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Romania-US: trade and bilateral investment on the rise

By Emea Riga
The Washington officials have seen that Romania has money. A lot of money in the budget, following the economic growth of over 7% in 2017. As a result, they want to take advantage of the circumstances and praise the Bucharest officials for their economic policy.
These are the main feelings that arose from the visit of the Romanian business environment minister in the US.
Romania is an example in the region in terms of cooperation with US companies for developing strategic capabilities, including defense sector, cyber security, energy and IT, said Ilan Laufer, Minister for Business Environment, Trade and Entrepreneurship, after the meeting with US Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross.
'The two officials had a meeting in Washington whose central topic was the new historic high in terms of the trade between Romania and the US, as well as the intensification of the bilateral cooperation between the two countries. Romania is the most relevant example in Central and Eastern Europe, through the commitment shown to the US regarding transatlantic security, by supporting the US policy in this respect,' reads a Ministry of Business Environment's release issued on Monday.
Minister Laufer said, in the context that 'we are the most pro-American country in the European Union, and we are supporting the leadership and importance of the US in the world.' By allocating 2% of GDP for defense and directing more than 40% of the defense budget for the acquisition of state-of-the-art military technology, the Romanian-American economic relations are experiencing in 2017 the most important historic moment and will exceed 3 billion dollars worth of trade by year's end, which would represent an all-time high, the quoted source points out.
Romania is the first country in NATO to have met the requirements of President Donald Trump, thus opening a new long-term cooperation with the US military industry. Minister Laufer mentioned Romania's first payment of 766 million dollars for the Patriot system, with an additional payment of 144 million dollars to be made by the year's end.
In this regard, Ilan Laufer has asked Secretary Wilbur Ross to support Romania in order to receive the 'dependable undertaking status' which will allow for a phased out payment system in the relation with the US and not only, giving Romania the status of consistent partner.
Wilbur Ross particularly appreciated the results of the bilateral trade in the first 10 months of this year, when US companies' exports increased by 30%, and the 10-month trade exchanges rose by 17.5% from 2016, having reached 2.6 billion dollars.
During the meeting, Ilan Laufer presented to Secretary Ross the concrete situation (not that in the official statistics) of the US' positioning on the 6th place, as size, in the rankings of foreign investors in Romania, with an invested total of 8.4 billion dollars and the presence of over 3,500 American companies in Romania, being in fact the largest non-EU investor in Romania.
Wilbur Ross congratulated Minister Laufer for his involvement in organizing 'Trade Winds' in Bucharest, while thanking him at the same time for the success of the trade promotion mission in Romania, but also for the presence of the largest delegation of Romanian companies, over 20, which the Romanian minister for business environment led to Select USA, following which several Romanian companies started to implement new projects in the US, the most relevant being Alexandrion's investment in the State of New York, an investment of over 100 million dollars.
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