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In this page: FDI in Figures | What to consider if you invest in Romania | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Investment Opportunities

 

FDI in Figures

According to UNCTAD's 2021 World Investment Report, FDI flows to Romania totalled USD 2.3 billion in 2020, down from USD 5.8 billion a year earlier, following the global economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. The total stock of FDI stood at USD 107.5 billion at the end of 2020. According to data from the National Bank of Romania, the main sectors attracting FDI are manufacturing, construction and real estate transactions, trade, financial intermediation and insurance. The main investing countries are the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy and Cyprus. Bucharest is the region that attracts the most foreign capital in the whole country. According to preliminary figures from the National Bank, in the first eleven months of 2021 FDI inflows to Romania stood at EUR 6.8 billion, compared to EUR 2.4 billion recorded one year earlier.

In terms of FDI, Romania has numerous advantages: in addition to a large domestic market, the country has a strong industrial tradition, coupled with a cost of labour among the lowest in the EU and a well-educated workforce. This has been the reason for the development of a significant industrial sector, particularly car making, but also services. Furthermore, Romania has one of the lowest tax rates in the EU. The tax regime favours industrial investment and start-up initiatives equally. A gradual pick up of projects co-financed by EU funds brings support for investment, which is expected to recover. On the other hand, corruption is still a problem, so as legislative instability and weak judicial independence. Romania ranked 55th out of 190 economies in the latest Doing Business report issued by the World Bank (down by three positions compared to the previous edition). Finally, Romania introduced new legislation which tightens the FDI screening rules, in line with EU Regulation 2019/452: the National Council for Country's Defence (CSAT), an executive body chaired by the President of Romania and having the Prime Minister as its co-chair, may stop an investment if it is deemed to pose a threat to national security. The sectors involved include security, energy, transportation, infrastructure, weapons, etc.

 
 
Foreign Direct Investment 201820192020
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 6,2195,7912,322
FDI Stock (million USD) 92,88799,201107,526
Number of Greenfield Investments* 231260156
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 6,2516,0593,864

Source: UNCTAD - Latest available data.

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.

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What to consider if you invest in Romania

Strong Points

The main assets of the country for attracting foreign investment are:

  • The country's accession to the EU since 2005 has allowed it to improve the country's international relations and put an end to its relative isolation
  • The introduction since its accession to the EU of prudent monetary measures that have enabled the country to gain the confidence of foreign investors
  • A relatively low level of public debt and a favourable growth rate: 6% in 2021 (IMF)
  • A relatively large domestic market with around 21.2 million inhabitants in 2021 (CIA World Factbook)
  • A qualified and low-cost workforce
  • A strong agro-food industry (wheat, barley, rapeseed, etc.)
  • Low energy dependence on coal, oil, gas and uranium
  • A total of 96 industrial park infrastructures offering companies access to utilities and special benefits according to their field of activity, as well as exemptions from property, building and planning taxes
Weak Points

The main weaknesses of the country are:

  • Persistent political instability
  • Poor infrastructure
  • High risks of corruption
  • A large informal economy
  • Judicial, legislative, fiscal and regulatory unpredictability weakening the confidence of the business community
  • A relatively poor population with limited purchasing power and affected by a demographic decline (low birth rate and emigration of qualified young people) and
  • Fragility in the banking sector, which does not discourage investment and entrepreneurial risk-taking
  • High debt in foreign currencies the private sector
  • High external debt of the country
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
Romania is actively seeking to attract foreign direct investment and has taken steps to strengthen tax administration, improve transparency and create legal means to resolve contractual disputes quickly. Similarly, since 2009, various governments have been able to reduce the budget deficit from 9.1% of GDP in 2009 to 4.4% in 2019 (according to the Romanian government).

The rise in wages, and in particular the minimum wage at RON 2,300 (about EUR 458), makes it possible to boost growth through sustained household consumption. Finally, the application of a new tax code, adopted in September 2015, allowed the introduction of numerous tax adjustments in favour of the liberalisation of the economy, including a reduction of the VAT rate from 24% to 19% in 2017 and a dividend tax reduction of 16 to 5% in 2017.

Investors can benefit from customs and tax incentives in six free zones (mainly located on the Danube or near the Black Sea). Investments in free zones can be subsidised by the state under EU rules on regional development aid.

Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By Romania
Romania has signed bilateral agreements on investments with 96 countries.
To see the list of countries, consult the UNCTAD Investment Policy Hub.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Yes
Acquisition of Holdings
Taking the majority shareholdings of a Romanian company is allowed.
Obligation to Declare
The Foreign Investment Directorate can inform one about the necessary requirements to set up a business.
Competent Organisation For the Declaration
Foreign Investment Directorate
Requests For Specific Authorisations
Specific authorisations or licences in some strategic sectors, such as energy, environment, etc. Foreign investment must comply with environmental protection, national security, defence, public order and public health interests and regulations.

Find out more about Investment Service Providers in Romania on GlobalTrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Investment Opportunities

Investment Aid Agency
Romania Investment Promotion Agency
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Tenders Info, Tenders in Romania
Ted - Tenders Electronic Daily, Business opportunities in the EU
Globaltenders, Tenders & Projects from Romania
DgMarket, Worldwide Tenders
Other Useful Resources
Reasons to invest in Romania - Brasov Chanber of Commerce and Industry
 
 

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Find out more about Investment Service Providers in Romania on GlobalTrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Latest Update: April 2022