Romania needs a strategy for economic diplomacy

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Romania needs a strategy for economic diplomacy, Romanian Foreign Minister Lazar Comanescu told the closing session on Sept.3 of the annual meeting of the Romanian ambassadors and consuls unfolded under the theme "An expanding economy, a dynamic diplomacy."
 
Minister Comanescu said he discussed the strategy for an economic diplomacy with his colleagues in the Government, mentioning that he also discussed with Minister for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Commerce, Tourism and Liberal Profession Ovidiu Silaghi ways of creating a framework for a more adequate representation of Romania’s economic interests abroad.
The foreign minister concluded that the heads of Romanian diplomatic missions should get more involved in helping business people, as it is foreign trade that secures economic soundness.
 
Comanescu called on the attendees to deploy more "marketing activism" starting from the idea that Romania’s economic growth will continue into the next years at the same pace because of some 30 billion euros in financial grants from the European Union and foreign direct investment, which, according to the minister, reached 5 billion euros in the first half of 2008.
 
"It should be understood that Romania is no longer an emerging economy," said Comanescu, adding that the ambassadors have to convey the image of an attractive, predictable and stable country with a business-friendly environment.
He urged the ambassadors to prove that the scenarios involving a hard landing or overheating of the Romanian economy are groundless.
"Romania cannot avoid some foreign influences, but it is solid nonetheless," said Comanescu.
He also urged the ambassadors to become trend spotters to help the Romanian business milieu identifying the new trends in the world economy.
 
Ties with investors from the diaspora is equally important, and the minister announced that the Romanian Foreign Ministry and other ministries concerned with business issues will hold a forum of Romanian business people from everywhere. He congratulated in the context the diplomats having contributed to the opening of business centres of the Romanian communities of Lyon and Rome.
The Romanian chief diplomat asked that Romania conquer back markets in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin American and expand in Central and South Eastern Europe, the Black Sea zone and the Caucasus.
 
"We must overcome the reticence in getting involved in the unknown or in smaller economies," said Comanescu, urging the ambassadors to support by their activities the consolidation of the "Made in Romania" trade brand, tourism development, the carrying out of energy resource transmission projects Nabucco and Constanta-Trieste oil pipeline, as well as the oil terminal in the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta, the drawing home of technology and good practice examples for waste recycling, renewable energy and sustainable development.
 
He also mentioned the reform of the country’s consular system, indicating that the staff additions and the opening of more consul’s offices performed over the past months should materialize in better services for the Romanian national abroad.
Comanescu also insisted on the need for the Romanian consul’s offices to meet the European standards, so that Romania may achieve the objective of acceding to the Schengen Area by 2011, adding that the heads of Romanian consulates will be closely monitored to this end.
 
This year’s meeting had a working character and it was carried out in workshops that tackled such issues as the response of diplomacy to the current global economic challenges; energy diplomacy; promoting Romanian products on foreign markets; positioning Romania in the world’s investment flows; the Lisbon Strategy; the part of public diplomacy and cultural diplomacy in the management of worldwide challenges and the conduct of political dialogue.
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