With a population of over 21 million, Romania is Central Europe’s second largest market. Romania boasts several real advantages:

  • an excellent location at the crossroads of the main trade routes between western Europe and Asia, between South Europe (the Mediterranean) and northern Europe;
  • important river and sea navigation facilities  (Constanta is the biggest port on the Black Sea; proximity to the Danube – Rhine – Main canal connecting the Black Sea to the North Sea);
  • skilled labour, including highly trained specialists in the fields of technology, IT and engineering;
  • plenty of natural resources (oil, gas etc.) and vast fertile croplands;
  •  a huge tourism potential;
  • diversified industrial structure;
  •  legislation favouring foreign investment, based on free and nondiscriminatory access to the market.

In 1990 Romania undertook an economic reform process that accompanied and complemented rapprochement or, in certain cases, integration in international institutions and organizations – the European Economic Community (which became the European Union / EU) and NATO, but then also the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the World Trade Organization / WTO (of which Romania is a founding member) or the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The 90s were marked by economic downturn, worse in the first transition years (1990-1992), when the economy shrank by 27%, and over 1997-1999 (a decline of over 12%). This trend, accompanied by quasi-permanent inflation and a significant rise in unemployment, evolved on the backdrop of measures geared at decentralization, privatization and, notably after 1997, accelerated economic restructuring.

The interval 2000-2008 brought a marked economic recovery, with an annual growth rate above 6%, higher over 2003-2008 when Romania posted a sizable rise in consumption and productive investment.