Despite the crisis, Italian enterprises have confidence in Romania

by Mario Iaccarino, Director of the Italian National Institute for Foreign Trade (ICE) Bucharest

The festivities occasioned by the celebration of the National Day of Italy have already become a tradition for our entire Country, a means for emphasizing the role Italy plays in Romania politically, culturally and commercially. The Italian Festival is meant to outline these very aspects thru a series of festive and promotional Events organized in the run-up to this important holiday. As every year, the Italian National Institute for Foreign Trade (ICE) took care of the commercial aspect of the Festival.This year, too, we have tried to promote the best we could those economic sectors that made Italy famous throughout the world, namely consumer goods, agro-foodstuffs, textile and clothing, footwear and furniture. It is no mere chance that these Italian manufacturing sectors best reflect the genius and creativity of Italian manufacturers. With respect to this year’s Festival activities, I should mention the special section on the Embassy website including  daily updates of all the details involved.The Festival also provides the opportunity for emphasis being laid on the economic ties between Italy and Romania, which I can undoubtedly define as optimal. The Italian presence in Romania keeps growing. Year 2011 alone saw more than 1,300 Italian enterprises registered with the Trade Register, adding to which are daily requests for information from Italy from those eager to start up a business in Romania. The sectors most in demand are energy, mostly renewable energy, agriculture and infrastructure by and large.Trade exchanges between Italy and Romania are on the rise, up to a record high of EUR 12 bln in 2011, up 14.4 pc year on year, and early data for 2012 confirm the uptrend.Year 2011 proved quite propitious with respect to the number of orders received by Italian enterprises for carrying out large infrastructure projects, and this refers to ASTALDI operations at the Bucharest underground and construction of some motorway stretches, or railway upgrade, IMPRESA PIZZAROTTI, involved in the construction of motorway sections and railway revamps, Impregilo, hired to build a motorway segment, and TIRRENIA SCAVI as well, but also Societa italiana CONDOTTE D’ACQUA e COSSI COSTRUZIONI.Although foreign investment in general saw a decline of nearly 80 pc in Romania during 2008-2011, Italy however featured some characteristics that we can surely held as positive. The latest official data available show Italian investments between 1991 and 2010 matching 2.8 bln euro, and estimates put them at 3.1 bln euro at the end of 2011. Despite the crisis, Italian enterprises have confidence in this Country and believe that major growth is still possible in Romania.Aside from the investments made by many Italian Small and Medium-sized Enterprise in Romania aimed at improving the  quality of their products and services in order to make them more competitive, PIRELLI investments into expanding the tyre factory at Slatina, too, stand testimony to this will, as well as ENEL investments in the wind sector along with those made in revamping the electric power distribution network. We cannot leave DE LONGHI Veneto out obviously, a leader in small kitchen appliances, which purchased this year the Nokia plant in Cluj shutdown after only three years in operation  and where there will be invested  30 M euro, with 600 to 800 jobs going to be created.Relations between Italy and Romania have grown into more than mere economic ties. The Italians were the first who believed in this Country’s development, as they began investing here since the early ‘90s, at a very difficult time when they faced various problems which they succeeded in solving thanks to their trademark human and entrepreneurial abilities. After more than 20 years in this country, we can definitely say that the majority of the Italians living in Romania chose this Country as their adopted Homeland, built not only economic but also very strong affective ties, have contributed to Romania’s development, and, they also realize their role as protagonists of its future economic development..

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