Economic Perspectives of Romania as Seen by Businessmen from CCIFER and AHK

About Romanian Industry

More than 1,000 French and German companies, together with Romanian-owned companies which are mem- bers of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Romania (CCIFER) and the Romanian – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AHK România) have, at the beginning of 2016, great expectations especially concerning Romania’s economic situation. These expectations were determined by the results of two barometers prepared by the two Chambers of Commerce, which were presented in Conference “Economic Perspectives of Romania”, on Thursday, 10 December, at which companies operating in fields such as IT, constructions, tourism, agriculture and financial – banks participated. The barometers show the perception of the members of the two chambers of Commerce over the economic situation and business environment in Romania and show how the political, social and economic evolutions estimated for the beginning of 2016 influence their investment decisions.

For the CCIFER business community, the study for 2015 is positive, with a significant evolution versus the previous years, both as concerns the company’s external environment (economic, political, social, Romania’s appeal) and as concerns companies’ internal situation (turnover, profitability investments). Drafted three times per year, in February, July and November, the economic barometer of CCIFER provides a general picture of the perception of the company managers in the French-Romanian community, the November edition is the most optimistic one of this year with most ratios being on an increase as compared to the February or July results.

The managers of CCIFER member companies who answered our questionnaire believe that Romania is much more attractive for foreign investors in November 2015 as compared to the previ- ous years, while the perception of the economic, political and social climate is also on a rise as compared to the last three years. Also, there is an upward trend concerning the companies’ internal environment as compared to the former years. On the other hand, the poll’s results show a worse perception on the companies’ situation as concerns turnover, profitability, employees or investments between the beginning and end of 2015.

An analysis made by fields of activity shows that the field with the largest increase in the number of respondents in 2015 was the energy field, with a constant perception increase since 2012. The IT&C field shows a net decrease as compared to 2014. Services, banking and constructions show a rather moderate perception in 2015. Agriculture, commerce and industry show a much higher dynamics as compared to the average of the baro meter, although the expectancy was pessimistic in the previous years. Overall, 2015 is perceived positively by most of the sectors, as compared to 2014, which saw a general negative perspective.

The climate questionnaire made by AHK România in September 2015 shows that German companies are confident as concerns their own current situation. As concerns expectancies in this climate, the companies are more reserved in autumn than they were in spring. For the next 12 months, 68% of the companies expect an improvement of the situation (spring: 75%). The AHK-member companies’ intention to employ, are also more reserved than in spring. The companies still wish to employ but they are confronted with a lack of qualified staff and are worried by the current proposals for the amendment of labour laws. Also, as concerns their intentions to make investments in the next 12 months, their expectancies decreased but their intentions remain stable. The main risk factors for the economic development identified among the respondents to the barometer launched by AHK are the economic and political framework conditions.

These are factors such as infrastructure, public administration and public procurement, where Romania is below the average of the other Central and East European states. The lack of qualified staff is another important risk for the company’s economic development. For the AHK member companies, the positive perspectives decreased from the spring questionnaire. The companies are less optimistic, which could, on the one hand take into account the fact that local and parliamentary elections will be orga- nized in 2016, that there is insecurity concerning the effects of the fiscal measures adopted and planned and, on the other, the events in the motor field which call for precaution and increased attention. Also, the European challenges, such as the refugee issue, were among the factors that led to this result. During the conference organized by the two chambers of Commerce, a live poll was made among the participants to the event, most of them company managers. The results of this poll show a very positive attitude of the business community towards the situation of the companies on the Romanian market. Thus, 97.2% of the participants are optimistic as concerns the evolution of the business environment in Romania, while for 84.5% of them their company performed better in 2015 as compared to previous years. Also, 72.8% of the respondents feel the lack of qualified labour.

CCIFER currently has 500 member companies with French and Romanian capital, representing 15% of Romania’s GDP and more than 125,000 jobs. Founded in 2002, AHK Romania, officially represents the German econo my in Romania and has more than 530 member companies. AHK Romania supports German companies upon their entry on the Romanian market and Romanian companies interested in the German market.

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