Paolo Sacchi: Italians Find Good Business Partners in Bulgaria

Novinite Insider » INTERVIEW | May 22, 2006, Monday // 00:00
Paolo Sacchi: Italians Find Good Business Partners in Bulgaria Photo by Nadya Kotseva (Sofia News Agency)

Paolo Sacchi is International Promotion Department Manager at Promos, special agency of the Milan Chamber of Commerce for International Activities. He visited Bulgaria for the opening of the third edition of the Italian festival here. Within its framework a business forum with bilateral meetings called "Bravo Italia - Italian Style in Bulgaria" will take place. It is organized by the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade and the system of the Italian chambers of commerce within the inter-institutional program of Italian Ministry of Productive Activities, Unioncamere and Assocamerestero.

Mr Sacchi talked to Sofia News Agency Editor-in-Chief Milena Hristova.

Q: "Bravo Italia" business forum offers most of the highlights of the third edition of the Italian festival in Bulgaria, which opens now. How was the idea for the forum born?

A: We are trying to introduce a mix between culture and economics, because we know these are two of Italy's greatest strengths. We are coming to Bulgaria with a large group of chambers of commerce representatives, most of whom are from the northern part of Italy.

What we would like to show everybody is the strengths of each of these areas. Milan is well known worldwide for its achievements in design and fashion, silver and light production. Modena is a typical Italian city, where people live well and enjoy themselves.

We are here to display that production and style, but there is more than that. We would also like to introduce to the local market peculiar productions, which are not so well known, such as the manufacturing of violins.

Q: Which Italian regions will be presented at the business forum?

A: First in the list is the region of Lombardy, presented at the forum with its capital Milan and the cities of Cremona and Varese; next come the regions of Emilia Romagna (Modena, Remini), Veneton, Turin. In the south we have people coming from the region of Calabria.

Q: What offers will Italian businessmen bring to Bulgaria during the forum? In which areas does Italian business seek Bulgarian partnership?

A: Italians can offer expertise in managing small and medium-sized enterprises, distributed in all the sectors - tourism, design and its application. As the title of the forum suggests, Bravo Italia will bring here the Italian style.

Q: Italy is already among the major investors in Bulgaria, latest data ranking it the forth-biggest investor here. It would be interesting to hear how do you think Italy managed to become one of Bulgaria's major trade partners and foreign investors?

A: This is a very interesting question, because Italians are known to be not very good investors. The reason is the high percentage of companies (94%), whose employees do not exceed ten. In Italy there are about five million companies, but the average number of employees is 4.4. That means that they are not so strong for investing abroad and never go for greenfield investments.

Why is it different in Bulgaria? Here Italian investors find good partners and are ready to risk with them.

Q: Judging by your personal impressions, which are the main obstacles for business cooperation and partnership between Bulgaria and Italy?

A: Bulgaria made a considerable progress to build a free market economy. But it is clear that the process will take time. The obstacles are heavy bureaucracy and not very clear legislation. What Italian companies want are clearer rules.

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