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"The national trade strategy does not answer Romania's current needs"

We have a national trade strategy which is valid until 2020, but which does not answer Romania's current needs, says Ştefan Radu Oprea, minister in charge of the Business Sector, Trade and Entrepreneurship.

He said: "In the area of trade, for a very long time there has been no discussion over strategy. Unfortunately. I've been the first minister who has arrived at the WTO, after 20 years. I think it's abnormal for Romania's representation to be at an unsatisfactory level, when we're talking about a trade development strategy. From my point of view, the current strategy does not answer the needs of the economy. It is a strategy that only concerns one angle and does not take any world influence into account".

The minister says that nowadays trade has come to be "breaking news": "Both the WTO and the Court are currently in a crisis".

Ştefan Radu Oprea also said that "Europa - global player" is one of the priorities of the Romanian presidency of the European Council.

He added: "Without rule based trade there is no development. The need to have a strategy where foreign trade is concerned is real and thus, the main goal of the Romanian government is to reconquer the traditional markets".

He added that Romanian needs to be present on the markets where Romanian products are still known for their quality.

According to the official, last year there was a diplomatic offensive aimed at being once again present on the Asian markets and those in the Gulf area, the Maghreb area.

"We have been very present on these markets because Europe concluded trade agreements, such as the one with Japan which came into effect fully on February 1st, Romanian companies should learn to be present too, so they can reap the benefits and the fruits of these agreements", Ştefan Radu Oprea pointed out.

From his point of view, the governing program of the PSD answers the need to have a durable development strategy.

The minister has pointed out the fact that Romania has been enjoying a real economic growth starting with 2017, when we had the biggest economic rise in Europe, 4.1% last year and over 5% in the first quarter of 2019.

He also thinks that entrepreneurship is a necessity and needs to develop.

"The entrepreneurial spirit needs to be reborn in Romania and that is why the need for the Start Up Nation which has proven to be a real success".

"Two years ago, when the program began, if we look at the sociological data, we will see that the percentage of young people who wanted to become entrepreneurs was almost zero. I recently read that 6 out of 10 young people want to become entrepreneurs, which means that this program has reached its target and we can talk bout entrepreneurship in Romania".

He also said that entrepreneurs need models, because entrepreneurship is also a matter of education. The official has encouraged entrepreneurs to share their success stories, thus contributing to the development of entrepreneurship tin Romania.

Another need that Romanian companies have is internationalization. The minister said that in 30 years of market economy we have matured enough to be able to attack regional and international markets and to develop Romanian companies, and Romanian capital.

Ştefan Radu Oprea also said that as part of the Ministry, programs are being developed which answer the companies' needs, such as the program for participating in fairs and exhibitions under the national banner, and also internationalization which answers companies' needs to participate under their own brand.

Furthermore, the minister said that Romania had many success stories, such as UiPath which currently has a capitalization of over 7 billion dollars, making it a unicorn in the robot software field.

Ştefan Radu Oprea further said that Romania is competitive on the IT segment because the government has come up with public policies which cut the taxes of those working in that sector to zero, and as a result, all those professionals have stayed in the country.

"There are over 300,000 IT workers in Romania, who, from my point of view represent that strength in Romania's competitiveness which we should expand".

He also said that the member states are launching strategies for economic and industrial development: "In the German strategy there is a factor which over there has been heavily criticized, but which in the talks with the representatives of the Romanian business sectors is heard about quite often. Specifically, the role of the state and its involvement in the economy - whether it should do so or not. There are sectors where the state needs to get involved, especially in developing the infrastructure, in the public policies concerning the market labor dynamic, because without an active labor market, without the necessary infrastructure, Romania's competitiveness is affected".

According to Mr. Ştefan Radu Oprea, there is a strategy for development and a strategy for developing trade and entrepreneurship at the Ministry for the Business sector, Trade and Entrepreneurship as well as a Durable Development Strategy for the Romanian Government, which have all been included in the government program.

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