BY MARUF BUZCUGIL
Q&A with Stefan Alexandru Tinca, Ambassador of Romania to Turkey
WHAT IS THE LEVEL OF TURKEY-ROMANIA RELATIONS?
Romania and Turkey are strategic partners and NATO members and they have good neighborhood relations. Romania and Turkey closely cooperate at different levels for the wealth and security of the societies in both countries. The main engine of our relations is bilateral trade, which reached USD 8.6bn in 2021 despite the pandemic. Both parties work to utilize all potential of this collaboration and balance economic ties further.
CAN YOU EVALUATE TURKISH INVESTMENTS IN ROMANIA?
Geographic proximity and similarities of our people and bilateral trade significantly determine the existence of Turkish businesspeople and Turkish investors in Romania. The number of Turkish-capital companies has recently exceeded 17,000 with a capital amount of over USD 800m. The total direct and indirect investments (made by companies registered in other countries) of Turkish companies have exceeded EUR 6bn, according to informal data.
WHICH INDUSTRIES ARE MOST PROMISING FOR INVESTORS IN ROMANIA?
Regional issues in recent months summarize the directives of determined action for some key sectors such as the energy industry, including natural gas, liquified natural gas, renewable energy, and nuclear energy as well as the agriculture and food industry, including storage facilities for agricultural products. Moreover, agricultural mechanization and food security are important and strategic issue for the entire region that requires a medium and long-term approach. The automotive industry, including trucks, buses, light commercial vehicles, accumulators for electric vehicles as well as the horizontal industry of hydrogen burning cells, including components and spare parts, and the chemical and pharmaceutical industries are also among the sectors that can be invested in. We also shouldn’t forget the importance of Information Technologies (IT) and R&D in all sectors. Romania is known for its performance and exceptional human resources in the IT sector across the world. Moreover, Turkey’s tradition and performance (fashion design, clothing, innovative textiles, products specific to sports and protection, knitwear, etc.) in the textile sector can properly be activated from a single European market through investments in Romania.
WHAT SHOULD TURKISH BUSINESSPEOPLE, WHO WANT TO INVEST IN ROMANIA CONSIDER?
Romania is ahead of other countries regionally in terms of attraction of foreign investors. It’s an attractive destination for the business world with its geographical location and competitive advantages. Romania, which has a strategic position at the junction of the traditional and energy roads, has one-third of the Danube River, a coastline of 200 kilometers, and the port of Constanta, the biggest port on the Black Sea. That’s why Romania provides access to one of the largest common economic markets with high potential and the companies, which chose Romania for investment, benefit from all advantages of being in a European Union (EU) member state.
Despite the adverse impact of the pandemic, the performance of the Romanian economy has shown the desired level of flexibility in any analyses before the implementation of an investment project in recent years. The country offers government assistance plans on time to support foreign capital inflow to the domestic market. The validity of the investment support program, which has exceeded EUR 1m and created 100 new jobs, has been extended to 2023.
WHAT DOES ROMANIA THINK ABOUT EUROPE’S ENERGY SUPPLY SECURITY?
Romania advocates the usage of the Southern Gas Corridor and its extension with a Vertical Gas Corridor to reduce energy dependence on Russia and diversify supply sources. Although Romania has limited options in this field, it is aware of the contribution of liquified natural gas (LNG) to Europe’s energy security. Considering the capacity and experience in the LNG industry, Romania believes that the Turkish LNG terminals can be used to supply natural gas in the form of LNG to Romania and East European countries. Romania has taken a series of steps with natural gas suppliers in the region such as Azerbaijan, and transit countries such as Turkey. Consultations were held a few times through dialogue between Energy Ministers.
WHAT KIND OF SUPPORT DO YOU PROVIDE FOR ROMANIAN BUSINESSPEOPLE WHO WANT TO INVEST IN TURKEY?
Investments made by Romanians in Turkey are lower than investments made by Turkish investments in Romania. 280 Romanian-capital businesses operate in Turkey mainly in the trade and services sectors. However, this figure will increase in the future. The interest to expand the cooperation at all levels was mentioned during the 27th Session of the Turkish-Romanian Joint Economic Commission, which was held on the sidelines of the Bilateral Business and Investment Forum in Istanbul in March 2022. Many Turkish businesspeople choose Romania to be known in the European market and have access to this market, and there are many success stories about this issue. The Turkish business world in Romania is among the ones that make the highest contribution to the Romanian economy. Many Turkish firms have extended their investments in Romania such as Koc Holding’s home appliances subsidiary Arcelik and automotive subsidiary Ford Otosan. This proves that the business environment in Romania is suitable for investments. We stand by them when they demand support in the development and implementation phases of projects, from determining the best investment place to implementation of the project, labor force management, and all other details.
“Romania can play an important role with Turkey in Europe’s energy supply security. The total direct and indirect investments made by Turkish companies, on the other hand, have exceeded EUR 6bn.”