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What, Where, When

Banat is More and More Attractive for Investors

Interview with Mr. Vasile Logoteti Onofrei,
Manager of "ONOFREI & ASOCIATII" Law Firm
by Camelia Schinteie
- You own the first and the only law firm specialising in offering business advice in the western area of Romania. I know for a fact that among your clients are companies of international prestige.
In your opinion, what is it that Timisoara is offering to these foreign investors ?
- Our experience, gathered over the last 6 years and a direct association with more than 100 investors of all types, enables me to state that our main advantage is the wide "openness" for business, for direct investments or joint ventures, as well as an economical mentality, which is now closer to the Western one than ever before. The regional proverb: ,,In Banat even the dogs bark in four different languages", is still true in many ways. For example, our company currently offers services in four languages: English, French, Italian and German.
- How would you describe the present circumstances regarding foreign investors ?
- The Banat region is more and more attractive for foreign investors. Unfortunately, the national economical environment is characterised by high legislative instability. The game of ,,hide and seek" with the facilities offered by the Government to foreign investors, exasperated them. The consequences of this reality can be overcome, so that the extraordinary potential which exists in this field might be valued at a maximum, only by appealing to complex and constant juridical assistance. If the manager of a company relies on the competent advice of a law firm, the changing legislative environment will not affect the investor in the same manner. We must mention that the most important fields of life Romanian market are not yet completely covered, and the demand is consistently higher than the offer. Opportunities are everywhere around us. Even with a little money, but playing according to Western standards, remarkable things may be achieved.
- What are the advantages that might determine people to invest in our city ?
- There are many strong arguments for investing in Timisoara, or in Banat. The main advantage is the cheap, qualified labour force. Other reasons are connected to the location of the area, the opportunities in the business field, the presence of well-known international banks, and a cleverly built infrastructure. Also the fact that Timisoara has an international airport, as well as a high education level and a strong system of ethnic and religious tolerance are to be considered as advantages.
- Which are the main problems that foreign investors have to face ?
- The biggest problem is the bureaucracy. The only viable solution that would eliminate stress, save time and money is permanent direct counselling. Another problem is the one represented by the lack of sufficient information and by the hardship encountered when trying to obtain the missing information. Coping with a reality you do not really know represents a great danger. This is one of the situations in which counselling is truly necessary. Fortunately, in the last few years, specialised companies have appeared and investors in all fields of activity need them. Our company came into being as the result of a mission of the American Bar to South Eastern Europe. The ,,ONOFREI & ASOCIATII" Law Firm is constituted based on the institutional model of a similar American company. As we were directly benefiting from this expertise, my colleagues and I were able to build a law firm specialised in business counselling, which offers a wide range of services, which are most probable to be needed by a foreign investor. Efficiency, earnestness, fairness and confidentiality have long ago entered our organisation's culture.
- What is the advantage of using a counselling company ?
- There are many advantages. The main ones are the certainty of the business and the professional assistance in a new economical environment, which is constantly changing. The success of a business in Romania is strictly dependent on its power to adapt to this environment that is often described as being ,,hostile" to implementation and development to foreign investment. Let's not forget the costs which are far lower than those in Western Europe, and which are paid for equivalent services from the point of view of the quality.
- What tips do you have for the readers of our magazine ?
- Internet has already made a few early steps in Romania. One can find interesting information on Timisoara and the Timis area On Line. Unfortunately, not all the Romanian companies who have access to cyberspace understand that the main language used here is English.
As for our company, more information is available at