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Romanian assault in China

Infrastructure, telecommunications, energy, and cultural exchanges. These were key areas that have been targeted by officials from Bucharest in an action that could be called a true assault in China. The preparation was maked early, in spring, by Constantin Nita, Minister of Energy, and recently, a big government delegation led by Prime Minister Victor Ponta has landed to Beijing. And not only there.

Tapping the Chinese market began in May 2013, when Energy Minister Constantin Nita was in Beijing to attend to the third edition of the Chino – Romanian Business Forum.

“Our interest Chinese investors is very high, given being the existing trade of over 3.16 billion dollars, which gives us hope that we can work together better future”, the minister Nita said in front of over 100 Chinese investors present at the works forum.

“I am young, you are rich, we are like Americans”

This is a lyrics song from ten years ago which has been ranked in the top of all local music charts. The things seems to be the same in this case, except that there is not about Americans, but about the huge Chinese people. Conclusion justified if we take into account the speech of Minister Constantin Nita addressed to the Chinese businessmen, quoted by China Radio International: “We have business opportunities, we have projects, but you have money. Important would be to combine these two elements and to bring gains for both parties”.

And after this introduction that did not try to hide what is the real purpose of this love affaire  of Romanian delegation, it began to present the projects that is hoped to lure the Chinese partners: Cernavoda nuclear plant, plants pumping from Tarniţa and Macin, the future hydroelectric plant on Danube at Turnu Magurele, modernizing hydro and thermal power plants that already are running. Another possible opportunity: future listing on the Bucharest Stock Exchange of minority stakes in energy companies – Hidroelectrica (10%), Oltenia Energy Complex (15%), Electrical distribution and supply (51%), Nuclearelectrica (10%), and Energy Complex Hunedoara (51%). This was the first piece of strategy.

Comes the hard artillery

At the end of June in China arrived heavy artillery, the “hostilities” being driven even by Prime Minister Victor Ponta. Romanian delegation arrived in China after already crossed several countries with great economic potential in the Asian region – Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, also Hong   Kong.

In Beijing, welcoming ceremony. Limousine, red carpet, photo session and formal meetings with Premier Li Keqiang, and the President Xi Jinping. Because in the next year will be marked 65 years of bilateral diplomatic relations between Romania and Chima, Prime Minister Ponta not mist occasion to propose them as the relationship between Romania and China to became a high-level strategic partnership.

“We have proposed during the meetings  to raise the relationship between Romania and China at the highest level, as strategic partnership. We need and want to have a strategic partnership with China. Such a strategic partnership involves many areas, from political cooperation, economic development, but also the cultura, education and other areas. The Chinese president and his prime minister said that they appreciate very much our proposal, and obviously it will enter into the procedure of analysis, standard diplomatic procedure that must to complete it” said Victor Ponta in a press conference held in Beijing.

Also he made ​​the first announcement on cultural exchanges between the two countries: “I want this year to open the Romanian Cultural Institute in Beijing and increase the number of scholarships to Romanian to study in China” said PM Ponta

The strategic role of Constanta harbor

But the real challenge of the visit isn`t representing by the cultural and academic cooperation, but the economic one. The Prime Minister said that, in its view, Romania could be for China a important gateway towards Europe, and this context may be attracted significant investment in our country.

“For them, Europe is just one part of the world, it’s not the center of the world, how we think, but it is an important part, and if we can to convince them, literally and figuratively, that Romania can be the best gateway towards Europe, I speak practically about the port of Constanta, part of the investment could comes in Romania” said Romanian Premier. He gave example a funding program that worth 10 billion dollars for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, launched in 2012 by the government in Beijing.

“Right now, Romania is the first country that manage a project of 70 million euros for communication systems. However, we have many other projects. If from ten projects that we present our Chinese partners, they will funded two or three, is already a very important gain “said Victor Ponta.

And because the discussion reached area of energy projects, the prime minister has not missed the opportunity to remind the availability, already affirmed by Constantin Nita, about to work with the Chinese partners regarding to the build the reactors 3 and 4 of the nuclear power plant Cernavoda, showing that the Romanian side is willing to cede majority stake if there is a specific interest in addition of the Romanian state investment.

Of course, the two world giants Huawei and  ZDE, who have already investments in Romania and plan to extend their business, have not been forgotten, Prime Minister having meetings with top level management of them.

From the discussion could not miss any contacts aimed at infrastructure projects. Victor Ponta said there are projects concerning the construction of highways, navigable channel Siret -Baragan, port of Constanta, about that the Chinese companies have already been informed.

“In fact, I delegated ministry of Infrastructure Projects and Foreign Investments, and his minister, Dan Şova, to sign with representatives of China Development Bank a cooperation framework agreement and planning for sustainable economic development of the two countries. The agreement aims to strengthen cooperation between Romania and China by encouraging effective collaboration between public and private companies in the two countries” added Victor Ponta. Besides, Dan Sova participated to the Forum of local leaders from China and Central and Eastern Europe, in Chongqing.

Local Cooperation

And not only at the central level have signed bilateral agreements, but also locally. Representatives of Ilfov County, also the Pitesti and Bucharest cities have signed a memorandum regarding economic and trade cooperation between Chongqing and the administrative-territorial entities which they represent. The Mayor of Giurgiu, Nicolae Barbu, signed an agreement for cooperation between the free commercial zone  of Chongqing and his municipality city.

In summary, during the Romanian landing in China have signed several documents, several discussions were held tete-a-tete. It remains to see results. However, it is worth brief characterization made ​​by Prime Minister Victor Ponta China about Romania’s relations with this country: “It is an economic system in which the State plays an important role. And a country whose prime minister is received by the President and Prime Minister of China is a country that can be considered partners for China”.

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