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US Trade Winds Forum – Romania, 2017

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Romania must become a country where success is based on fairness and performance, not on favours and political connections. It is time for Romania to make the step beyond the minimal standards of a functioning market economy. It is time to become a consolidated market economy. In this regard, Romania needs to provide stability and economic policy predictability, to enhance the transparency and quality of the public administration, and to strongly invest in a modern, extended transport infrastructure. We need to consolidate the economy by a competitive private sector, self sustained and the main driver for our country’s prosperity. This will favour a solid middle class, as a vector for stability and progress.

“Dear Prime-Minister, Your Excellency Mr. Ambassador,

Dear ministers, Dear representatives of the US Department of Commerce,

Distinguished members of the diplomatic community,

Dear American friends, Dear friends of Romania,

I am very pleased to send you, today, my best wishes and congratulations, at the opening of this Trade Winds Forum, which is dedicated to South-Eastern Europe this year. I would like to congratulate all the people who made this Trade Mission possible.

My message today is about change, about competitiveness, about the need for a performing economy. This is what we want to do for the business environment and this is what we want to do for Romania.

Trade Winds represents a very inspired example on how to connect companies from different regions of the world. I believe that the best way to create successful business opportunities is to bring under the same roof various business people and policy decision-makers.

I am glad that Romania was selected to be at the core of this trade mission, the largest so far. I am convinced that the companies you represent will find great business opportunities in many competitive areas, like energy, IT and agriculture, automotive and aviation or the defence sector.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Last year, the Romanian economy had the largest growth rate in the European Union, and the forecasts are quite favourable. Foreign direct investment also reached a post-crisis record of over 4 billion euro.

Therefore, it is essential to go beyond the quantitative side of these performances, and focus on the qualitative side.

We need to consolidate the economy by a competitive private sector, self sustained and the main driver for our country’s prosperity. This will favour a solid middle class, as a vector for stability and progress.

Romania has many real opportunities and competitive advantages, which foreign investors appreciate and want to benefit from as best as possible.

For example, Romania is the third most energy independent country in the European Union. The energy sector has a great potential, that has already attracted one of the largest American companies and important investment. We need to explore this potential in the most efficient way, such that we will consolidate Romania’s contribution to the energy security in the Central and Southeastern Europe.

Other sectors with great potential are the agriculture and the food industry. Romania has the 6th largest agricultural area among the EU countries and is in the top 10 wheat and maize exporters in the world.

Romania doesn’t have just natural competitive advantages, but also qualitative human capital. I believe it creates the best mix possible to attract new investment.

There is no better place to see the quality of our human capital than in the IT sector. Over 120.000 young and creative specialists offer solutions to modern day problems, such as the innovation and data security needs. The exports of these IT solutions will continue to drive the growth of our IT sector which, I am proud to say, will surpass 4 billion euro in 2017.

In this context, the benefits of a better, larger Romanian IT sector can be shared to many other sectors, as the automotive industry, in which Romania is starting to build a good reputation in Europe and not only.

I have recently had the pleasure to participate in the launching of the new Ford model produced in Romania for the entire European market. I am confident that this successful automotive partnership is a very good example for other American companies also.

Last but not least, starting this year we decided the allocation of 2% of GDP for the military budget. In this way, Romania has strengthened its commitment to protect the values that are defining to NATO, and bring security to our citizens, together with our NATO partners.

Ladies and gentlemen,

2018 is the year we celebrate 100 years since the foundation of the modern Romanian state. This is a moment in which we can all rejoice at the progress we have made so far, but also a moment to look ambitiously into the future.

I believe this is the best context to encourage also a new pattern for our economy, one built on competitiveness, free enterprise and innovation. Romania’s change by free market values and competitiveness can be the best country project after the transition period and European accession.

We have the strength and it is time for Romania to make the step beyond the minimal standards of a functioning market economy. It is time to become a consolidated market economy. Romania must become a country where success is based on fairness and performance, not on favours and political connections.

In this regard, Romania needs to provide stability and economic policy predictability, to enhance the transparency and quality of the public administration, and to strongly invest in a modern, extended transport infrastructure. We must take full advantage of our excellent geographic position.

I believe that the efforts aimed at improving the business environment will not slowdown. Romania shares the same values that are so defining for your country: private property, economic freedom and the rule of law. Prosperity comes together with these fundamental values, and economic freedom is the best solution for a free world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

For the past 20 years, our Strategic Partnership with the United States has evolved into a very strong one. I am confident that, in this context, the United States of America will continue to be one of our most important friends and one of the top foreign investors in Romania.

I strongly believe the economic dimension of our Strategic Partnership has a great potential in trade and investment. The security and economic dimensions of our Partnership should go hand in hand, on the same road to peace and prosperity.

Therefore, I want to congratulate the American investors already present in Romania, and to encourage those who seek to establish new business in the region to find Romania’s finest opportunities.

I wish you all the best and succes in all your future endeavours.

Thank you!”

This is the message of the President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis, at the opening of the Trade Winds Forum, October 19, 2017.

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