Foreword from Paul Brummell, British Ambassador to Romania
Romania, with a population of almost 20 million people, is one of the fastest growing economies in Europe, its GDP growth forecast to exceed 5% in 2016. Many British companies are doing business in Romania, including household names like Vodafone in the communications sector and Glaxo Smith Kline in pharmaceuticals, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises across an impressive range of fields. Fast-developing areas of collaboration include IT, where the skilled Romanian graduates of university cities such as Cluj, Bucharest and Iasi have proved a draw for companies such as Endava, who have established impressive modern offices in all three cities. Education, where top quality British universities are a destination of choice for some of the brightest Romanian students. And financial services, where the global reputation of the City of London as a place to raise finance has encouraged a growing number of developing Romanian companies to join the London Stock Exchange’s Elite programme – where they form the third largest cohort after British and Italian firms. British products and services are sought across a wide range of sectors in which Romania is looking to modernise and develop; from water resource management to the civil nuclear industry.
The Romanian market offers some strong advantages for UK companies looking to export. There are stacks of low cost flights direct from the UK to Bucharest and a range of Romanian regional airports. The English language is very well understood here, offering the possibility to delay costly translation of publicity material into Romanian to a later stage of the export process than would be the case in many markets. And Romania is part of the emerging Europe region, a significant, more than 100 million strong, developing market within the EU in a band of countries stretching from Poland to Bulgaria whose increasingly affluent consumers regard the British brand positively.
Of course, there are challenges too. Infrastructure, especially transport, is patchy in quality, though there are opportunities for UK companies across the infrastructure sector in Romania’s efforts to improve this picture, backed by generous amounts of EU structural and investment funding. Romania still has work to do on combating corruption (the local administration level is a particular concern), despite some impressive achievements in tackling high-level corruption. And dealing with local bureaucracy can be daunting.
But UK companies looking to export to Romania have access to sources of support and advice in overcoming these challenges, including the Department of International Trade team at the Embassy, and the staff at the British Romanian Chamber of Commerce.
One of the major factors which has held back the development of UK business with Romania has been that Romania’s often rather stereotyped image in the UK does not reflect the reality of the opportunities here. I welcome the initiative of the Institute of Export in producing this Doing Business in Romania guide, in helping companies to get beyond the stereotypes and receive a fuller picture both of the pitfalls to avoid and of the opportunities offered by the Romanian market.
British Ambassador to Romania
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