Share of intra-EU exports, exaggeratedly high, endangers the economy

+ Confining of trade flows endangers exports’ role as GDP growth engine

The year that just ended shows that Romanian authorities have no kind of policy to reorient our trade flows outside the European Union area. When it comes to foreign trade, we are among the few states that are over-dependent on relations with the other EU states. Thus, according to the information we have from the Economy Ministry, in the first 10 months of last year the share of total trade with EU member states grew from 73.2 per cent of total Romanian trade in the same period the year before to 75.5 per cent. We are the only country that surpasses the 75 per cent threshold.

Since the economies of most developed states of the EU continue to lack absorption potential, our country’s exports have all chances to remain at around EUR 50-55 bln, the level that will be registered for the whole 2015.

According to the statistics at our disposal, the total value of Romania’s foreign trade stood at EUR 98.221 bln, up by 5.8 per cent year-on-year. Exports grew to EUR 45.905 bln (+4.3 per cent) and imports to EUR 52.315 bln (+7.1 per cent). In these conditions, Romania’s trade deficit grew by 31.6 per cent, from EUR 4.870 bln (on 31 October 2014) to EUR 6.409 bln (on 31 December 2015).

Romania’s total intra-EU trade grew by 9.1 per cent, exports growing by 8.5 per cent to EUR 33.887 bln and imports by 9.6 per cent to EUR 40.226 bln. The intra-EU trade deficit grew by 15.8 per cent year-on-year, from EUR 5.509 bln to EUR 6.378 bln.

Overall non-EU trade registered a downturn mainly due to a drop in exports. Romania’s total non-EU trade stood at EUR 24.067 bln, down by 3.2 per cent year-on-year, of which exports totalled EUR 12.017 bln (-5.7 per cent) and imports EUR 12.049 bln (-0.5 per cent). Romania trades mainly with European states (85.4 per cent of exports and 89.5 per cent of imports). Intra-EU trade represents 73.8 per cent of exports and 77 per cent of imports.

Economy Ministry officials showed no signs last year and show no signs this year either that the situation will change. Most export promotion funds are allocated for attendance at fairs and economic missions in Western Europe. Our trade with China registers a deficit of EUR 2 bln, and Romania is almost inexistent in Asia. Not to mention Africa where, if we disregard the exports of auto vehicles and auto parts to Morocco and Algeria, our country is present with exports totalling only several thousand Euros per month.

A breakdown of Romania’s exports by main destination in the first ten months of 2015 reveals a ten-country table topped by Germany (19.9 per cent of Romania’s exports), followed by Italy (12.5 per cent), France (6.7 per cent), Hungary (5.4 per cent), United Kingdom (4.3 per cent), Turkey (4 per cent), Bulgaria (3.3 per cent), Spain (2.9 per cent), Poland (2.7 per cent) and the Netherlands (2.5 per cent). Together, these countries’ total share in Romania’s total exports is 64.3 per cent.

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