French revival

France and Bulgaria have traditionally good economic and cultural relations. This is a trend that has developed over the years, and in 1993 Bulgaria was officially accepted as a full member of the world Francophone family. By Anna-Sara Nikolaeva

Although French investments in our country over the past decade have been on the rise, the partnership between the participants in the economic life of the two countries has not yet reached its peak. Established French companies have opened branches in Bulgaria, French investments exist in mountain tourism and other industries.

“Many Bulgarian companies have a strong interest in the French market. French companies are also looking for new opportunities for partnership in Eastern Europe”. This is the opinion of Christophe Baggio, who has over 35 years of experience in international trade relations and is the owner of consultancy company Pro Global Concept (PGC) in Bordeaux. “Among the pros for French companies choosing Bulgaria are the short distance – just two and a half hours from Paris to Sofia, the very reasonable price of labour remuneration, the extremely good quality of local production and, of course, the 10% flat tax – the most competitive in Europe. He added, ”Companies from Bulgaria and Eastern Europe can now establish themselves in a market which is very serious in terms of scale and volume, such as the French one.”

In 2016, France was ranked as the fifth largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP and the fourth industrial power in the world. With a territory of 672 369 sq. km and a population of almost 70 million, France is considered a country with a very high market potential. Opening your own office in a foreign country is a costly, time consuming and risky task especially when one has poor knowledge of the laws and characteristics of the local market. While market globalisation reveals numerous perspectives for today’s entrepreneurs, it requires a progressive and modern approach to their realisation. New models of cooperation are being built on the basis of economic trust, mutual goals and co-investment.

This is also the founding principle of PGC. As a consultant the company assists companies from Eastern Europe entering the French market, and vice versa. PGC has a strictly individual approach, conducting initial qualitative and quantitative market research for each client. Thus it is possible to evaluate the potential of the foreign company to penetrate its target market. Only after obtaining this initial evaluation, effective models for partnership, marketing, planning and further expansion are developed. PGC works as a fully-fledged partner, not just as an intermediary for its clients – an approach which builds economic confidence. “Our Bulgarian clients are in the fields of construction, organic manufacturing, tourism, large-format printing and more. I have known Bulgaria for more than 20 years and I have long been convinced of the qualities of Bulgarian production and the professionals we, as foreign partners, can meet there. For me, it is a country with a great potential, which is not yet advertised enough.” Christophe Baggio admits, concluding: “The Alliance will provide a meaningful guarantee for creating quality relationships between businesses in different countries in the world. All of us, joining the IBA.Bulgaria, can rest assured that we belong to a community of serious and trustworthy partners.”

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