Q: Levels of FDI into Romania have dropped significantly since the global financial crisis. Do you believe that they will grow again?

A: We are certain that Romania will register FDI growth in the future. Between 2012 and 2013, FDI grew by 26.8%. We are confident that we will continue this positive trend because right now Romania is characterised by political and economic stability. This year we eliminated or merged 92 special taxes in order to establish a more flexible fiscal and administrative framework. A new regulatory package was introduced which included decreasing the social insurance contribution for the employer by five percentage points and tax exemption for reinvested profit. These measures will play a key role in attracting new investors.

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This year has seen Romania among the best-performing economies in the EU. In the first quarter of this year, Romania actually ranked first in the EU, with an advance of 3.8% [GDP] growth.

Q: What are the main reasons why Romania is an attractive idea for investment?

A: Alongside GDP growth, we have a budgetary deficit of 2.5% of GDP, with an estimate of 2% for 2014. Net public debt was estimated for 2013 at approximately 36.5% of the GDP and we have a flat tax of 16%. In the first half of this year, exports increased by 7.6% compared with the same period last year, industrial production was up by 9.1% for the same period, and turnover in retail trade by 8.6%.

Though we do not offer state guarantees for investment projects, in 2013 €215m was granted for state aid schemes. For 2014 to 2020, more than 150 companies that create new jobs and invest a minimum of €20m will receive financing through a state aid scheme. At the same time, incentives for agriculture increased from €139 per hectare in 2013 to €159 in 2014. Companies that operate in the innovation sector can benefit from a 50% deduction in the eligible expenditure in research and development activities. Local authorities also have incentives such as exemption from land tax for industrial parks and exemption from tax on buildings that are part of the industrial park infrastructure.

Q: Which sectors do you think are particularly successful in the Romanian economy, and why?

A: Industry is one of our strengths, accounting for 32% of GDP, through a combination of the skilled labour force, specialists, our geostrategic positioning, the natural and energy resources and access to the Black Sea. For example, Romania is the fourth largest automotive producer in eastern Europe; it is an export-oriented sector and we have qualified personnel supplied by 11 technical universities. Also, in IT and computing, we are already a regional pole for companies such as Huawei, Oracle and Microsoft, and there are structural funds granted for this sector.

In energy, we are the leading producer of oil and natural gas in central and eastern Europe. In food and agriculture, we have 9.4 million arable hectares (about 40% of the country) with a high potential for organic products. Romania is one of the largest wine producers globally – fifth in the world, with one of the oldest traditions in wine production. We are also the second largest corn producer in the EU.

Q: Which sectors do you think need FDI the most and why?

A: As a member of the EU, we share the EU’s concerns including the growing energy dependence on countries outside the EU, the decrease in competitiveness of European products due to high energy costs and the need to develop the small and medium-sized enterprises sector, which is the engine for growth of national economies. We have an ageing energy infrastructure (both power plants and networks), and we need to ensure that we transition to a low-carbon economy to avoid the consequences of global warming. Given the geopolitical context, energy security is critical. We are an important energy producer and we need interconnections to export this energy. We also need to modernise the mining sector to meet EU environment regulations.