BTA interview

site.btaUS Commercial Service Office Director Kellie Holloway Jarman: Bulgarian Investment Forum Was Extremely Successful

US Commercial Service Office Director Kellie Holloway Jarman: Bulgarian Investment Forum Was Extremely Successful
US Commercial Service Office Director Kellie Holloway Jarman: Bulgarian Investment Forum Was Extremely Successful
Kellie Holloway Jarman

A senior Oregon official described as extremely successful this week's Portland visit by a delegation led by the InvestBulgaria Agency. Kellie Holloway Jarman, Director at the Portland office of the US Commercial Service, spoke to BTA a day after attending the InvestBulgaria Agency's second business and investment forum aiming to establish Bulgaria as a successful investment destination. The forum was focused on the electronics and IT industry. It is part of a roadshow that has already taken the Bulgarian delegation to Sunnyvale, California.

Holloway Jarman said the US state of Oregon has a very vibrant and dynamic economy, with some particularly robust sectors. Some of its industries are experiencing rapid growth, and they have good synergy with the priority sectors identified by the Bulgarian delegation, she said.

Among the areas with potential for bilateral cooperation, she singled out electronics and semiconductors, clean technology, and agribusiness. She hailed as particularly efficient the Bulgarian delegation's approach of providing "end-to-end" expertise: the delegation includes a representative of the authorities; members knowledgeable about grants, investment incentives and the needs of the business community; business representatives; and, what is often missing on other occasions, the expat perspective.

By presenting the full picture, the Bulgarians gave a very effective and strong presentation and issued a strong message to the companies present at the event, Holloway Jarman said.

According to her, in-person presence and face-to-face talks helped allay the US investors' anxiety about the unknown, which is the main negative factor that may discourage them. To US companies, especially to small and medium-sized businesses in Oregon, part of the challenge is to learn how to gain a foothold on the European market; the visiting delegation did a good job explaining the costs and the benefits of Bulgaria being an active part of the European Union.

Low costs, a possibility to break into the market, low costs of doing business compared to other markets, and a gateway location are among Bulgaria's greatest advantages, the Oregon official said, giving high marks for the opportunity for personal contact and expressing her expectation of very productive future talks.

She was impressed by a video shown during the forum, presenting Bulgaria's culture and history in what she called a very intriguing way.

Asked what might discourage US companies, she said they try to avoid risks and the unknown. One potential risk has to do with the overall expenses and the time it takes to study and weigh various options of expanding into Bulgaria and the EU. Therefore, an in-person visit, personal presence and direct face-to-face talks are an excellent way to dispel some of these fears and worries. The delegation was very successful in that, Holloway Jarman said.

She noted that the delegation made Oregon companies more curious and perceptive about considering Bulgaria as a point of first entry into the market of Europe. In this sense, it was a very successful visit which will certainly lead to very productive talks, she said.

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By 20:45 on 04.02.2023 Today`s news

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