US foreign direct investment (FDI) in Bulgaria grew by over BGN1bn ($550m) between 2016 and 2021, reaching $3.04bn, a report published by the American Chamber in Bulgaria shows.

According to the report, the number of US firms operating in Bulgaria grew by 31% in the same period, while the number of employees recruited by American companies in the country expanded by almost half (43%).

The largest growth was recorded in the manufacturing sector, in which 18 US companies recorded 30% of the total American business revenues in Bulgaria. Around 40.9% of US direct investment in Bulgaria went into manufacturing.

“Regions like Sevlievo, Razgrad, Gabrovo, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Srednogorie, Sofia and others have developed steadily over the past years thanks to the work and investments of American and Canadian companies,” said Olivier Marquette, President of AmCham Bulgaria.

“Around the world, US investment means democracy, sustainability, peace and prosperity. From a national perspective, we should all be proud that, despite the turbulence of the political transition that began with the fall of the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the state-controlled economy, and with several serious political challenges that followed, Bulgaria has managed to attract and retain a number of investors, including from the United States and Canada,” he continued.

Bulgaria has seen its direct investment levels expand significantly in 2023. According to the Bulgarian National Bank, FDI inflows grew by 48.4% in the first nine months of 2023, with the largest amounts coming from the Netherlands (€691.6m, or $746.8m) and Austria (€288.9m). At the same time, the largest outflows of Bulgarian FDI went to Israel (€15.6m) and Russia (€15.5m).

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“This report shows the significant role of US investors in Bulgaria across a wide range of industries, placing the US among the four largest investors in Bulgaria,” said Kenneth Merten, US Ambassador to Bulgaria. “US investment supports tens of thousands of jobs in dynamic sectors such as manufacturing, energy, information and communications technology and trade.”