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Romania should look beyond the European Union for foreign trade


Romania should look beyond the European Union for foreign trade, given that nearly 70 percent of the foreign trade of Romania is in fact intra-EU trade, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania (CCIR) Mihai Daraban told a specialist conference on Thursday in Bucharest. 

"Lebanon will be our next trade event partner. This time it is us visiting others. So, we are trying to somehow look beyond the intra-EU space with our foreign trade because what is happening in the intra-EU space is a slightly rising trend, but there is a certain economic and trade routine. We should look beyond the EU because we are somehow captive to the area. Nearly 70 percent of Romania's foreign trade is in fact intra-EU trade," Daraban told a Romania-Hungary Economic Forum held on the side-lines of the Romanian-Hungarian joint governmental works going on in Bucharest February 11-12. 

He pointed out that the Romania-Hungary Economic Forum is designed to identify new cooperation projects and consolidate the existing ones in areas such as energy, infrastructure, transport, agriculture, food industry and IT&C. 

"Hungary is one of Romania's traditional trade partners having always been at the top of the Romanian foreign trade ranking. At the same time, Romania is Hungary's third foreign trade partner, after Germany and Austria (...) There are prestigious Hungarian companies operating in Romania that have conducted direct investment of Hungarian capital to the tune of 838 million euros in 2015, which is 1.4 percent of the total direct foreign investment in Romania, according to data with the National Bank of Romania (BNR). There are currently 2,046 such companies currently operating in Romania," added Daraban. 

He said that the 2,046 companies are running on hundred percent Hungarian capital, as shown by early-2016 data released by the National Business Information System (SNIA). 

"We have set on conjugated action with the Government. We are talking about major energy projects, such as the AGRI [Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania Interconnector], if Hungary still wants to contribute to this project that entails gas-electricity interconnectors, and last but not least the European corridor that Danube River is. Unfortunately, approaches diverge here. There are countries interested in the Danube, such as Romania, Serbia and Austria, while others, like Bulgaria, who lacks port infrastructure and a river-going fleet, do not see it as a priority. Hungary has somehow declared it an ecological zone, although is should have declared its motorways ecological instead. Slovakia also no longer has a major interest in the Daube because it also lacks port infrastructure and a river-going fleet," said Daraban.