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Standart’s discussion: Auto industry brings Bulgaria’s economy at full throttle

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Standart’s discussion: Auto industry brings Bulgaria’s economy at full throttle

Bulgaria's automobile industry is the fastest developing sector of Bulgaria's economy. More than 50 per cent of all investment in the past few years has been dedicated to this sector. The trend is most likely going to continue, experts say.

All of Bulgaria's existing manufacture industries, especially from 2014 up to now, have registered double growth in both production volume and hiring personnel. Engineering industries have seen a growth of over 50 percent. The appraisal of this industry shows that it contributes around 4 per cent of country's GDP, said Ivan Mihailov, board chairman of Automotive Cluster Bulgaria (ACB).
This non-governmental organisation was established in 2012 with the aim of supporting the auto industry of Bulgaria. Initially, only 30 companies were members of the cluster – all of them manufacturing car parts and employing around 9000 people.

Currently, ACB has more than 80 member companies and their number grows each year. The total number the industry employs now is more 45 000 people, which is 10 000 more listed only for the past two years.

Automobile sector also registers export growth. Ministry of economy data shows a record increase of 60 per cent in 2010, while the growth in 2014 and 2015 is indicative of the preserved trend, with 17 per cent and 16 per cent respectively.

"Our country is an attractive investment destination in the manufacture of components for the auto industry, and in the foreseeable future – in the production of whole cars. Our automobile industry will be the first to enter the Industry 4.0 and this is already started happening", said the executive director of the cluster Lyubomir Stanislavov in an interview with Bloomberg TV Bulgaria.

Companies in this super important Bulgarian economic sector also show that the country has a serious lack of trained personnel and this is the sector's fundamental problem. This topic will be the focal point of the discussion entitled "Yes! To Bulgaria's Automobile Manufacturing", organized by Standart newspaper in partnership with the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association and Automotive Cluster Bulgaria. At the forum today, which will take place at the Mrinela hotel in Sofia, businesses will meet with deputy prime minister for the economic and demographic policy Valeri Simeonov, deputy ministers Lachezar Hristov of economy and Tanya Mihailova of education, the executive director of Bulgarian Investment Agency Stamen Yanev.

Other important persons to take part in the discussions include Antoaneta Bares, executive director of "Labour Services" chief directorate at the Employment Agency, Rumiana Mihailova, director of the General Labour Inspectorate Executive Agency, Milena Damyanova – chair of the parliamentary committee for education and science, Petar Kanev, chairman of the Committee for economy and tourism in the National Assembly, as well as principles of vocational schools and technical universities' rectors.

State policies in support of Bulgarian auto industry, legislative initiatives for sector development, the contribution of Bulgarian science for the auto industry, Labour Code changes ideas and others.

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