The American Chamber of Commerce in Romania (AmCham Romania), leading business association in Romania, speaks on behalf of more than 400 members, U.S., International and local companies doing business in Romania. Every U.S. AmCham company represents an American success story of doing business in Romania, and despite sometimes rough economic conditions, there are opportunities for American businesses in areas such as automotive industry, engineering industry, machinery and equipment, agriculture and food processing industry, information technology, energy, banking and finance, electronic industry, chemical and pharmaceutical industry, telecommunications, tourism. Over the past years we noticed that U.S businesses specifically targeted such industries, most of the U.S investors being large corporations with international footprint.
In terms of numbers, nearly $2 billion worth of goods and $1 billion worth of services are currently traded across the Atlantic between the United States and Europe every single day. The U.S -Romanian trade is clearly not as high with over $2 billion in Romanian exports to the U.S. and just under $1 billion in U.S exports to Romania, according to the latest edition of the Commercial Guide for U.S companies issued by the U.S department of Commerce, so there is plenty of room to grow. Still, Romania offers strategic location in the south-eastern Europe, natural resources, a sizable domestic market, well-educated workforce and EU membership, as valuable assets for any investor prospecting the market. However, the low standard of Romania’s physical infrastructure, including roads, highways, rail, airports etc. is a major downside that affects the country’s ability to attract more foreign investments. A comprehensive and coordinated plan to bring Romanian infrastructure to the EU level should be high on the Government’s list of priorities. For more than 20 years, AmCham has been focusing on what could make Romania a more competitive destination on the investors’ map, constantly bringing industry specific needs in front of authorities in view of better regulations for a sustainable and stable business environment, with the belief that supporting this approach will lead to higher GDP per capita, higher profit margins and higher standards of living for the citizens.
Another important aspect that I need to bring up in this context is the fact that Romania marks more than 4 years since the adoption of the “Joint Declaration on the Strategic Partnership for the 21st Century with the United States of America”, a document with strategic importance, that has set favourable grounds for enhanced economic ties between the two countries, with a solid impact in developing the existing commercial relations. Also, the Romanian-U.S bilateral cooperation framework goes beyond the economic relationship and is much wider in the context of the military NATO alliance that has recently experienced a rapid increase.
Another macroeconomic aspect that will definitely be a game changer is the adoption of the TTIP agreement, that once successfully negotiated represents a unique opportunity to eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy, improve regulatory practices, promote investment flows between Europe and the US, and ensure that future trading standards align to shared values across a range of issues, thus more investments will come to Romania. AmCham Romania has the topic on its agenda, likewise its partners in the AmChams in Europe network, and has been actively engaged in providing the business community and civil society with a fair understanding of the opportunities TTIP is expected to bring forth at the European and national level.
Apart from TTIP, the relationship between the US and Romania can also be improved locally. In order to attract more FDI, Romania needs to increase its economic competitiveness, especially compared to the countries in the region. Therefore, transparency of the legislation process, a constructive dialogue with all the stakeholders, a honest behavior in public governance, and a stable economy are strategic factors that have the potential to increase both the confidence of the investors prospecting the market and the attractiveness of a market, and U.S investors’ like any other investor are interested in these specific issues.
AmCham Romania’s policy and interaction with the Government have long focused on increasing Romania’s economic competitiveness, and AmCham remains committed to continue its advocacy work for better policies in the areas of taxation, labour market, infrastructure, energy etc., constantly militating for a favourable, stable and transparent business climate for all actors, including entrepreneurs and SMEs. These are key factors in creating and supporting a healthy local business climate, creating value in terms of innovation, performance, and new jobs.