BRCC Forum: Romania, the most energetic independent country in EU, the new investors heaven
In the process of the big digitalization through Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), with more than 2.2 billion Euro coming to Romania, authorities have a new unique value proposition for foreign investors that want to come here: we are the most energetic independent country in the EU. The context of the Ukrainian war has shown the world the necessity of having its own gas resources in and not depending on Russia anymore. The declaration was made in a debate organized by the British Romanian Chamber of Commerce as the 1st edition of BRCC FORUM: New Horizons for UK-Romania Trade and Investment. The hybrid conference brought together more than 50 representatives of the UK – Romanian business environment and public sector representatives, who debated, within the three panels, topics such as the investments opportunities within the British – Romanian economic landscape, benefits on economy-wide efficiency, innovation and aggregate productivity growth, the impact of start-ups and SMEs on the Romanian market and several case studies from companies doing international business between UK and Romania.
” It’s not risky at all to invest in Romania. It’s an EU country, a NATO country and it’s very safe. More than that, it’s the most energy-independent country in the EU, according to 2020 data. For instance, I saw a report that Romania was 28% energy dependent, compared to the EU average of 57%. Imagine that Italy, for example, is 73%, or Germany 64% dependent on imports of energy. From this perspective, Romania is an even safer country”, said Bogdan Mihăilescu, Minister Counsellor and Head of the Economic and Commercial Department, within the Embassy of Romania to the United Kingdom.
During the same event, panelists debated also on the changing business environment generated by the complicated geopolitical context of the war in Ukraine, which generated a growth of the interest of foreign investors towards Romania.
” We’ve actually heard of inquiries, particularly in the defense and security sectors, of interest in both investment and supply to the frontier states. So there are, and it’s almost wrong to say, opportunities in difficult times. I think it’s still a country and will continue to be a country of great interest”, said Anne-Marie Martin – Director of British Chambers of Commerce.
The conference covered all the key points in the bilateral commercial relationship and potential of the Romanian business climate, from the taxation climate and digitalization of the business-state relationship, to the ever so rewarding highly trained labor force and the new central role of the country in the geopolitical context.
“It really is quite an achievement how Romania has continued to accelerate its growth and global visibility over the last few years versus its regional competitors. We are now seeing the incredible and very diverse skill-sets becoming more and more, the most important factor in attracting foreign investments.
Long gone are the days when Romania was the cheaper alternative, It has become the necessary choice along with the, still, attractive labor costs, availability and stability of the workforce plus a more stable tax and political landscape” said Colin Lovering, Chairman of British Romanian Chamber of Commerce.
The growing interest of foreign investors is mainly due to the highly trained and educated, but rather cheap labor force, allowing companies to access valuable human resources at an advantageous cost.
Andrei Babadac, adviser at InvestRomania „The climate of attracting foreign companies to invest in Romania over the last 2 years is becoming better and better, with the economy reopening, we at investRomania have seen a surge in the enquiries made by investors interested in developing projects in Romania and the FDI rose by 141% in 2021 compared to 2020. Very qualified labor skill, for a very competitive price is the main attraction for investors. For example, all our engineers speak at least one foreign language, which is not very often seen in other countries.”
The advantages of the well-developed IT sector in Romania was brought into the discussion, as speakers emphasized the need of private-public partnerships, as key factor for the growth of the business environment and for the enhancement of its capacities to conquer international markets.
Mihaela Tudor, PR & Media entrepreneur, Founder & CEO at TUDOR Communications & 2Value.ro „We have amazing Romanian companies that can help businesses to digitalize. Technology is very well developed in Romania and here are solutions for every kind of business. The most important thing is to get a strong private-public partnership for businesses development. Unfortunately, we are not thinking enough to the future and we are lacking a big vision. Romania comes with opportunities to become an entrepreneur very easily. We need to teach people in Romania to think on long term, 10 years from now, 50 years from now. For things to move forward, we need a vision, we need a plan, and as Romanians we need to get together, to get each other on the same page.
EU funding through the National Resilience Plan is expected also to consolidate the digitalization processes of the State and to offer new perspectives of business development.
Bogdan-Mihai Dumea, State Secretary – Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digitalization „Digitalization is now the main focus of the Ministry, for making citizen’s life easier when interacting with the State. We actually have multiple sources of financing at our disposal; For digitalization we have 2.2 billion euro that will be invested in digitalization. It will be a great step forward and will use this funds for a better future for our country. It is an unprecedented volume of investment. Mobilization of both private sector and the State will be very important. All the European countries will have the opportunities to come here and to invest using this funds as well.”
Romania’s geographical advantages, as well as the well-developed sectors of country’s economy such as IT&C also contributes to the list of attractions that Romania has to offer to UK investors.
” Many UK businesses are big international traders and Romania has an excellent location. It’s at the crossroad of 3 big markets: EU, Middle East and CAS. If you look at Romania from the East, it’s the gateway to EU. It’s 6 days by sea closer to China than Port of Amsterdam so you can bring goods from Asia faster. We can have a renting price for industrial spaces as low as 2 euros per square meter, which is unbelievable. One of the most attractive sectors, which is a big contributor to the GDP, is the IT&C sector. More than 6 bn euros in exports and UK is a huge consumer of the IT&C services. It’s a very vibrant ecosystem for IT and startup companies and I see a lot of potential of cooperation in this area between Romania and UK. I truly believe that increasing and developing the connections between the 2 countries and the 2 markets is the most important thing for growing the trade and investments. Recently the Romania desk has been launched which is a competence center and will be focused entirely on opportunities in Romania. It will present opportunities from Romania to its members and to the British companies, provide advice and it will work closely with BRCC”, concluded Bogdan Mihăilescu, Minister Counsellor and Head of the Economic and Commercial Department, within the Embassy of Romania to the United Kingdom.
About British Romanian Chamber of Commerce
The British Romanian Chamber of Commerce (BRCC) is the premier business-led organisation promoting bilateral trade and investment between the United Kingdom and Romania. BRCC mission is to facilitate and increase the trade between those two countries through business-to-business dialogue.
The British Romanian Chamber of Commerce plays an influential role in creating and sustaining an environment in which free-trade and investment flourishes. Through the facilitation of partnerships, and with an extensive network of influential corporate and individual members, the British Romanian Chamber of Commerce provides the resource, knowledge and infrastructure support vital to UK companies to make the most of emerging opportunities in Romania, and for Romanian companies to do business in the established markets of the UK.
Established in 1998, the BRCC is an independent organisation, owned entirely by its members, with offices in London, Bucharest, Cluj and Timisoara