28/06/2016 - Romania's economy has made remarkable progress since the country joined the EU in 2007. In 2015, it achieved one of the highest growth rates within all EU member states and, in comparison to many countries, has recovered well from the global financial crisis. Yet, the rate of Romanian GDP growth has not returned to the high levels achieved from 2000 to 2008, which peaked at over 8%, while the country continues to confront important economic and social challenges.
A quarter of the population is still living below the national poverty line and in rural areas this reaches 70% of the population. Important challenges remain in eliminating the gaps between Romania and other economies, in particular structural problems, such as week competitiveness.
Against this background, the Romanian government asked the OECD to conduct an assessment of regulatory constraints on competition in three key sectors: construction, freight transport and food processing. Together, these three sectors account for just over 12% of GDP and almost 10% of employment.
The final report identifies 227 problematic regulations and makes 152 specific recommendations on legal provisions that should be amended or repealed. It also identifies the sources of those benefits and, where possible, provides quantitative estimates.
OECD Deputy Secretary-General Mari Kiviniemi presented the results of the Review at a launch event in Bucharest on 28 June 2016 in the presence of Romania’s Vice Prime Minister Costin Bork and the President of the Romanian Competition Council Bogdan Chiritoiu.
In 2014, a project to review three key sectors of the Romanian economy was launched. Making use of the methodology in the OECD Competition Assessment Toolkit, a project team composed of competition experts, economists and lawyers from OECD, the Romanian Competition Council and external consultants analysed 895 pieces of legislation, assessed costs and benefits of regulations restricting competition in the designated sectors and proposed specific recommendations for change.
The project team worked closely with Romanian ministries and authorities as well as with other key stakeholders. Those included the Ministry of Transport, the National Company of Highways and Roads, the Ministry of Economy, Commerce and Relations with the Business Environment, Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests, Inspectorate of State Construction, National Authority for Mineral Resources, National Standardization Authority, National Agency for Public Procurement, Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Public Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Authority for Consumer Protection.
A High-level Committee with high representatives of those authorities was appointed to oversee and support the work of the project team. These High-level Committee members will continue to meet and thus play an important role now that the project is completed in implementing the proposed recommendations.
Another important workstream of the project was to provide assistance in building the competition assessment capabilities of the Romania administration. To this end, officials from the line ministries and the relevant authorities were appointed by the Romanian Chancellery in order to gain exposure to the application of the OECD Competition Assessment Toolkit. The substantive knowledge gained can then be applied to similar exercises in other sectors or to new laws and regulations.
Photos from the launch event in Bucharest, 28/06/2016