ROMÂNIA-CHINA The Chinese are interested in investing in agriculture, IT, infrastructure and energy

Ziarul BURSA #Companii / 9 iulie 2012

The Chinese are interested in investing in agriculture, IT, infrastructure and energy

Interview with Mr. Aurelian Gogulescu, the president of the Prahova Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Reporter: What is your opinion on the development of the Romanian-Chinese economic relations, in this time of global crisis?

Aurelian Gogulescu: All relationships with China need to be fine tuned, especially those on the economic and trade sides, in general and particularly now, in times of extended and deepening crisis. China, as a country with an emerging economy, provides and will provide its economic partners with basically limitless cooperation possibilities. The potential of the relationship with China, given the size of the Chinese market, is huge. It doesn't take a visionary to realize, to have already realized - even before the economic crisis had begun - that the relationship with China is one for the future and that it is absolutely imperative for it to be taken seriously by any country interes-ted in economic development. Especially now, after more than three years of global economic crisis, many economies of the world, are putting their hope in a potential recovery starting with their relationship with China. That is precisely why there is such heavy competition to enter the Chinese market with products or services.

Reporter: Last year, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Prahova has inaugurated an office in Shanghai, "following the numerous business contacts and commercial exchanges between the Romanian and Chinese business communities, which have recently expanded at an extremely accelerated pace" ( Please tell us the achievements of this office and the projects which you intend to conduct.

Aurelian Gogulescu: In continuation of the previous ques-tion, I will answer this one by telling you, without any traces of vanity that in the very first two years of operation, more specifically starting with 1992, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Prahova has developed a special relationship with China, which has developed from one year to the next, through the numerous actions which we organized. Were we visionaries? You could say so .... What is certain is that we were realistic. Knowing full well, the Chinese economic phenomenon, we have correctly assessed the extremely favorable impact which a well conducted and constant relationship can have when it comes to attracting Chinese investors in the Prahova county, as well as when it comes to promoting Romanian companies on the huge Chinese market. As a result, in February last year we set up in Shanghai, the city which is the most important economic hub in South East Asia, an office of the Prahova Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China. Because the services of this office are aimed at all the Romanian companies, and not just at those in the county of Prahova, as well as at those in the Republic of Moldova, the office has a huge potential for helping the development of partnerships.

Reporter: What areas are of interest to the Chinese side? What are the most important Chinese investments in Romania and how big are they?

Aurelian Gogulescu: Chinese businesspeople are interested in investing in agriculture, IT, infrastructure and energy in Romania. Two or three months ago, the representatives of the Romanian government talked to Chinese officials concerning a financing mechanism for various projects developed through partnerships between the two countries.

As everybody knows, China is the second largest economy in the world, and it is interested in having its investments present everywhere, including Romania. For China, Romania has a major geostrategic importance, through the opening of the Black Sea, which could even be a terminal coming from China, but also because of the Danube, which provides access to the heart of Europe.

It is well known that Chinese investments in Romania are 2.5 times smaller than in Hungary, for example, even though their economy is smaller than ours, so there is a lot of room for improvement.

In 2011, according to the statistics, in Romania there were about ten significant Chinese investments which amounted to 160 million Euro.

Thus, the largest Chinese investments in Romania are: the trade companies of Bucharest: Marele Zid ("The Great Wall") and Ye Lin Activ, each having invested 12 million Euro, the construction material company Golden Way of the county of Constanţa - an investment of 28 million Euro, the Ricky bicycle plant of Ialomiţa in which 15 million Euro were invested, another bicycle factory in Hunedoara - an investment of 20 million Euro. In the county of Buzău there are three major Chinese investments: the China Tobacco cigarette factory - the largest Chinese investment in Romania - 40 million Euro, a recycling unit Green Fiber Taiwan, 10 million Euro and a construction and trade company, in which 15 million Euros were invested. In the county of Prahova, the Yuncheng Plate Making printing cylinders factory is the result of an investment of 7 million Euro. Also in Prahova, there is another Chinese invest-ment under way an industrial park of 15 million Euro with seven warehouses, and in one of them will operate a plant for making PET bottles.

Reporter: What are the largest obstacles which Chinese investors encounter in the development of business in Romania?

Aurelian Gogulescu: First of all, I would just call them little difficulties, not obstacles, and I would include here the fact that Romania is directing its interest predominantly towards inves-tors coming from other areas - Europe, America or even Africa, even as China is more than willing to come and invest in Romania. Then, there would be the bureaucratic system in Romania and - as a result - the difficulty in working with the Romanian government, which should improve the efficiency of its structure.

Reporter: Many European countries see China as the rescuer from this crisis. What is your opinion on this?

Aurelian Gogulescu: China has supported and continues to support the European countries which are encountering financial difficulties, by buying bonds of countries such as Greece, Portugal, Italy and Spain. It is a natural wish, especially since the European Union is the largest trade partner of China. Also, China has begun abandoning the dollars in its currency reserve in favor of the European currency. These measures in themselves will result in the support of the European economies, but they can't provide a rescue. The rescue can only come from within the European Union, each troubled state will need to do its best to save itself.

Reporter: Thank you!

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