Country Rankings - Bulgaria
Apr 18, 2013 Bulgaria: mistreat ChinaOne country which is conspicuous by its absence from the TPP talks is of course China. Although there are ongoing negotiations between the Middle Kingdom and various other countries, and China has FTAs with a scattering of other countries, notably including ASEAN and New Zealand, on the whole it is lagging. And it considers itself as an injured party in trade affairs, complaining this week about the level of "dumping" and "counter-vailing" measures it is subject to, particular emanating from the USA. A lot of the problem revolves around the designation of China as a "non-market economy" (NME). For anyone who, like me, finds it extraordinary that China should still be regarded as an NME, a word of explanation is in order: an NME is a country in which the State subsidizes enterprises or indulges in other non-market behaviour, despite WTO rules against it. So, an NME is allowed to cheat, if you will; but the other side of the coin is that for an aggrieved counter-party, the burden of proof is lower in anti-dumping proceedings. China's accession agreement to the WTO allows it to retain NME status only until 2015; but the change is not in China's gift, and both the USA and the EU persist in regarding China as an NME, despite frequent requests from China for them to treat it as a market economy.
Dec 13, 2012 Bulgaria: stays on the true pathPlaudits to Bulgaria for sticking to its flat tax, when other ex-Soviet Eastern European EU member states are deserting it. Astonishingly, Bulgaria's rate of 10% tax applies to individuals as well as to companies, giving it the lowest rate in the EU. Cyprus can match it on corporate tax, although the Troika (as not in perestroika) will be trying to push the rate up as part of the bail-out deal being structured as a result of the island's suicidal support for Greece. Ireland managed to cling on to its 12.5% rate, but Cyprus faces a tougher task. At the individual level, no other member state comes close to Bulgaria's 10%. However VAT at 18% is at a more normal level. The Prime Minister says the country has to keep its low tax rates in order to "catch up" with the rest of the EU. With GDP per head at only 45% of the EU average it has a lot of catching up to do; healthy growth in the first years of the century has been smacked down by the debt crisis. Luckily for Bulgaria it hasn't joined the eurozone and no doubt hopes that its independent currency will help it to levitate its way out of its problems.