NEW YORK FLOODED BY BULGARIAN COMMERCIAL PASSIONS
Georgi Ivanov, so far managing director of the import/export company Tedvik Ltd, is the new Bulgarian commercial representative in New York. Mr. Ivanov (who is also former sales director of the pharmaceutical company Balkanfarma) will overtake the post from Stamen Tassev, who was recalled in end-February. This at first sight routine change-of-guard would not have seemed strange at all, had it not unleashed the consecutive scandal, spiced up with typical Bulgarian flavour.The appointment of our new NY commercial representative took place just a few days before the official announcement of the competition for election of thirteen attaches in countries on three continents. The position in New York was initially planned to be included in the competition, too. Yet, the Deputy Minister of Economy Milen Keremedchiev announced that that matter had already been settled. Georgi Ivanov seems to be the person to have won Ministry's trust.The catch here, however, lies in the fact that no competition for the NY position has ever been announced. The lucrative post is now engaged (at least for some time). Our new US commercial representative has been elected as participant in another competition, organized in the summer of 2001 by Keremedchiev's predecessor Lyubka Kachakova. Georgi Ivanov was then named among the reserves. Ivanov has graduated English Philology from the Veliko Tirnovo University. He is also Master of Public Administration at the Sofia Insitute of Public Administration. He has also defended a dissertation on Business Administration at the Sofia Institute of Social and Political Sciences. In the beginning of the 1990s of Mr. Ivanov gained diplomatic experience as cultural attache and advisor on the commercial matters to the Bulgarian Embassy in Israel. Minister Keremedchiev explained to the BANKER weekly that it was a usual practice for reserves from precious competitions to be referred to at later competitions.Still no one can explain why such rushed appointment was needed. It turns out that everyone can apply for the similar position in some Arab country where a public competition will be officially announced. But obviously for the whiter countries it is not quite the same. According to Milen Keremedchiev Bulgaria will organize competitions only for those countries where we have so far had no commercial representatives. For the rest will be applied the above described scheme. The resigning Stamen Tassev in his turn accused in a letter to the BANKER weekly his former employers from the Ministry of Economy that they had dismissed him for personal reasons and not for the publicly announced weak results. The recalled commercial representative claims that the news about his dismissal arrived on the day of the visit of the Secretary of Trade of New Jersey. Mr. Tassev himself had organized the visit and in return was unpleasantly surprised by his employers. His drama (according to him) lies in the fact that so far Sofia authorities had almost invariably given positive estimations of his work as commercial attache. His newly named successor brings out again the scandalous suspicions of behind plotting and lobbying.Such passions bearing made in Bulgaria trade mark will hardly serve as the best advertisement of our country in front of US investors at a time when the US Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans announced Bulgaria was bestowed with the economic status of market economy. Yet hope still remains that the coveted investments will eventually arrive.