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Bulgaria: Doing business and staying in touch

Doing Business in Bulgaria

Many businesspeople in Bulgaria speak fluent English, German or French. Dress code is standard suit and tie for men, although this could well be more relaxed especially in warmer weather. Women are expected to wear similarly formal attire. While conservative but stylish is generally preferred, dress code depends on the industry and working environment.

Greeting with a handshake is expected and punctuality is appreciated. Bureaucracy can slow progress so patience is essential. Bulgarians are generous and like to entertain, so inviting business contacts to lunch or dinner is a common practice.

It is worth mentioning that in Bulgaria, nodding of the head means 'no', while shaking the head means 'yes'.

Office Hours

Mon-Fri 0900-1730.

Economy

The economy in Bulgaria has gone from strength to strength after joining the EU in 2007 but as of 2019, its income per capital is only 47% of the EU average. This means the country needs to accelerate its productivity in the next few years.

GDP

US$162.7 billion (2018).

Main exports

Clothing, footwear, iron and steel, machinery and equipment.

Main imports

Machinery and equipment, metals and ores, chemicals and plastics, fuel.

Main trading partners

Russia, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Romania, France, Poland and Greece.

Keeping in Touch in Bulgaria

Mobile Phone

Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good in most of the country. It is easy to purchase domestic SIM cards.

Internet

Wi-Fi access is widely available in hotels, restaurants and bars.

Media

Bulgaria enjoys a relatively free press.

Post

Airmail to Western Europe takes from a few days.

Post Office hours

Usually Mon-Sat 0830-1730.

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