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Panagiotis Koutsikus: Bulgaria has a great investment climate

07 March 2010 / 10:03:29  GRReporter
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Victoria Mindova

Panagiotis Kоutsikus is the chairman of the Greek – Bulgarian commercial chamber and a businessman with long term presence on the Bulgarian market. The founder of the health diagnostic center Biocheck, discusses for GRreporter his impressions of Bulgaria.



How did you decide to enter the Bulgarian market and what problems did you meet in the beginning?

                The decision to enter the Bulgarian market in 1994 came after a detailed marketing research of the market of the health services – development of private clinics, diagnostic centers etc. Sixteen years ago this industry in Bulgaria was entirely covered by the public health institutions. At this time we built the building of the health diagnostic center Biocheck in the heart of Sofia which covers all types of medical examinations – cardiologist, gastroenterology, X-ray and laboratory diagnostics etc.


Tell us about how did you decide to create the Greek – Bulgarian chamber of commerce – give us more information about your organization, its activity, members and the problems you are solving.

                The Greek – Bulgarian chamber of commerce was created by the need of complete and detailed information about the investment opportunities in the neighboring country for the companies from both countries. The chamber provides assistance to corporations from both countries when following the procedures for opening a new business in Greece as well as in Bulgaria. We also provide assistance on an institutional level and we act as a bridge between the companies and the governments of the two countries.

                The Greek – Bulgarian chamber of commerce acts in accordance with the legal framework of both of the countries and provides current information for the economic environment in them and informs its members abut the business opportunities which both of the markets offer. It also provides information for new investment opportunities as well as for the supply and demand of the most wanted products from the commercial exchange of merchandize between the two countries. The members of the chamber are 90% of the Greek enterprises which also act on the territory of Bulgaria.


Do you receive any support in the face of the Bulgarian institutions? Are the organizations which cooperate with you to the greatest extent for the execution of the goals which your organization has set, private or public?

            The chamber cooperates and partners to all Greek and Bulgarian enterprises which have institutional problems when carrying out their activities. We cooperate with both public and private institutions in order to provide the necessary legal and organization support to all the companies which are our members.


What are your observations regarding the development of the Bulgarian – Greek commercial relations throughout the years?

                The commercial relations between the two countries register a significant development with great amount of Greek investments in Bulgaria. In 2008 the total amount of the commercial exchange of merchandize between Bulgaria and Greece reached about three billion euro. The investments made by the companies with mixed Greek – Bulgarian interests have also exceeded three billion euro. Today Greece is the third biggest country – investor in Bulgaria and the Greek corporations have provided over 80 thousand working places in the past few years.

We should not forget to mention that the settlement and the development of these good commercial relations is based on the good political relations between the two countries.


How do you think the entering of Bulgaria in the euro zone will affect it and how will this change its commercial relationships with the rest of the European countries?

                I believe that the introduction of the common European currency in Bulgaria has to be done with great attention. The government has to study very carefully the economic ability of the country to make this change and to secure the smooth flow of the process. The Bulgarian governors have to lead a detailed control over the prices of the goods and services in the country and to take measures for the prevention of speculative increase of the prices.

Regarding the commercial exchange of merchandise, I do not believe that the introduction of the euro will drastically change the situation. I actually do not believe that there will be any change at all because of the fact that the lev has been for many years fixed to the euro.


What measures should the Bulgarian government take in order to additionally improve the business climate in Bulgaria?

I believe that the Bulgarian government has currently taken all the necessary measures in order to settle a favorable business climate in the country. There are excellent investment opportunities and it started the rehabilitation from the effects of the international economic crisis with a very rapid pace.


Which do you believe are the best developed and with the greatest perspectives sectors of the Bulgarian economy?

Tags: EconomyMarketsSociety
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