MEP Winkler: Development budget should support private businesses

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Exports can be the engine for exiting the crisis, provided that outlet markets are diversified and that foreign trade gets support in both terms of budget and image, said MEP Iuliu Winkler, former Minister of Trade, who is attending in Bucharest a conference on a European approach of Romania’s economic situation.

“Assuming, just as a working hypothesis, that I would be heading again Romanian foreign trade, I would seek to resume or enhance our presence in certain markets outside the EU, because one shouldn’t put all the eggs in one basket.

The so-called intra-Community supplies represent some 74 – 76 pct of Romanian commodities and services delivered to out of country beneficiaries and our reliance on Italy, Germany and Holland is too high. I know it is very difficult, but we need to find ways to gain footing again in Latin America, India and China, but also grow back to our former importance in Russia, obviously with the necessary political support,” Iuliu Winkler told.

“I would also continue what we started in the years 2005-2006, namely to strengthen the external network of commercial advisers, because if we are not known, we cannot reap the benefits of a favorable image, in absence of which foreign trade is not possible.
“Another element I would pursue would be to increase the support budget for exporters. Unfortunately, from what I have seen, in the 2010 budget we have the lowest earmarks in the past decade for both the support of SMEs and support for exporters,” said the former Minister-delegate for Trade.

According to EU legislation, subsidizes for such activities are no longer allowed, but instruments to promote exports can be found, inclusively by fairs and exhibitions, one can resort to various instruments offered by EximBank that are really good, but difficult to obtain because of the bureaucracy specific to the banking system, considers the Romanian MEP.
“A mentality should also be debunked, one I and the team I was heading have been fighting ourselves, according to which budget money that reach private companies is actually being diverted.

This is not true, because unlike the state, it is exactly the private companies, and SMEs in particular, that can create jobs. Therefore, a budget that claims to pursue development needs to support private companies, within the provisions of European legislation. If we stick to this mentality and consider that a minister meeting a businessperson does some shady deal, we will all stand to lose,’ concluded Iuliu Winkler.

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