters supported Brexit, Plevneliev said that the foundations of the EU have been shaken.
In such challenging moment, there was need to remind that everyone benefits from integration and cooperation and that populism and nationalism harm not only the present but also the future generations.
Plevneliev pointed that Bulgaria is consolidating as regional center in the automobile sector, outsourcing industry and in the area of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
The Bulgarian head of state added that an increasing number of foreign companies were choosing Bulgaria as destination for outsourcing their services and production.
As a result, the sector was recording considerable growth, which in the past years has resulted in the creation of 40 000 jobs, with expectations for another 20 000 to be created by 2020.
Plevneliev reminded that Bulgaria was recently recognised as the best outsourcing destination in Europe and among the top ten in the world.
Among the factors turning Bulgaria into a regional leader in the sector were the excellent telecommunications network, the well prepared cadres and the country's traditions in the ICT sector.
He said that around 5400 firms were active in the information technologies sector, with another 1500 operating in the information services sector.
At present the share of the sector in the country's GDP amounted to 3.3 %, with the trend being for the share to increase.
A total of 65 % of Bulgarian ICT products were exported and were successfully competing on the global market.
The sector has created more than 35 000 jobs, with forecasts being for another 30 000 software specialists to be trained by 2020.
Among the advantages of Bulgaria were the tax rates, low labour costs and the country's strategic position between Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Plevneliev was firm that Bulgaria has to complete the reforms of its judicial system, education and administration so that the development of business is not hampered.
There was need for responsible and sustainable policies to allow Bulgaria to develop its economic potential.
The Bulgarian president noted that the country is working in this direction and was developing modern electronic government which would be of benefit to both citizens and business.
During his visit to France, Plevneliev will also meet with his French counterpart Francois Hollande, President of the French National Assembly Claude Bartolone as well as the Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Jose Angel Gurria.
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