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July 3, 2022
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“More Dutch investors will come to do business in Romania”

Interview with Mr. Peter de Ruiter, President of the Netherlands – Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers Romania leading the Tax and Legal Practice.

–    Are the political turbulences that took / take place in Romania affecting the Dutch investments here and / or the Dutch investors present on the local market?

No. Overall, the foreign investors and the Dutch investors see these turbulences as an unpleasant incident, something uncomfortable and disturbing, but not as something of such impact on the investments’ environment. So since there were turbulences and animosity there were some serious concerns, but the result is that these people continue to do business.

–    Regarding the financial crisis which seems to never end, how do you think it affects the Dutch investments in Romania? What kind of relations do the Dutch investors have with the Romanian authorities and institutions?

The ongoing crisis is probably good for the Dutch investors present in Romania. Because the overall trend and pressure from the business perspective are to further look at efficiency and cost reduction and to finding the best way to implement your business model in the sense of the best resources for your product or for your services. And Romania continues to have good position and good fact patterns in place which makes it an attractive country for the short term but also for the long term investments. The human resources are good, available and relatively cheap. But I’d rather put them in this order: good, available and cheap. Exactly from the perspective of Dutch investors, you’ll see that some of our businesses, some of our industries in the Netherlands, despite the fact that in some other sectors the unemployment is increasing, some other sectors, as the IT, is looking for labour. With a further trend of continued search for the best place for production, the best place for development, I think Romania has so much to offer. Today we also see that gradually, but clearly and constantly, the value curve is going up for Romania. It is not that we only see Romania as a country with cheap labour and for doing some simple stuff, we do see an increase in the end-value of production. Other important sectors where we can see an increase of interest from the Dutch investors is agriculture where there is needed a lot of experience and knowledge and best practices. In Romania you have a lot of available agricultural land but it needs to have investment and knowledge and that’s where the Dutch investors and the universities and some other entities are coming.

The Dutch investors have regular communication with different ministries and different institutions. The government has a very open attitude towards the Dutch investors. I cannot think of a single moment in which we had problems such as the government or another institution accusing or avoiding or not speaking to the Dutch investors.

An important aspect to mention is that the Dutch business community has supported Romania to enter the Schengen zone, we are trying our best to advocate the case of Romania to join the Schengen zone as soon as possible.

–       What are your predictions regarding the Dutch investors in Romania? Do you forecast they will reduce their presence on the local market or, on the opposite, more investors from Holland will come to Romania to do business here?

 

The Dutch investments in Romania will increase, both in number but also in value. We expect that more and more players from the Netherlands will come to Romania. And I am referring to production, IT, agriculture and logistics. At the moment, there are already 4,000 Dutch companies registered in Romania and that’s a lot, that’s making us the largest investor here. And to be added, many Dutch companies that have been here and moved to China afterwards because it’s cheaper to produce over there, they come back now to Romania because here there is better labour – better educated, faster, more detail oriented; so there are not only new investors, there are also investors that are coming back.

Romania has potential to be the production unit of the European Union and to take some of the success from China.

–       I know that Holland is the biggest investor in Romania. What is the amount of the Dutch investments? In order to increase these investments, would you have any suggestions in regard of the legal framework?

There is still a lot to be done regarding the legal framework. Businessmen are always looking for optimization and Romania still can do a lot to further improve that. And we see the necessity to really take things seriously and not only to simplify the rules but also be more transparent and comforting – not making things easier but making them more clear. So there is room for improvement, in the area of taxation and also in other areas. Certain rules that are meant to regulate the entrepreneurial activities need to be looked at and improved.

–       What was the outcome of the meeting you had in February with the Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean and the Dutch business people in The Hague? Is the somehow tense relation regarding the Schengen issue affecting business?

The interaction with the Dutch business community in the Netherlands was very strong and very positive. They are full in line with Romania’s potential. In general, we have an organization called the Dutch – Romanian Network, which is opening always the conversations with the Romanian government and with the Dutch government, so, especially at business level, I believe that the opportunities are known, they are seen, there is a lot of interest in Romania. Of course not all the Dutch companies are coming here but the companies that are interested in investing abroad, they definitely are looking at Romania. The dialogue is continuing especially at business level.

Regarding how the Schengen issue could affect our businesses here, there were indeed some blockages and some of the transportation companies faced problems at the border. I think that shouldn’t have happened. But these incidents were sorted out in most cases in a fast way, not fast enough though. I don’t hear at the moment about any kind of issues regarding problems with the distribution.

Our position is that Romania is ready to enter the Schengen zone and people should be free to travel.

 

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