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US Foreign Direct Investment to Bulgaria Rises by 23% from 2016 to 2021


Foreign direct investment (FDI) from the US to Bulgaria exceeded BGN 5.5 billion by the end of 2021, while that from Canada was over BGN 1 billion, show data from the second U.S.-Bulgaria Economic Partnership: Investments, Labor, and Trade (1990-2022) Report presented on Monday by the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria (AmCham Bulgaria) and prepared by the Institute for Market Economics (IME). US investments in Bulgaria are strongly underestimated in official statistics, the report concluded.

The latest report examines and analyzes the publicly available data on Canadian investments in the Bulgarian economy, and on the 120th anniversary of Bulgaria’s diplomatic relations with the US. It also pays attention to the development of bilateral economic relations with the US in the areas of tourism, trade and services. The report also contains a special section on 13 successful examples of American and Canadian investments in Bulgaria, reported Bulgarian News Agency (BTA).

The amount of total US investment in Bulgaria announced Monday represents an increase compared to the data from 2016. The number of companies increased by 31% and the number of people working in them by 43%. Revenues of companies with predominantly American participation in the capital (including as the ultimate owner of the investment) grew by more than 43% and FDI increased by more than 23% or by more than BGN 1 billion.

The book value of the fixed tangible assets of the US companies in Bulgaria exceeded BGN 4.1 billion by the end of 2021, with expenditures of nearly BGN 280 million for the acquisition of new assets this year alone.

The average gross salary of employees in companies with US origin was more than twice as high as the national average, the authors of the report noted, adding that US employers paid higher salaries than the national average in each municipality and economic sector in Bulgaria.

The difference between the data handled by the National Statistical Institute and the BNB and the information used in the report stems from the statistical approach to identifying and measuring FDI for official statistics. The BNB is guided by an approach in which the statistics do not provide information on the source of the capital entering Bulgaria.

According to BNB data, the amount of FDI from the US in Bulgaria not only did not grow compared to 2016, but also registered a decrease in the five-year period to 2021 – from BGN 1.85 billion to BGN 1.68 billion.

The report shows that US investments in the country are not territorially concentrated in the most economically active centers, as there are such in 11 Bulgarian municipalities from five planning regions. Canadian companies are concentrated in three municipalities.

Bulgaria continued to maintain positive trade with the US in 2022 – exports to the US reached USD 1.093 billion and imports – USD 834 million.

AmCham CEO Ivan Mihaylov drew attention to Bulgaria’s accession to the NASA Artemis Accords  in November. He described this event as “a new moment in Bulgaria’s economic development and a prelude to something completely new”.