Bulgaria's trade policy is the same as those of other members of the European Union. Non-tariff barriers include agricultural and manufacturing subsidies, import restrictions for some goods and services, market access restrictions in some service sectors, non-transparent and restrictive regulations and standards, and inconsistent customs administration across EU members. For further information, consult the Country Commercial guide "Doing Business in Bulgaria" by Buyusa.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
20% for non-European countries.
Bulgaria joined the EU on January 1, 2007 and became part of the EU customs union. Bulgaria applies the Harmonised Customs system on the basis of the TARIC classification.
Goods are declared by a customs declaration. Besides the customs declaration, the other required documents by the customs authorities are an invoice, certificate of origin, transport documents, etc. A veterinary or phyto-sanitary certificate is necessary for goods of animal or plant origin. For further information visit the website of Bulgaria customs.
As part of the "SAFE" standards advocated by the World Customs Organization (WCO), the European Union has set up a new system of import controls, the "Import Control System" (ICS), which aims to secure the flow of goods at the time of their entry into the customs territory of the EU. This control system, part of the Community Program eCustomer, has been in effect since January 1, 2011. Since then, operators are required to pass an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) to the customs of the country of entry, prior to the introduction of goods into the customs territory of the European Union.
Samples are subject to the same procedures. The customs officials are authorized to seize a sample of merchandise in order to analyze it.
The Bulgarian consumer still prefers to use the local store near their homes. There are three major factors, which influence the choice of the place for shopping: the proximity to the home and the working place; the level of prices; and the range of goods. The Bulgarian consumer is still not very mobile – fewer than 30 per cent of consumers go shopping by automobile, which limits the choice of stores. Price is a major consideration in developing a market strategy.
Consumer Profile and Purchasing Power
Although Bulgaria has experienced growth for the last 10 years, the country remains one of the EU’s poorest countries with limited consumer disposable income.
Bulgaria is well-situated, between Western Europe and Turkey however the roads and railways are badly maintained. The train remains the best way to transport goods in the country. A bilateral agreement on transport of goods by road and the promotion of combined transport between Bulgaria and the European Community was signed in July 2000. With regard to goods transport, the bilateral agreement establishing certain conditions for the carriage of goods by road and the promotion of combined transport entered into force in 2001. However, the capacity of the Ministry of Transport to prepare, manage and monitor trans-European network projects is still inadequate.
The industrial sector represents 30% of economic activity in Bulgaria and employs 30% of the active population. Principal industrial activities are centered on electricity, gas, chemical products, nuclear energy and the petroleum industry.