Dutch investors were among the first companies to come to Romania after the fall of the communist regime. Since then they have extended their presence to almost all local industries, keeping the Netherlands in one of the leading positions in the ranking of foreign investors to the country in the past decade.
Company representatives attending the Dutch Business Forum organized by Business Review last week agreed that there is a stringent need for change in the Romanian business environment. One of the positive and constructive effects of the economic crisis is that it has brought a sense of normality to all players on the market and an opportunity to change both for companies and for public authorities. The current cost-cutting policies proposed by the Romanian government were regarded as harsh but necessary. At the same time there is no guarantee that these measures won’t be followed by tax increases and while a tax hike in itself doesn’t fundamentally influence a company’s decision to invest or not, the lack of predictability and transparency carries far more weight.
Dutch investors say they are in Romania for the long run and came here in the 90s attracted among other things by competitive advantages such as an educated workforce and low labor costs. Now, the crisis is bringing an older issue for the local economy to the fore. Productivity continues to be below the European average and solutions need to be found. Some of the recommendations made during the discussions include investments in innovation, logistics and relevant education and training programs.
The event was attended by 65 company representatives and was organized in partnership with the Maastricht School of Management, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Marsh and with the support of the Netherlands Romanian Chamber of Commerce.