In the context of the 25th anniversary of the Romania – U.S. Strategic Partnership, the American Chamber of Commerce in Romania (AmCham Romania) has organized the “U.S. – ROMANIA ECONOMIC FORUM: FROM SECURITY TO PROSPERITY” dedicated to the bilateral economic agenda.
High-ranking officials from the United States of America and Romania, together with members of the business community, participated in a dialogue on the evolution of the Strategic Partnership and the next steps for strengthening the economic ties, an important pillar of the bilateral relation, alongside the security and defense cooperation.
“AmCham is honored to join the initiatives dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Romania’s Strategic Partnership with the U.S., facilitating a high-level dialogue on the future of bilateral economic relations. The level of representation from the two Administrations, as well as the response of the business community, confirms the commitment of both sides towards increased investments and trade exchanges. We’ve underscored Romania’s potential to attract more investments from the U.S., as well as necessary measures and public policies to take the economic partnership to the same level with the one in the defense area, as prosperity is a pillar for security. AmCham thanks the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest and the Aspen Institute Romania for supporting this AmCham initiative, which is aimed to become an ongoing dialogue platform on the future of the bilateral economic agenda,” stated the President of AmCham Romania, Ionuț Simion.
The U.S. was represented by Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Don Graves, and the Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment at the Department of State, Jose Fernandez, together with U.S. Charge D’Affaires in Romania, David Muniz. On the Romanian administration side, the keynote addresses were delivered by the Acting President of the Romanian Senate, Alina-Ștefania Gorghiu, Deputy Prime-Minister of the Romanian Government, Sorin-Mihai Grindeanu. As the
Considering the Romania-U.S. Strategic Partnership is deeply rooted in the defense cooperation, which will remain a long-term strategic goal, NATO Deputy Secretary Mircea Geoană joined the opening session to share a NATO perspective on the regional security.
The dialogue session that followed was dedicated to those areas that hold the greatest potential for boosting of bilateral trade and investment, as resulted from AmCham’s analysis on the cooperation so far. Business executives of leading U.S. investors in various industries such as technology, automotive, health, manufacturing and agriculture, raised opportunities and challenges faced by such industries, as well as the need for measures to address them. The Minister of Economy Florin Spătaru, the Minister of Finance Adrian Câciu, the Minister of Energy Virgil Popescu, the Minister of Research, Innovation and Digitalization Sebastian Burduja and the Minister of Health Alexandru Rafila joined the dialogue with members of the AmCham community.
AmCham conveyed the importance of a strategic vision and actions to be undertaken both at the level of the central and local administration to boost investment and trade both ways.
The shared recommendations for building an attractive investment country profile included the importance of legislative and fiscal stability, observing transparency and the rule of law, fighting corruption, measures to maintain Romania’s competitive advantages, as well as the operationalization of a functional and efficient investment agency, similar to what countries having attracted most U.S. investments in the region have in place.
AmCham has also pointed to the need for measures aimed at developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem, so that businesses started in Romania become competitive on the U.S. market in the shortest time possible.
During the conference, AmCham Romania presented a set of key indicators regarding the status of economic relations between Romania and the U.S., as resulted from the analysis of National Bank of Romania’s data on foreign investments and based on an analysis performed for AmCham by a group of researchers at the Babeș-Boylai University.
Thus, according to the National Bank of Romania’s report on foreign investments in Romania, in 2020, the balance of direct and indirect investments coming from the U.S. amounts to USD 7.5 billion, which places the U.S. on the 5th place in the top countries investing in Romania and the most important investor outside Europe.
The industries which have attracted the most U.S. investments are the traditional ones – manufacturing, FMCG, agriculture, as well as innovative industries, especially after the 2000s, such as information and communication technology or the services field, being geographically located in the largest business and university centers in Romania: Bucharest – Ilfov area, Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara and Iași.
There are more than 900 American companies registered in Romania, which places Romania within the regional average, including with regard to the number of jobs created by such companies of approximate 2% of the total active workforce in Romania.
In terms of trade, although heavily impacted by the geographical distance, the U.S. is one of the few countries to which Romania exports more than it imports. Trade between Romania and the U.S. continued to be stable even during the COVID-19 pandemics, registering a constant increase, from USD 1.8 billion in 2011 to USD 4.5 billion in 2021.
To maintain the confidence of American investors already present in Romania, as well as to attract new investments, AmCham emphasized the need for a coherent and concrete response to the multiple crises we are faced with, so that Romania consolidates its market conditions and competitive advantages to become a strategic partner for the U.S. in the economic area.