Export Promotion Trip of Minister Väyrynen and Delegation Continued to Romania
Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Paavo Väyrynen’s first export promotion trip continued from Bulgaria to Romania on 5 September. In Bucharest, Väyrynen held talks with several ministers and delivered the keynote address at a business forum organised by Finpro. Väyrynen stated that Romania offers an increasingly better base for economic cooperation as the country progresses in implementing the obligations brought on by its EU membership.
Minister of Finance Varujan Vosganian said he held Finnish democracy and economic efficiency in high regard. He considered Nokia’s 60 million euro investment in Romania to be important regionally as well, because the investment indirectly brings work to as many as 15,000 people in the vicinity of Cluj. Vosganian encouraged other new investments as well. The new taxation policy has already benefited international automobile manufactures, too.
Scientific and research cooperation sought
Minister for Foreign Affairs Adrian Ciorianu, for his part, hoped for scientific and research cooperation between the two countries; he also hoped for investigation into the possibilities of cooperation aiming to improve the Romanian health care sector. In Minister Väyrynen’s view, linking Romania’s neighbouring area cooperation with the country’s development policy could offer interesting perspectives. Foreign Minister Ciorianu believed that in shaping the country’s development policy, Romania could obtain expert assistance from Finland. He was also convinced that the Black Sea region would be able to learn from the EU’s Northern Dimension policy.
Topics discussed during Väyrynen’s other talks were utilisation of Finnish expertise, e.g. in the energy sector, which has much interesting potential. The host of Minister Väyrynen’s visit was Ovidiu Silaghi, Minister for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Trade, Tourism and Freelance Professions. In addition, Väyrynen met with Juliu Winkler, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, who saw Finland’s achievements in the economic sector as a model.
More than 20 Finnish companies represented on the trip
Väyrynen considered his trip to be a highly successful opening to Romania. The business delegation representing more than 20 Finnish companies held talks with the Romanian hosts at civil servant level, among others, in the ministries of defence, the environment, agriculture and labour.
Finnish exports to Romania have tripled in two years. In addition, Finnish investments have exceeded the 100 million euro mark. The investors include Rautaruukki, Elcoteq and, among the most recent, Nokia. Transport connections are also sped up by the direct flights now operated by Finnair.
Return trip via Budapest
Minister Väyrynen travelled from Bucharest to Budapest, where a meeting with Minister for Foreign Affairs Kinga Göncz was scheduled for 6 September. The ministers held an intense one-hour discussion on topical issues within their fields.
The Hungarian and Finnish Ministries for Foreign Affairs have conducted a Twinning Light project on development policy. Its goal has been to strengthen Hungarian know-how and expertise in creating its own development policy. Like other ‘new’ Member States, Hungary is committed to reaching the development aid level of 0.17 per cent of GNI by the year 2011. Foreign Minister Göncz expressed Hungary’s interest in continuing the joint project.
During their talk the ministers also discussed, e.g. the EU’s neighbouring area cooperation and relations with Russia, especially from the viewpoint of trade policy. In addition, Foreign Minister Göncz told his guest about Hungary’s new EU strategy and the foreign policy strategy now being formulated.
Minister Väyrynen’s next export promotion trips will be made to Turkey, India and Slovakia, and they will take place already in October–November.