“We expect many new opportunities in 2014 for the Italian companies”

interview with H.E. DIEGO BRASIOLI, Ambassador of Italy in Romania.

see the current level of Italianinvestments in Romania?

I consider our investment inRomania remarkable. ManyItalian businessmen have chosento invest here in the pastyears, due to the opportunitiesoffered. Many others are currentlydeveloping new businesses,in traditional manufacturingsectors, in services and in otherstrategic areas, such as agricultureand energy. In the firsteleven months of last year, Italyreaffirmed its position of secondtrading partner of Romania, having a share of11.34% of the overall trade ofthe country (11.6% of exportsand 11.1% of imports). Bilateral trade was up to morethan 10.9 billion EUR, with anincrease of 2.75% compared tothe same period of 2012. Italyhas been for years the firstinvestor in Romania by numberof registered companies (37,029at the end of December 2013,out of which 17,883are active,with a paid up capital ofapproximately 1.614 billionEUR). In 2013, 1,986 newItalian companies were registered,representing 31.1% of thetotal number of new companieswith foreign participation registeredin the Country. I am veryproud to say that Italianinvestors are proving to be competitiveand innovative in linewith the best Italian entrepreneurialtradition. I witness thesequalities in my daily contactswith Italian entrepreneurs.

Which is the role of theEmbassy in the process ofattracting Italian investmentsin Romania?

As recalled, we expect manynew opportunities in 2014 forthe Italian companies. The roleof the Italian Embassy inBucharest is crucial, as Italy andRomania share the view that isimportant to further enhancethe already excellent economicand trade relations. At the coreof our mission stands the openingto international markets inorder to support Italian firmsand foster economic growth forItaly. From a practical point ofview, this means assisting ourfirms in their internationalizationprocesses from the momentthey start looking abroad, byproviding them with usefulinformation and analysis concerningthe Romanian marketas well as by assisting them intheir further steps. Italy can alsocount, in Romania, on the workof other Institutions, belongingto the so called ‘Sistema Paese’,which play a key role in ensuringimportant services and in assistingour business (the ItalianTrade Agency, the ItalianChamber of Commerce forRomania, ConfindustriaRomania, SACE).

Which are the main areas ofinterest for the Italianinvestors?

They are the ones alreadymentioned, like agriculture andenergy (distribution and relatedservices), but also infrastructure,transport and traditional manufacturing.The most recent onesare high tech, agro-industry,services, energy production andlogistics. I would like to mentionthat Italian enterprises can alsocount on the presence of Italianbanks and insurance agencies aswell as on legal experts that canguide them towards successfulinvestments, that increased evenin the difficult years of the economiccrisis.

Which are the difficulties ofItalian investors in Romania?

Romania is open to foreign investments and it offers interesting opportunities also for thesmall and medium size Italianenterprises. There is neverthelessplace for further improvement ofthe business environment andbureaucratic red tape. Which are, according to youropinion, the administrativemeasures to be taken by theRomanian Authorities,which could encourageItalian businessmen to investfurther?The Romanian Authoritiesshould continue carrying ontheir efforts aimed at improvingthe absorption of EUFunds. It would also be recommendedthat SMEs get theright support being the backboneof the economy ofRomania as well as of Italy.

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