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Sofia, Plovdiv Deputy Mayors Discuss in US Bulgaria’s Advantages, Potential as Investment Destination

The deputy mayors of Bulgaria’s capital of Sofia and the second-largest city of Plovdiv, Doncho Barbalov and Stefan Stoyanov, respectively, gave exclusive interviews for BTA to discuss the advantages and opportunities Bulgaria offers as an investment destination. 
The deputy mayors are part of a delegation that is participating in two international business and investment forums, organized by the InvestBulgaria Agency in the US in the form of a roadshow within a project for establishing Bulgaria as a successful investment destination under Operational Programme Innovation and Competitiveness 2014-2020. 
The first conference was held in Sunnyvale, California, with a focus on the outsourcing and Information technology sectors, and the second one was in Portland, Oregon, with an industrial focus. 
Sofia Deputy Mayor Barbalov 
Significant consistent efforts are needed to make Bulgaria, and Sofia in particular, better known as an investment destination, Doncho Barbalov, Sofia Deputy Mayor for Finance and Healthcare told BTA.
Outlining the most useful aspects of the forum in Sunnyvale, he pointed out the the idea of building a system and a mechanism “where we can be there for and support from the very start the good ideas and those companies with good potential, allowing them to grow in their formative moments when they need help the most”.  “In Portland, we are focusing on the more traditional business and cooperation with the state of Oregon, which is one of the fast growing US states,” Barbalov explained.
According to him, Sofia is one of the big cities in the EU with a  concentrated capacity, expertise and many people who can work on different projects and initiatives, which are one of the capital’s more significant advantages. 
Plovdiv Deputy Mayor Stoyanov
The long-term goal for our economy is to attract investments with greater added value, Stefan Stoyanov, Deputy Mayor of Plovdiv (South Bulgaria) for Education, Business Development and European Policies, told BTA.
According to Stoyanov, this is a great opportunity for Bulgaria to present itself because the US is the largest economy in the world and because of the opportunity to visit California, which is a key economy in the technology sector. He also stressed the importance of the delegation’s visit to Oregon, “where we are currently and the meetings are taking place in a large scientific center for technology transfers, which brings together three universities”.
Bulgaria is one of the best places for manufacturing and for starting a business in the EU, because of its relatively low taxes and still relatively low costs compared to other EU countries.  “This trend will continue for the next few years and we should make the most of it. As a country, we no longer need every investor who might be interested, but rather higher-tech industries, integrated with research and development centres, business services, i.e. where higher wages can be paid. The task for our economy is to transform the economy as quickly as possible into one with higher added value, so that the general standard of living is raised,” Plovdiv’s Deputy Mayor said.