The collaboration betweenItaly and Romania is fair-mindedand solid. Italy is significantlypresent in Romania, economicallyspeaking, and likewise, there isa large number of Romanians inItaly. This social and economiccontext secures Romania’s attractivenessto entrepreneurs andmakes it a country in which moreinvestments should be made. Wecan undoubtedly say the Italianoperators’ interest in Romaniahas continued to grow, despiteconjectural difficulties.From 1990 until 2013, over37,000 Italian capital companieshave been registered in our country.18,000 companies have beenactive so far and investments havereached close to EUR 3 billion.In 2013 alone, 1986 new companieswere launched, accountingfor 30 percent of all new foreigncapital companies registered inRomania. For over 10 years, Italyhas been and remains the maininvesting country from the pointof view of overall number ofcompanies, followed byGermany, Turkey, Hungary,China, France, and the UnitedStates.By the end of 2012, Italiancompanies had invested EUR 2.9billion, 5 percent of the total.With 7.7 percent, Italy is fourthin the ranking of greenfieldinvestments made in Romania.I believe Romania continuesto provide those who wish toinvest with numerous opportunities,so we can afford to be optimisticregarding the future. Someof the competitive advantagesthis country has to offer includegeographical proximity to the EUand its status as EU MemberState, a pool of qualified laborforceat costs that are small comparedto other European countries,and low taxation levels.Let us not forget we are talkingabout a country whose marketis second in Central-EasternEurope and seventh by populationsize. Of course, potentialinvestors must keep in mind severalproblematic aspects, particularlywhere infrastructure,bureaucracy, and access to loansare concerned. Nonetheless,Romania has one of the mostattractive business environmentsfor investors, especially in sectorssuch as infrastructure, energyproduction, agriculture, environmentalprotection and wastemanagement, food processing,metal and mechanical industry,healthcare, and outsourcing services.We are also nearing a new andimportant European Fund programmingsession (2014-2020),which is both a strong indicatorof the country’s progress in developmentand an opportunity forItalian entrepreneurs to consolidatetheir presence in Romania. Ihave noticed Italian companiesare considerably interested in participatingin bids organized inRomania, both directly as biddersand as partners of local companies,in particular in the infrastructureand construction sectors.Moreover, the demand forinformation on state measuresaimed at stimulating investmentsand legislation on state aid forcompanies has increased to agreat extent.We continue to conductactivities with Desk FondiStrutturali, dedicated to supportingItalian companies interestedin European Funds and weintend to facilitate the emergenceof more South Italian companieson the Romanian market throughthe ‘South Export’ Plan.The ICE agency serves theinterests of Italian companies thatwish to capitalize on the considerablepotential of a market thatcame in third among Europeancountries by growth rate (+3.5percent) in 2013. In this respect,we offer investors a wide range ofservices, from market-relatedinformation to identifying potentialpartners, from informationon the regulations for Europeanand national bids to high-leveland tailor-made consultant servicesbased on clients’ specificneeds.
by Luca Gentile Director of theBucharest Office of ICE Agency