AmCham Road Show to Lure US Investors to Bulgaria in May 2011

Business | December 11, 2010, Saturday // 09:28|  views

Pictured: Bulgarian Economy Minister Traikov (right) during the first outsourcing conference organized by AmCham and the Bulgarian government in Sofia in November 2010. Photo by BGNES

AmCham Bulgaria is staging a business road show in the USA in May 2011 together with the US Ambassador to Bulgaria James Warlick and the Bulgarian Ambassador to the USA Elena Poptodorova, its Director Valentin Georgiev told (Sofia News Agency).

In an interview for the Bulgaria-US Survey of (Sofia News Agency), Georgiev, the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria, said the 2011 "AmCham-Ambassadors' Road Show" will be seeking to boost the investment interest in Bulgaria on part of businesses across the USA.

The project will essentially be built along the first such business road show in the US organized by AmCham Bulgaria, ex US Ambassador to Bulgaria John Beyrle, and Bulgarian Ambassador to the USA Elena Poptodorova back in 2007 shortly after Bulgaria joined the EU.

Thus, the second edition of "AmCham-Ambassadors' Business Road Show", which will promote Bulgaria as an investment destination in the USA will take place in mid May 2011, and will feature events in four cities on the Pacific Coast, in the Midwest, and on the East Coast.

"2007 was 2007. Bulgaria has changed a lot since then, it has now been an EU member for four years, and we would like to stage a second, more large-scale "business road show" to talk to potential American investors on all topics, and to present the investment opportunities in Bulgaria. We will have once again the two current ambassadors. There are a lot of new things. Bulgaria now has the lowest taxes in Europe, and we have an agreement with the US for avoiding double taxation, which has entered into force. This is extremely important because in that way we can present to the US investors Bulgaria's advantages in fiscal terms right away. But we also already have major success stories that we can present," Georgiev explained.

He explicitly emphasized the importance of demonstrating the success stories of major American investments in Bulgaria pointing to the US energy company AES with its large-scale projects in thermal power and renewable energy; the emblematic examples in IT and services outsourcing in Bulgaria, Hewlett-Packard, which recently announced massive expansion of its center in Sofia, IBM, Microsoft, Cisco; Kraft Foods which invested heavily in new facilities in Bulgaria in 2009; companies such as Honeywell and Johnson Controls.

"In our "AmCham-Ambassadors' Business Road Show" we are going to present these success stories because they are indicative of the trends of US investments in Bulgaria in the past two years... We in AmCham Bulgaria are lucky because we have seen no decrease in the number of our members. We have kept all of the American investors who came here - AES, HP, Kraft, Honeywell - none of them has left, and they have actually been expanding their operations

In addition to targeting US investors, however, this time the AmCham Bulgaria road show will also seek to reach out to the Bulgarian diaspora in the USA to present to its members the opportunities for development and career in Bulgaria on the grounds of the major American investments in the country.

What is more, the AmCham road show will also approach a top US university in order to sound out opportunities for an American-Bulgarian education project that can be linked with the development of US investments in IT and services outsourcing in Buglaria.

"We will certainly talk about HP because our idea is to visit San Francisco and the Silicon Valley. During our outsourcing forum in November we talked about the potential "Bulgarian Silicon Valley" for the Black Sea region, and if it can happen in Varna. But here we are getting to a more ambitious task. Some critics tells to be more modest in these times of crisis but it is good to have dreams. We would like to see if it is possible to get some of the top American universities interested in a Bulgarian project. For example, could an university such as Stanford make an agreement with a Bulgarian university, and perhaps even open a branch here?" the AmCham Bulgaria Executive Director said.

"It will be something very interesting. This road show will try to do it; to show not only the American investments but also to try to look at the potential connections with the academia, and to attract them to the cause for more business and investments in Bulgaria," he elaborated.

Georgiev declared that the Bulgarian government should focus on three priority sectors as far as US direct investments in the country are concerned - energy, green building and infrastructure, and IT - in order to establish a kind of a brand with which Bulgaria can stand out on the investment map.

He pointed out that in its interaction with the Borisov Cabinet, AmCham Bulgaria, which turned 15 in the spring of 2010, has managed to promote measures and initiatives with respect to efforts to attract outsourcing and offshoring investments in Bulgaria.

In November 2010, these efforts culminated into the first "Realizing the Potential - Bulgaria on the Outsourcing and Off-shoring Map" conference in Sofia, an initiative of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria (AmCham) and the governmental InvestBulgaria Agency, in cooperation with Colliers International, which was attended by more than 300 local and international delegates.

"We are looking forward to doing an US road show with Ambassador Warlick and Ambassador Poptodorova, and we will probably be going to four cities, I don't know which ones yet, we are working with the Bulgarian government to make that happen. We did a road show four years ago but we want to have one that is very targeted and industry specific as well," Scott Pozil, the Commercial Counselor at the US Embassy in Sofia told (Sofia News Agency) in an interview for the Bulgaria-US Survey back in November.

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Tags: Valentin Georgiev, AmCham, American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria, FDI, foreign investments, Foreign investors, HP, IBM AES, Kraft Foods Bulgaria, Johnson Controls, Honeywell, AmCham Business Road Show, outsourcing, IT, services, energy, green building, Energy efficiency, green technologies


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