Romania is a major producer
of maize and wheat, and grows
fruit, vegetables, sugar beet and vegetable oil seeds; wine-making
is still widespread and numerous farms also breed
livestock. Communist-era economic guidelines favoured heavy industry
and the agricultural sector has since found it hard to catch up
with European standards. Most land has now been transferred to private
ownership. The previously neglected fishing and forestry
industries are being developed
under long-term programmes. On the whole, the contribution of the
agricultural sector to GDP has dropped from about 33 per cent in
1990 to its present level of 14.8 per cent.
Post-communist industry has undergone a similar reduction, and now
accounts for 28 per cent of GDP (down from nearly 60 per cent in
1990). Romanian industry produces industrial and transport
equipment, furniture, metals, chemical products and manufactured
consumer goods, but the most important sector is oil, natural gas
and oil-derived products (petrochemicals, paints and varnishes).
The mining industry produces bauxite, copper, coal,
lead, iron ore and zinc.
The Romanian economy was crippled under the Ceaucescu regime, not
least by its leader’s obsession with paying off the whole
of the country’s national debt (something rarely considered,
let alone attempted, by most governments). Since the 1989
revolution, succeeding governments have concentrated on turning
Romania into a market economy. Progress has been tricky,
hindered by the economy’s already weak condition and political
flux. In the early- and mid-1990s, Romania came close to economic
meltdown as the economy contracted by an average of 7 per cent annually
and inflation often reached 100 per cent. The situation has improved
since 2000, when Romania registered optimistic growth. GDP
is now increasing at an annual rate of 5 per cent; inflation
is 22 per cent and official unemployment has fallen
to 8 per cent (although there is a large informal economy). World
Bank and IMF support have been forthcoming under the usual conditions.
Romania has also had access to loans from the European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development to which it belongs as a ‘country
of operation’. The Romanians’ ultimate goal
is membership of the European Union, with whom it conducts
over 60 per cent of its trade (Italy and Germany are the largest
individual trade partners). The country at first hoped to join along
with the 10 other countries that joined in May 2004. Unfortunately,
it was incapable to meet the accession criteria in time and now
hopes to join, along with neighbouring Bulgaria, in 2007.
A suit is necessary at all business meetings and only on very hot
days are shirtsleeves acceptable. English, French and German are
used in business circles. Appointments are unavoidable and punctuality
expected. Business cards are widely used.
hours: Monday-Friday 0700-1530.
The following organisation can offer advice:
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania and Bucharest, Bulevardul
Octavian Goga 2, Sector 3, 74244 Bucharest
Telephone: (1) 322 9535
Fax: (1) 322 9542
For information, contact the Romanian
Convention Bureau, Calea Victoriei 118, 4th Floor, Suite 407,
Sector 1, 70179 Bucharest (tel: (21) 314 4100/4102; fax: (21) 314
4101; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).