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[Diplomatic Circuit] ‘Korean companies would bring promising results to Romania’s energy sector’

Costin-Adrian Ionescu, Romania’s charge d’affaires ad interim in Korea speaks during a recent interview with The Korea Herald. (Sanjay Kumar/The Korea Herald)
Costin-Adrian Ionescu, Romania’s charge d’affaires ad interim in Korea speaks during a recent interview with The Korea Herald. (Sanjay Kumar/The Korea Herald)

South Korean companies would bring promising results to Romania’s energy sector that has untapped potential, said Costin-Adrian Ionescu, Romania’s charge d’affaires ad interim in Korea.

“Nuclear energy, health care, medical equipment production facility are key areas for Korean companies to invest in Romania. Apart from automotive and electronic industries, now Korean companies can establish significant presence for engineering, infrastructure and construction industries in Romania,” Ionescu said.

Ionescu highlighted Romania’s IT sector that offers broad technical skills and a high quality workforce, and encouraged Korean companies to build partnerships with Romanian software producers to jointly operate in third markets.

According to Ionescu, Romania has the sixth largest number of certified IT specialists per capita in the world, and Korean companies could take advantage of the already established ties Romanian IT companies have with multinational firms.

Other key growth areas could be the agricultural and cosmetics industries, and the EU-South Korea FTA provides a foundational framework for Romanian companies hoping to make their products known in the Korean market.

“Romania’s economy has started to take off again. According to the latest forecasts of the main international financial institutions, the expectations are of an increase of Romanian GDP by 6 percent in 2021 and, for 2022, the forecast is for a 5 percent GDP growth and figures are new opportunity windows,” Ionescu said.

He also pointed to how Romania’s stable and predictable taxation system would be attractive to Korean investors.

Romania’s corporate tax rate stands at 16 percent, compared to the EU average of around 21 percent in 2020.

“Likewise, in VAT, Romania is imposing a ceiling of 19 percent in comparison with the average of 22 percent in neighboring countries,” he added.

He said Romania has a healthy economy that offers potential foreign investors one of the lowest flat tax, VAT and income tax rates in the EU as well as tax exemptions on reinvested profit.

Other attractive traits include the country’s stability; its role as a bridge between the European Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Middle East; and Romania’s transport infrastructure that makes the country a corridor into Europe on land and from the sea, Ionescu said.

Asked how Romania was managing its COVID-19 vaccination drive, he said that the inoculation campaign was “in full swing.”

Roughly 25 percent of the country’s 19 million population have been fully inoculated against the coronavirus.

So far, it has used vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency, which include those from US’ Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, as well as those from UK’s AstraZeneca.

“The infection rate also slowed down its pace with few new confirmed cases and reported deaths … by this year’s winter time, Romania will have higher threshold of immunization,” he said.

Separately, Ionescu also shared how Korea’s soft-power diplomacy could enhance cultural exchange between the two countries.

“Korea has absolutely stunning soft power that captured the dreams and imagination of all Romanian young people: K-pop culture is a global phenomenon (not) to mention Korean dramas,” he said.

“K-pop and K- drama are formidable gate openers and cultural bridges that led to an increase inflow of Romanian students coming to Korea and it has stirred up interest among young Romanians to learn Korean language.”

He said establishment of a Romanian language department Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Korea has also facilitated quality academic exchange with Romania.

“With these people to people contact and cultural ties, young generation of two countries will take helm of furthering the bilateral relations including tourism in the near future,” Ionescu said.

Romania and Korea first established diplomatic relations in the post-Cold War period. In 2008, business and investments between the two countries significantly boosted the thriving relationship which led Romania to develop its first strategic partnership with an Asian country.

The Romanian diplomat also expressed support for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, saying that it is a goal his country shares with Seoul.
“Romania and Korea share the common goal of having a peaceful nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. Romania was, is and will be, a staunch and consistent supporter of a peaceful and prosperous Korean Peninsula.”


By Sanjay Kumar (sanjaykumar@heraldcorp.com)
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