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Romania shipping, energy sectors ripe for Gulf spend

Ahead of the visit of a top level Romanian trade delegation to Qatar from May 1-3, Gulf Times spoke to Mihai Daraban, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania (CCIR), to learn more about the key investment opportunities in the country.
Looking first at the shipping industry, Daraban, said: “The Constanta Shipyard has great potential but it requires major investments from business entities that are willing to build durable projects in the Black Sea region.”
The Constanta Shipyard is the largest shipyard in Romania and one of the largest in Europe having a market share of 20% in the Black Sea basin. The shipyard has two dry docks, one for the construction of ships up to 150,000 tonnes deadweight (DWT), and the second for the construction of ships up to 250,000 DWT, and two floating docks with a capacity of 8,000 tonnes and 15,000 tonnes. 
Romania also offers significant opportunities for foreign investments in transport infrastructure. The CCIR highlighted the importance of that the Pan-European Transport Corridor Nr. 7 (Black Sea – Danube). The Danube provides excellent commercial routes from the Black Sea to the landlocked countries of Central Europe. The European Union strategy for the Danube Region, adopted by the European Commission in December 2010 and endorsed by the European Council in 2011, states that connecting and strengthening the Danube region while building prosperity is the key to economic development. 
Daraban expanded on its importance, “The Danube transport corridor offers a successful alternative to commercial transport from the Black Sea to the landlocked European countries. This is where Romania can play a major role, becoming an infrastructure hub that will attract economic growth, due to the facilities offered by the Constanta maritime port and the Danube transport channels. Therefore, the CCIR is committed to attracting trustworthy investors in viable projects that will develop the Danube infrastructure.”
He considers that, through investments in the transportation system, both by rivers and by road, as described in the Danube Strategy and Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T), Romania can be fully connected with the European infrastructure. Linking the Romanian ports on the Danube and at the Black Sea with the European transportation infrastructure, will ensure economic development and reduce disparities between regions. 
The country has a long history of expertise in the oil and gas sectors and in renewable energy projects. Daraban commented, “We can provide both investment opportunities and a highly qualified labour force in this sector for the proper investors. Romania is very good resource of trained professionals for businesses in Qatar. At the end of 2014, there were approximately 2000 Romanian citizens registered as residents in Qatar, most of them having jobs that require high-level professional training and experience.”
The level of bilateral commercial exchanges between Romania and Qatar is on an upward trajectory. Year 2014 saw a 28% increase in trade over 2013. Exports rose by 62%, while imports decreased by 25%.
In term of exports, the most notable are agricultural products, furniture, textiles and clothing, rubber, chemical products, plastic materials, industrial equipment and machineries. 
For the imports sector, petrol and petrochemical products are the most important. 
Doha Bank has a representative office in Bucharest. Currently, just three companies from Qatar, in the fields of financial consultancy and audit, real estate, and trading in industrial metals, are active in the Romanian market.
Daraban sees considerable potential for building economic ties.
“It is my firm belief that based on the excellent diplomatic relations between Romania and the Gulf States, we should be able to build a strong economic future together,” he said. He would like to see a freeing up of the Qatari regulations that govern import/export activities. “Such changes would be welcomed by the Romanian economic actors that wish to develop their activities in the Gulf Region,” he said.
He also feels it is vital to show prospective Qatari investors what the country has to offer. “Our Qatari business partners must be acquainted with the investment potential of our country and must be given the possibility to meet directly with reliable business partners, with the help of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania,” he commented. The upcoming trade mission led by the Prime Minister of Romania, Victor Ponta, is an important part of that process.
The delegation, which includes key ministers, will also visit Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE.
The CCIR aims to sign new cooperation agreements with Gulf chambers of commerce with concrete provisions, meant to increase the bilateral economic co-operation.(Source: gulf-times.com)