Romania-Canada: a promising future

| January 5, 2015 | 0 Comments
Romania, one of the world’s largest wine producers, exports its wines to Canada.

Romania, one of the world’s largest wine producers, exports its wines to Canada.

Over the past 25 years, Romania has experienced tremendous change. First, it became a member of NATO and then, in 2007, it joined the European Union. Since then, it has developed one of the most fast-paced economies in Central and Eastern Europe. Over the past 10 years, Romania’s GDP has grown by approximately 65 percent, with a small decrease in 2009 and 2010, caused by the global financial crisis. Over the past few years, the economy has recovered and it beat all forecasts in 2013, with a healthy GDP growth of 3.5 percent, one of the highest in the EU. Growth is set to slow to a smaller, but still respectable growth rate of 2.5 percent in 2014 and 2.6 percent in 2015.
Among other benefits, including access to large funds and significant programs that aim to reduce regional disparities in terms of income, wealth and opportunities, EU accession meant Romania had to adapt to the demands of the European internal market and global trends. Operating in an integrated market and in a challenging international context, Romania has emerged as a promoter of free trade, thus making it a strong supporter of the CETA agreement between Canada and the EU. The latter may offer additional stimulus to Romanian-Canadian bilateral economic co-operation. Current trade exchanges offer wide scope for growth: In 2013, Canada’s exports to Romania amounted to $149 million, while Romania’s exports to Canada stood at $160 million.
Romania and Canada already share a tradition of successful partnerships. The two Romanian nuclear reactors (the only Candu reactors in Europe) were built in partnership with Canada’s AECL and now supply almost 20 percent of the electricity needs of the entire country. This is a solid foundation and now Romania is considering building two additional reactors and further diversifying its energy production. Looking at future co-operation possibilities, vast potential exists in the energy sector, both conventional and renewable. Blessed with a balanced energy mix, Romania has companies that develop and produce equipment for the gas, petroleum and coal industries, a promising area not only for trade, but also for research and development.
Romanian industry is an important economic sector, as it provides for the largest shares of the country’s exports. It is supported by recognised post-secondary education in engineering-related subjects. Industrial exports are dominated by vehicles and transportation equipment and components, machinery, mechanical and electric appliances, which make up more than 20 percent of Romanian exports to Canada. Other industrial products that Canada imports are furniture, base metals, plastic and rubber and chemical products, as well as optical, medical and control instruments.
The IT and computing sector is booming in Romania and is backed by solid academic programs and several development clusters. One will find Romanian engineers everywhere in international IT companies, from Microsoft to start-up firms, as well as behind numerous innovative and profitable applications. It is an important resource that Canada has already tapped into, through companies located in Romania and Canada. The message here is that there is ample potential for partnerships in a fast-growing industry.
We must not forget the part of the industrial sector that has the glamorous veneer of fine taste and creativity. The clothing and footwear Canada imports from Romania account for almost 30 percent of Canada’s total imports from Romania. This sector is worth a closer look, as Romanian designers are starting to make a fresh and lasting impression on runways in Europe and North America.
The same applies to good wine, as Romania is one of the world’s largest wine producers and is often awarded prizes at international wine competitions. Canadian consumers can already take delight in some of these wines, available at some liquor stores. And speaking of pleasures, while in Romania doing business, take some time to enjoy its amazing natural beauty, unique to Europe. And you can’t help but enjoy Romanian hospitality.
To wrap things up, Canadian investors should consider the strategic location of Romania — it borders the Black Sea and the Danube — its significant natural resources and considerable and proven potential in a plethora of sectors, including energy generation, information technology, forestry, shipping, aeronautics, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and tourism. Clearly, there is much potential for trade between Romania and Canada.

Maria Ligor is ambassador of Romania. Reach her at romania@romanian-embassy.com or (613) 789-3709.

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Maria Ligor is ambassador of Romania. Reach her at romania@romanian-embassy.com or (613) 789-3709.

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