BCCI will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Bulgaria’s first trade association

  • BCCI will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Bulgaria’s first trade association


    SOFIA, BULGARIA – In an interview for radio station Horizont’s “Neshto Poveche” program, Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) President Tsvetan Simeonov announced that the BCCI planned to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Association of Grocers, the first trade association in Bulgaria, on August 10. Mr. Simeonov noted that given the BCCI’s illustrious standing as the oldest organization of entrepreneurs in Bulgaria formed after the country’s liberation, the BCCI has never ceased to look for positive examples in history of the entrepreneurial spirit of Bulgarians. He said, “Our experts discovered that there existed an Association of Grocers founded in 1812, evidenced by documents that we have obtained. The Association was called “Three Saints” and had its own icon (at left), which has been preserved in the Sveta Nedelya Cathedral in Sofia. It had an extremely important role as it sold goods on credit, financed schools and often participated in revolutionary activities. Between the two World Wars, its members sacrificed their own interests when they decided, in an organized manner, to increase the granting of credit.”

    While on the program Mr. Simeonov also aired his views on the current three-month price freeze of staple foods negotiated between several of Bulgaria’s state departments and its three largest retail chains in the face of rising food prices. According to him, a competitive environment, rather than price controls, should determine the price levels of goods. Entrepreneurs know that in such an environment production and levels of employment will increase, causing respect for the government to grow as well. Mr. Simeonov emphasized that the BCCI approves of the government’s idea to combat dissatisfaction over the rising costs of living by increasing pensions, but not by turning society against retail chains and freezing food prices. He noted that this is unacceptable and contradicts market principles.

    Mr. Simeonov also explained that he had no concerns over how the retail chains’ tripartite dialogue with the state departments might impact the BCCI and was waiting for the Constitutional Court of Bulgaria to make its decision about the issue. He added, “Unfortunately in Bulgaria, the government departments are still too imprudent to listen to other opinions, and that is important.”