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May 25, 2022

Matan Safran, Counsellor Head of the Economic and Trade Mission of Israel to Romania: I am proud to say that today we have reached a new era of cooperation between our two countries

Last year when I gave the interview I stated that we can and should do much more to enlarge and diversify our economic ties. Now I am proud to say that today we have reached a new era of cooperation between our two countries. An era in which in order to keep up with all the changing aspects of the international environment not only have we found creative ways to satisfy the needs of each country, but we managed to do it in such a manner that both countries have discovered new and prosperous paths.

Romania and Israel are complimentary to each other in various sectors, which leads to tremendous opportunities for combining our expertise and considerable potential for expanding trade and investment partnerships.

This year we were honored to enjoy the visit of Mr. Florian Bodog, the Romanian Minister of Health to MedinIsrael, and the visit of Mr. Alexandru Petrescu, the Romanian Minister for Business Environment, Commerce and Entrepreneurship. On these two sectors, medical and business, which are among the pillars of building a sustainable economy, we have started a powerful collaboration which will have an impact on the long term.

Among other sectors that we are focusing on, water occupies an important role. The world’s problem with water isn’t that it’s disappearing; the water is here. The issue is that in many areas, growing populations have less and less water per capita because of crumbling infrastructure leading to massive leaking; short-sighted and self-interested water management, leading to egregious waste, and polluted groundwater. The Israeli water industry is widely acknowledged as a world leader, especially with its market-leading, entrepreneurial technologies in the areas of desalination, water treatment, drip irrigation and water security. In the last 2 years we organized several activities both in Romania and Israel on this field. As a glimpse on our latest activities: in the end of January 2017 we organized a roadshow in Israel for 13 of the largest Romanian municipal and regional water companies. The delegation gathered 25 professionals from the Romanian water sector (Vice President of Romanian Water Association, Director of regional and municipal water companies, directors of water equipment suppliers). The agenda of the delegation included: professional tours (waste water treatment plants, water and desalination facilities), meetings with Israeli municipal water companies (Jerusalem water company, Eilat water company), innovative technologies demonstration and business discussions.

Furthermore, between 12 – 14 September 2017 we will organize in Tel Aviv a world renowned event in the water sector called Watec. The event is an international professional exhibition that offers a meeting place for manufacturers, researchers, investors, academics, purchasers and decision-makers representing both local and international businesses. Israel was a natural choice for such an event, as it is one of the first and fewest countries to successfully overcome its limitation in water resources. This was accomplished through education, intelligent water management and first and foremost implementation of innovative technologies. We are working on preparing an important delegation from Romania to Israel for this prestigious event.

Coming from a different angle – we are also active in the Cyber sector. Nowadays, this domain has created various controversies all around the world from different perspectives. Israel is an important player in cybersecurity innovation and development, and Israeli cybersecurity companies are at the forefront of technology, rubbing shoulders with global industry giants. In 2016 we organized several events in the cyber sector and I would like to highlight one of the most important. Thus in November 2016 an important Romanian delegation (law enforcements agencies, intelligence services, utilities companies, banks and system integrators) visited HLS & Cyber Show, an important conference in the field of homeland & cyber security. As for this year, we are working to organize an event that will bring in Romania world renowned cyber security experts, several of the most important companies in the world in this field. The event will be dedicated to critical infrastructure companies, fintech industry and industry in general.

Moreover, thinking at a macro level, we all understand the role trade plays in the improvement of livelihoods all around the world. In this light, Israel and Romania could benefit from their role in the International Trade system through the international treaties. In our eyes combining the advantages of both countries which include natural resources, know-how, technology, human capita, strategic geopolitical location and innovative capabilities would create a win-win situation. Israel is one of the world’s pioneers in its free trade agreements network that allow its products to enjoy low customs (and in some cases – no customs at all) upon entering the countries in which Israel has signed agreements with. Thus, products manufactured in Israel have a great competitive advantage. Israel has signed free trade agreements and is in negotiation on such agreements with some markets that currently do not have agreements with the EU. Such markets and countries include the US, Mercosur and of course, Far East. In light of the great strengths of both countries mentioned above, this could be a truly WIN-WIN situation. The products would be manufactured in Romania and exported to Israel where they will undergo further processing using advance Israeli technologies. By that, these products will receive an Israeli origin and benefit from the Israel’s free trade agreements. Such process can create a tremendous “value chain” between the countries which will enhance the trade and investments between the countries to the level it should be – to match the amazing potential. Moreover, it will be sustainable, strategic and long lasting.

As I said with previous occasions, I have a profound admiration for the Romanian people, for their inherited ability to find solutions and to overcome adversity. An ability which is so valued in the Israeli culture.  Through our efforts and commitment, we will be able to achieve more and develop stronger business and friendship relationships between our two countries.

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