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    Case Study 1: Romania's National Export Strategy


    International Trade Forum - Issue 4/2009 

    To prepare for accession to the European Union (EU) in 2007, the Romanian Government recognized the need to strengthen its export sector to cope with new and intense competition within the EU through the development of a National Export Strategy. The private sector contributed 50 per cent of the cost of export-promotion activities.

    The first step towards setting up an NES occurred in 2000 with the development of a roadmap to carry Romania into the EU. This progressed with the establishment of the National Export Council in 2004, which comprised 30 members divided equally between the public and private sectors and co-chaired by a representative from each side. Its role was enshrined in law, which enhanced its legitimacy and credibility across both sectors.

    The National Export Council was set up with the guidance of the ITC based on best practice models. The ITC provided the council's committee with assistance preparing the NES, providing explanations on methodology and facilitating consultation and priority-setting. It also collaborated on the design of a monitoring system to help manage the NES's implementation and track results.

    As part of Romania's long-term plan, the NES was also given a regional dimension in order to counter centralizing tendencies and manage significant disparities in the international trade performance of the country's regions and counties.

    For two months following the launch of the NES in 2005, ministries, parliament, the private sector, academia and non-governmental organizations discussed the details of the plan. This comprehensive and consultative approach helped strengthen the original draft and gave ownership of the plan's recommendations to the public-private partnership. The cabinet signed the final NES in December 2005 for implementation in 2006.

    The principal manager of the NES is the National Export Council and the committee it set up for the project. Although the council and the committee regularly meet to review and monitor progress, the ultimate responsibility for pushing the NES forward resides with the Export Promotion Division of the Trade Ministry.

    Key outcomes of implementing the NES so far have been to:

    • Foster and consolidate cooperation among ministries and agencies
    • Help to change mindsets among policy-makers, trade support institutions and enterprises alike
    • Establish realistic targets for export development
    • Acquaint enterprises with market-led value-chain approaches and help them to be more competitive
    • Broaden the base of Romanian exports with growth in some non- traditional sectors and improve the export structure
    • Give foreign buyers and investors more confidence in Romania.

    As a result of the NES, significant capacity has been built in Romania. It is now developing its second-generation NES for 2010-2014 and is in a position to share its expertise with other countries that intend to undertake an NES.