The International Spring Fair: GARAGE TRADING IS OVER
The 23rd International Plovdiv Fair of consumer goods and technologies registered an impressive number of Bulgarian exhibitors - 751, commented the people who organized the 2003 edition of the exhibition. 420 of them were producers. The biggest forum of Bulgarian light industry, held from 5 to 10 May, gathered 1,197 companies from 40 countries. According to Yordan Radev, Executive Director of International Fair AD, this is a sign that the so-called garage trading (trading, in which garages are used as shops) has become less popular. The great number of Bulgarian participants is also a demonstration of the stable economic macroframe and the tightened customs control, Mr. Radev said. Moreover, investors keep coming to Bulgaria, he added. Local entrepreneurs have new self-confidence now. They already try to strengthen their positions on the domestic market, as well as in Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. This is the first time so many companies from the meat-packing industry take part in the fair, Kiril Vutev, Chairman of the Association of Meat Packers, said. I think this is a sign that the market stagnation has been overcome. There are no more high bills for electricity and central heating and we really hope that Bulgarians will no longer be forced to live like vegetarians, commented Mr. Vutev.According to a survey by Alpha Research, almost one in two Bulgarian companies (40%) expects its presence on the fair to open its way to foreign markets. The established business contacts and the opportunities to make their names and products popular stimulate 75% of the investigated companies to participate in the Plovdiv Fair. In the past few years, one in five Bulgarian participants has come to the fair for the first time, and two thirds of the companies are traditional exhibitors there, according to the results presented by Alpha Research.The financing of the business, the search for new markets, and the harmonization of production with the European legislation are the main problems in front of Bulgarian entrepreneurs, they said in talks with Nikolay Vassilev, Vice Premier and Minister of Economy, who opened the 23rd international spring exhibition. This is the first time I had time to walk through the houses and talk to the businessmen. For example, cosmetics producers told me they need time to adapt to the European standards. I also talked with marble producers who import raw material and export ready products to the European Union. They have problems with the transition, too, because we have not yet adopted special protocols for the origin of the commodities. These protocols will be ready within a few months. Obviously, producers feel good - turnovers and profits are going up. I'm impressed by the talent and the activity of the Bulgarian entrepreneurs. The number of small and medium-sized enterprises (which are employers, taxpayers and contributors to the GDP) is constantly growing, Nikolay Vassilev told the BANKER weekly.