Romania could only gain if it intensifies its involvement into the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, the future growth engine of the world economy, said a Romanian expert.[Special coverage]
Romania enjoys special friendship with China, a tradition to be continued, Iulia Monica Oehler-Sincai, a researcher at Romanian Academy's Institute for World Economy, told Xinhua in an interview in Bucharest Thursday.
She said Romania also enrolled in 16+1 framework, a cooperation platform created in 2012 by China and 16 Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries.
"Romania is placed right at the intersection of the two initiatives, and has a number of assets," Oehler-Sincai said, noting that "partnership with China was and will be beneficial for Romania's development."
According to the expert, Romanian administration should take advantage of the reality that investment in infrastructure is one of the central goals of the initiative, as the country's needs for modernizing its infrastructure are extremely acute.
Romania's authorities considered the investments in energy as a priority, though the need for infrastructure is intense, and its competitive ICT sector could be easily involved into cooperation projects, she observed, noting that there is a high need for investment in infrastructure in Romania.
"Romania does not currently have any high-speed rail, while China is a global leader in the construction of high-speed trains and railways. The Romanian motorway network is still underdeveloped, and China is among the countries with the most complex motorway network. Such complementarities are a solid basis for cooperation, there is only the need of political will," said Oehler-Sincai.
She said Chinese investments in Romania are still at a modest scale.
"Thus the potential to cooperate is huge. Transport, utilities, infrastructure, machinery and industrial equipment, tourism, agriculture, biotechnology have great potential to attract Chinese investors," she added.
The expert also called on the Romanian authorities to "operate changes in some field" in order to intensify cooperation with Chinese partners.
"This requires continuity, stability, coherence, transparency of the legislative and regulatory system. The agency responsible for promoting and facilitating investments must be a stable structure to ensure the continuity of dialogue with potential investors," said Oehler-Sincai.
Reconsidering the visa and the licensing regime is also an essential path on the road to amplify cooperation with Chinese companies, and opening a direct airline is highly needed, added the expert.