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According to the National Institute of Statistics, Romania’s industrial output stagnated last year in comparison with 2011 although increases were reported as regards the production and supply of electric and thermal energy, gas and hot water and also as regards the extraction and durables industry. At the same time, the processing industry dropped by 0.7% but in the first half of this year industrial output rose by 6% as compared to the same period of last year.
In early April, the Romanian Economy Ministry started consultations with the representatives of 80 industries so as to identify the most adequate and efficient solutions for the country’s re-industrialization. The results will be laid down in a document on medium and long-term industrial policies, as part of the strategy regarding the increase in the competitiveness of the Romanian economy. Economy Minister, Varujan Vosganian, said that re-industrialization should be based on three main pillars:
“Privatization and the state’s complete withdrawal from the economy, with very few strategic exceptions, involvement in the peak areas and integration of the processing industry into a common European strategy, that should not be protectionist, but which should support industries”.
One of the priorities of the Romanian economy, said minister Varujan Vosganian, is to solve the problem of loss-making state-owned companies. And to this end, they should be privatized or liquidated, the minister added.
“ This is the main responsibility of the Economy Ministry, to privatize everything that can be privatized, to legally declare state of insolvency, where things cannot be saved, and to capitalize on the existing assets. Therefore, we must encourage top industries, encourage the car making sector, encourage the laser and 3D printer industry, in brief foster high tech industries.”
Minister Varujan Vosganian also said that the biggest problem of the Romanian economy was the low level of competitiveness of the Romanian industry, as compared to other EU countries. The minister believes that Romania needs an aggressive diplomacy, one that should promote Romanian industry abroad, including industrial parks.
Priorities regarding the industry policy will add to another three national strategies on research, exports and rural economic development. The deadline for the final draft of each of the three strategies is the end of this year. Petru Ianc, former director with the Economy Ministry, warns, though, that in order to be able to start a process of reindustrialization, Romania needs to solve some issues that impact industry.
“In order to be able to talk about reindustrialization, we must go back to domestic consumption and see why it has dropped so dramatically and also what has triggered deindustrialization. People in the branch believe that Romania should implement national projects, infrastructure projects in particular. From this point of view, Romania is outside the EU. What’s the use of having industrial parks, when one needs two or even three days to reach those parks from the Otopeni airport. Rail, road and sea infrastructure programs are national programs that could relaunch industry to a certain degree.”
Other issues would be irrigations in agriculture, strategic investment in energy or strategies regarding the economic exploitation of the Danube, all of them being able to help boost several industrial sectors.
The Romanian economy very much depends on foreign capital, as the Chairman of the Union of Two-Way Commerce and Industry Chambers, Nasty Vladoiu, stressed: “There are currently over 180 thousand companies with foreign capital registered in the Romanian Trade Registry, accounting for 40% of the total number of companies registered in Romania. Foreign direct investment in the form of registered capital, including reinvested profits, reaches 35 billion Euros, and 60% of the total value of exports is ensured by multinationals. Only three Romanian companies are top exporters. The main conclusion we could thus draw is that foreign capital companies actually play an essential part in the Romanian economy, a part that is very unlikely to be taken over by companies with Romanian capital in the near future. Foreign and Romanian capital might become complementary only by speeding up the transfer of technology and know-how and by improving the financial performance of Romanian technologies.”
In 2012, the main exporters from Romania to EU member countries were the Dacia Automobile car maker, owned by Groupe Renault, Honeywell Technologies, the oil company OMV Petrom, the Daewoo shipyard in Mangalia, the tyre producer Continental Romania, the ALRO Slatina aluminum works and Rompetrol Refinery, owned by the Kazak state-owned company KazMunaiGaz. The main companies that have exported to countries outside the EU are the Arcelor Mittal steel works in Galati, Rompetrol Refinery, Dacia Automobile, OMV Petrom and Petrotel Lukoil, the Holzindustrie Schweighofer wood working works and the Azomures chemical works in Targu Mures. RRI
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