20 Years of Romanian-US Cooperation

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Anca Harasim

About Anca Harasim

Anca Harasim has been the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Romania since 2000. Prior to this, she served as an executive director of the Soros Foundation for an Open Society and Fulbright Commission. She was a World Bank consultant for Albania’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Programme, and for the PHARE Programme in Romania, reforming the Local Public Administration. In 1999 she obtained a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government – Harvard University.

2017 is a landmark year for US–Romanian bilateral cooperation. It marks the 20th anniversary of the Strategic Partnership for the 21st century between the two states, whose overall tradition of diplomatic relations is over a century old.

The current state of political and economic relations between the US and Romania suggests a favourable outlook for future cooperation. Romania’s NATO and EU membership, along with its strategic role in the regional context, makes our country an important partner for the US.

 The country’s macroeconomic stability, together with the success stories of US investors who are already operating in Romania, make it an appropriate destination for further investments, provided that our country continues its internal efforts to curb corruption and strengthen the rule of law. Romania is constantly referred to as a friend of the US and an ally in the region and it is important that this status is maintained through our further efforts to improve its economic governance.

AmCham Romania makes a priority of contributing to increasing trade between the US and Romania, and our major focus is on advocating to make Romania a better home for business by: promoting our members’ business priorities; making recommendations for improved public policies, through open and transparent consultation and dialogue between decision makers and the business community.

As we experience both administrations’ increasing determination to extend the already good cooperation in the military and defence sectors, as enabled  by the Strategic Partnership Framework, into the commercial area as well, we see raised interest in Romania on the US side.

However, investment decisions are still very much relative to the overall perception of the country. Irrespective of their country of origin, some points that US and other investors seek, when making investment decisions, are: stability, predictability, transparency in decision-making and regulatory and tax framework, reduced bureaucracy, efficient public administration, availability of skilled labour force and proper infrastructure. Romania should promote its investment leads better internationally and AmCham is the right partner for US promotion and commercial connections.

 For US – Romanian trade, we anticipate that the pillars of further economic cooperation will continue to be sectors such as automotive and machinery, ICT, FMCG, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

The best “trade ambassador” for Romania is the experience of US companies, already operating in Romania, and AmCham Romania will continue to advocate for increasing the country’s economic competitiveness for the US, and other international and local investors alike.

So far, over 400 American companies, that are members of AmCham Romania, have invested some $20 billion in Romania and have created 200,000 new jobs. But the US is still only the 11th largest foreign investor in Romania, so there is room for improvement.

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The views expressed in this opinion editorial are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Emerging Europe’s editorial policy.

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