The Foreign Investors Council Elects its Executive Officers
The Foreign Investors Council (FIC) held its 13th Annual General Assembly in May. Mr. Traian Basescu, the President of Romania, delivered the keystone speech as the FIC's special guest. After that presentation, the FIC elected its new Board of Directors consisting of 15 persons.
At the first Board of Directors meeting, the Board elected its four Executive Officers. The newly elected Executive team which will serve for a one year term consists of:
President, United Romanian Breweries - Tuborg Romania
CEO Hall, Dickler
Senior Partner, KPMG
The primary objective of the FIC is to foster dialogue between policy makers and investors to improve Romania's business environment and to mitigate the impact of the current international financial situation.
The primary objective of the Board is to increase the FIC's involvement and success as a lobbying organization and to cause increased consideration to its position papers and recommendations submitted to the Government.
Recently, in this respect, the FIC issued the 2009 version of its White Book "Maintaining Growth", which provides a comprehensive overview of Romania's investment climate and specific recommendations to improve the business environment.
The White Book is the product of several FIC "Task Forces". Senior managers of the FIC's Members meet in Task Forces to discuss issues that are important to Romania's business environment. They propose recommendations for improvement based on their international experience, which often includes participation in other emerging markets.
The 2009 White Book updates the FIC's recommendations concerning various issues in its focus such as: Taxation, Labor Market Flexibility, Environment, Rule of Law, Corporate Governance, Energy, Agriculture, and Investment Support Legislation.
Specific recommendations on anti-crisis measures were discussed with Prime Minister Boc and relevant ministers of the current Cabinet in the spring at the ASPEN Institute forum. The FIC's position paper on anti-crisis measures recommended the following objectives: (a) reduce the budget deficit; (b) limit the current account deficit; and (c) reinforce and maintain a stable economic and legal environment.
Each objective was supported with substantial measures to be considered when the Government enacts its economic strategy. The FIC recommended to the Government a coherent and credible plan to support the domestic economic activity in close cooperation with the Central Bank and international financial institutions. The FIC also proposed a set of actions to improve Romania's financial credibility.
The FIC's principal method of advancing its issues is through Task Forces composed of volunteer specialists from FIC member companies. More than 150 professionals from 80 multinational companies contributed to the position papers developed by the Task Forces. This endeavor focuses on providing professional expertise and recommendations.
Each Task Force is chaired by one or two Board members who report back to the Board on the lobbying activities carried out by that Task Force.
The following Task Forces are currently in place:
1. Taxation, chaired by Serban Toader (KPMG) and Stephan Maria Weber (Ursus Breweries);
2. Labor Market Flexibility, chaired by Veronica Savanciuc (Lowe&Partners) and Kurt Strohmayer (JW Marriott);
3. Environment, chaired by Markus Wirth (Holcim) and Constantin Hariton (Saint-Gobain);
4. Corporate Governance, chaired by Gilbert Wood (Hall, Dickler) and Claudia Pendred (EBRD);
5. Rule of Law, chaired by Gilbert Wood (Hall, Dickler);
6. Agriculture and Regional Development, chaired by Jean Valvis (Valvis Holding);
7. Energy, chaired by Mariana Gheorghe (Petrom);
8. Infrastructure, chaired by Markus Wirth (Holcim).
The Task Forces are actively involved in discussions with the executive branch of the government and, in some cases, with Parliamentary commissions. Members of the FIC's Task Forces meet regularly with senior government officials to lobby for positive change.
Mr. Shaine, the new President of the FIC thanked the outgoing Executive team for their outstanding contribution to the FIC during their mandates and stated that is a great honor for him to take over this position.
The main themes Mr. Shaine proposed for the Board to focus on were: (1) to discuss about immediate measures that need to be taken in order to pass the economical crises; (2) to consolidate and expand the FIC's membership, targeting new large foreign investors in Romania; (3) to advocate specific legislation to increase labor market flexibility; (4) to lobby Romanian decision makers to implement measures to attract investments in new and existing businesses; and (5) to establish lines of communication with the EU and the local authorities, especially on improving Romania's country perception regarding its economy.
In the future, the FIC will continue to play an important role in the dissemination of global expertise and EU best practice information that its managers have learned from their previous international postings.
From the FIC's perspective, the existence of a predictable, transparent and effective legal system based on the Rule of Law and the uniform enforcement of existing laws are essential to increase FDI in Romania. This is essential to improve the business environment and to sustain economic growth.
The Foreign Investors Council (FIC) is an association of the leading foreign investors in Romania.
The FIC was established in 1997 and now has over 100 members, whose combined investment in Romania exceeds EUR 16 billion, representing approximately two thirds of Romania's total foreign investment. The primary objective of the FIC is to foster dialogue between policy makers and investors in order to improve Romania's business environment and to assist in Romania's European Union accession process.