Adriana Record, the executive director of the French Chamber of Commerce (CCIFER), tells Business Review how French investors perceive the local business environment and outlines the main initiatives the CCIFER has undertaken to improve the Romanian business climate.
By Anda Sebesi
How has the business environment evolved in the last year from the CCIFER’s perspective?
Romania is the second biggest market in the European Union and one of the most dynamic European economies. These facts contribute to shaping the country’s business environment, strategically situated at the intersection of three major markets: the EU, the CIS countries and the Middle East, being crossed by pan-European transport lines and with a gateway to the Black Sea through Constanta Port.
Among the 2,300 companies with French capital present in Romania, more than 550 are part of the CCIFER network and, for them, the past year has been full of opportunities. The business environment in Romania is evolving, Romania is no longer a low-cost country and the focus in every industry has been to find the best strategies in order to take advantage of this new reality. Romania has many other competitional advantages besides the cost of the workforce, which is increasing. Among them I would mention its openness to the technological revolution, know-how and agility when it comes to technology and digitization. In Romania, the business environment is getting ready for the future.
What are the main challenges for French investors that have businesses here?
The challenges facing French investors in Romania are very similar to the challenges facing any other investors in the region: workforce shortages, adaptation of the existing workforce to the challenges and changes in the labor market and also training future employees in line with the faster and more complex technological changes. In addition to this, there is also the legislative and normative instability. Nevertheless, Romania is an attractive destination for foreign investors, and French entrepreneurs. The past year has seen an increase in trade exchanges, with trade between France and Romania growing by 8.2 percent in 2018 to EUR 8.5 billion, which made France the sixth biggest supplier and the third largest customer for Romania.
What are some of the initiatives undertaken by the CCIFER to improve the local business climate?
The CCIFER is a business community founded on French savoir-faire, a leader committed to the sustainable development of individuals, companies and Romania. Our strength comes from the synergies that our community generates year after year, within a business network with tradition, that shares the same values. CCIFER is a leading member of Coalitia pentru Dezvoltarea Romaniei (CDR). As a business community, it shares the five CDR priorities: business predictability, reducing labor market imbalances, simplifying interaction with the state, improving public infrastructure and strengthening the EU anchoring of Romania. We encourage and maintain a close collaboration with regional business clubs and honorary consuls, Business France and the Embassy of France, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania.