Today the United States of America celebrates its Independence Day. On this momentous occasion, we extend our heartfelt congratulation and best wishes to the American people.
The shared values of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law are shaping the Strategic Partnership between Romania and the United States, which in a year time will mark its 20th anniversary. The close ties between our countries go back in history. They are also grounded, irrespective of where the paths of the history have taken our nations in our 136 years of the diplomatic relations, on the existence of an important Romanian-American community, which has positively influenced the fabric of the US nation. Sharing also a strong commitment to promoting these values and a robust engagement to regional and global security makes Romania a natural ally and a reliable transatlantic partner of the United States in this part of Europe and worldwide.
A pillar of our foreign and security policy in synergy with our EU and NATO membership, the Strategic Partnership has substantially contributed to Romania’s security and to the progress of the Romanian society. Our cooperation has significantly expanded since the signing, nearly five years ago in Washington D.C., of the Joint Declaration on the Strategic Partnership for the 21st century and of the Agreement between Romania and the United States of America on the Deployment of the United States Ballistic Missile Defense System in Romania. Defense, economy, energy, law enforcement, and academic exchanges are only some of the areas in which the joint work with our US partners has enabled us to make a difference in the Romanian society. We are proud of what our nations have accomplished and we look forward to expand our Partnership.
Over the past year, we have witnessed a very good pace of our bilateral political dialogue, including through meetings at the high level. Both President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos met with Vice President Biden. There have been also numerous contacts between other high ranking Romanian and US officials, including at ministerial level, meetings of the bilateral working groups and other structures of dialogue within our Strategic Partnership. We are confident that the growing dynamic of our political dialogue will continue in the upcoming months both in Bucharest and Washington.
The defense and security dimension has been at the heart of our cooperation being shaped by key strategic projects and a diligent joint work on carrying out the decisions of the NATO Summit in Wales. We have also focused significantly on bringing to fruition the provisions of the European Reassurance Initiative. The enhanced and diversified US military presence in Romania, the growing land, air and maritime combined exercises, training and operations executed in concert with the Romanian armed forces are a testament to the US commitment both to Romania’s and regional security. In May we have completed, the defensive Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System in Deveselu, the crown jewel of the Romanian-American cooperation and an important component in building up NATO’s ballistic missile defense system, which will provide security benefits to the whole of the Alliance. Our constant dialogue on finding adequate responses to the challenges in our region and beyond has been particularly valuable in the run up to the upcoming Warsaw NATO Summit.
Equally important, in the past year we have particularly focused our efforts on expanding the bilateral economic dimension with important practical outcomes. Bilateral trade doubled in the last 5 years, reaching a record level of 2.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2014, but there is room for doing more together in terms of generating opportunities in economic sectors like energy, IT, automotive industry, and agriculture, bringing more US investments to Romania and increasing Romanian economic footprint in the US. We have been closely cooperating to increase Romania’s attractiveness for foreign investors including through the bilateral Working Groups on economic and energy security issues, established in the framework of the Romania-US Task Force for the implementation of the Strategic Partnership, by promoting the good governance in the economy, making the business climate in Romania more stable, more predictable and more transparent.
We have also expanded our collaboration on other avenues of our Partnership. At the beginning of 2016, we have launched two new bilateral Working Groups on cyber-security and on education, research, innovation, technological cooperation and culture. We are keen on further developing our joint work in this field thus creating more benefits and opportunities for Romania’s bright, talented and highly skilled people.
We look forward to forging even further the bonds of trust, friendship and cooperation between Romania and the United States to unlock the full potential of our Strategic Partnership for a more secure and prosperous tomorrow.