The Business Year

Hon. Teodor Meleşcanu

QATAR - Diplomacy

Getting Closer

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Romania

Bio

Hon. Teodor Meleşcanu was the Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Romania (SIE) between 2012 and 2014, three times a senator for the National Liberal Party (PNL), and Minister of Foreign Affairs between 1992 and 1996, in 2014, and since January 2017. He graduated from the Faculty of Law of the University of Bucharest in 1964 and Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences of the University of Geneva in 1968 and obtained his doctorate in political science and international law from the University of Geneva in 1973.

"In Qatar, there are more than 2,500 Romanians working in different sectors of activity such as oil and gas."

What sectors are driving the growth of corporate relations between Qatar and Romania?
Doubling the number of daily flights of Qatar Airways between Doha and Bucharest is a clear sign of the increasing cooperation relations between Romania and Qatar. In Qatar, there are more than 2,500 Romanians working in different sectors of activity such as oil and gas, construction, medical, and aviation. Moreover, the operation by Qatar Airways of two direct flights daily between Doha and Bucharest is favoring the exchange of tourism. The driving sectors of Romanian exports to Qatar include cars, furniture, wood, machineries, electrical appliances, rubber, articles made of cast, iron and steel, textiles, garments and accessories, and optical, photographic, and cinematographic instruments. Romania is importing organic chemicals and plastic materials from Qatar.
What opportunities do you foresee for Romanian companies in Qatar?
The context of Qatar’s path to diversification offers the private sector in both countries many opportunities, such as in the food industry, focusing on the concept of food security, a priority in the development strategy of the Gulf countries. I would also include tourism, through the exchange of tourism and health treatment packages between main tour operators in Romania and Qatar. Construction also offers opportunities, taking into account the quality of Romanian manpower at convenient prices, in addition to the use of modern technologies at the EU level. Other sectors include IT and cyber security, where our software specialists perform at elevated levels; rolling stock, taking into account our capacity to produce passenger and freight coaches, metro trains, and modern trams; waste recycling and recovery, where Romania has cutting-edge technological solutions; and energy, natural gas, and electricity, by the transfer of technology and expertise.

Qatar has earmarked Europe as one of the main destinations for its investments overseas. What makes Romania a good opportunity for Qatari investors?

Romania has a market economy, meaning the state protects freedom of trade, fair competition, and private property rights. Among the factors that make Romania attractive to foreign investment are political and economic stability and security, its status as an EU and NATO member, its position as a gateway to the European Community’s 500 million consumers, its size as the eighth EU country in territory and the sixth in population, its location at the crossing of three large markets (the EU, the CIS, and the Middle East), and its strategic access to the Black Sea and the Danube River, which cross Europe from south-east to north-west. Other competitive advantages include extensive agricultural land (more than 9.4 million ha), energy and mineral resources, human resources with high qualification and technological expertise at competitive costs, developed transport and tourism infrastructure, high-speed internet, lower taxation (16% flat tax, VAT 20%, and 9% in food and tourism), and the existence of 72 industrial parks. Investment opportunities are offered by our country specifically in areas such as agriculture, real estate, tourism, IT, defense industry, mining, aviation, and mineral waters. In agriculture, we should focus on the capitalization of Romania’s agricultural and livestock potential through partnership projects and joint ventures between Qatari companies and businessmen and Romanian agro producers, the foreign capital attraction being meant to extend the production capacities in Romania, in the mutual interest. In tourism, Romania has a wealth of natural beauty: the Carpathian Mountains, Black Sea coast, the Danube Delta, and numerous locations for hunting. Besides increasing the number of Qatari tourists to Romania we are particularly interested in attracting Qatari investments in the tourism field, both in the hospitality industry and taking into account the vast network of therapeutic resorts (over 125), spas and natural salt mines, with healing properties, in the field of physical recovery and of various health services. There are energy investment opportunities in the capital market, considering the outstanding financial results obtained by national companies Transgaz and Transelectrica, following their privatization. In the mining sector, we are open for Qatari investment for the reopening of iron mines in Caras-Severin and Suceava counties.

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