The start guide for doing business in Romania

There are plenty of opportunities for doing business in Romania. Romanian consumers are fond of foreign products. Domestic products are (still) seen as inferior. The most promising sectors are agriculture, ICT, logistics and water management.

A total of 21 million people live in Romania, of whom 1.2 million are Hungarians and also (unofficially) 1 to 2 million are Roma. In 2019, the export of goods amounted to €3.4 billion, imports to €2.1 billion. Politically and economically, Romania is still in a state of transition. Even though it is now an EU country, there is still a lot of corruption, legal uncertainties and bureaucracy.

Are you looking to start a business in Romania? Read in this blog what to look out for when doing business in Romania.

Starting a business in Romania

Are you planning to start a business in Romania? Then it is useful to know more about the types of legal forms and tax-friendly economic zones.

Legal forms in Romania

  • Societate cu răspundere limitată (SRL). Similar to a private limited company.
  • Societate pe acţiuni (SA). Similar to a public limited company.
  • Sucursala. This is a branch or local office.

Economic Zones in Romania

Romania has five special economic zones. These zones have attractive tax regulations, such as no import duties or VAT. The rules vary per zone. You can find out which zone is suitable for your company on this site.

Export to Romania

Romania has been a member of the EU since 2007. This means that there is free movement of goods and services between Romania and other EU countries. However, there are a number of things to watch out for when exporting and importing goods and services to and from Romania.

VAT payable when exporting goods or services to businesses in Romania

You can export goods or provide services to companies within the EU at a VAT rate of 0%. In order to qualify for a VAT rate of 0%, two conditions apply. Make sure your customer provides a valid VAT identification number. You can check VAT numbers here.

Also, make sure that you are able to prove that the goods have been transported from the UK.

VAT payable on the supply of goods to private individuals in Romania

You must always charge VAT when exporting to private consumers. A minimum threshold up to €10,000 is applicable here. If you do not exceed this amount, you can treat your Romanian customer as if they were from the UK. You then simply pay the VAT in the Netherlands. For amounts over € 10,000, you are required to charge the relevant Romanian VAT rate. You must pay this VAT to the Romanian tax authorities. The easiest way to do this is via what is known as the Union Scheme. You then pay the Romanian VAT that you have received to your Tax and Customs Administration. The latter then transfers this to Romania. The Union Scheme applies to all EU countries.

Excise duties on export of goods to Romania

Products such as wine, beer, spirits, tobacco and mineral oils are subject to excise duties. How much and exactly which products are subject to excise duties can be found by consulting the EU excise duty tool. You can find this here. Please note: no threshold amounts for VAT apply to excise goods.

Invoice requirements for export to Romania

For invoices to companies in Romania, your governments’ invoice requirements apply by default. Supplementary rules, such as retention periods, also apply. The requirements differ according to the goods and services.

Export licence for exporting goods to Romania

For certain products, you need an export licence to be able to export them to Romania. Consider, for example, strategic goods such as weapons and items that can be used for both military and civilian purposes (dual use).

An export licence may also be required for what are known as phytosanitary products (plant health).

The same applies to medication. A certificate is required for export within the EU (CCP).

Business culture in Romania

Doing business in Romania: culture and people

Romanians are hospitable and value traditions. They are fairly hierarchical. Elderly people are treated with respect and dignity. Education and titles are very important. Take this into account when doing business in Romania. Always wear smart business clothes.

When you greet someone, give them a firm handshake and really look at them. Only call someone by her or his first name when she or he says it.

Which language?

The younger generation has a good command of English. But there are plenty of business people who only speak Romanian. Arrange your own good interpreter if you need to. Because Romanian is a Roman language, Romanians tend to feel different from other Eastern Europeans who speak Slavic languages. They are proud of that difference.

Gain trust by making small talk

Coming straight to the point is really not done when doing business in Romania. Build a relationship of trust first. Spend time together and talk about yourself and your family, engage in small talk, etc. Also ask about the other person, give sincere compliments.

Doing business in Romania: gain trust

You will score points by familiarizing yourself with the history and culture of Romania. Gaining trust means that cold calling is pointless. Instead, look for a common connection, someone who can introduce you.

Be on time

Being on time is a sign of respect. Make appointments well in advance and confirm them by email. Neat clothing is customary for a dinner party. Do not sit down until your host has pointed out a place for you. Do not start eating straight away but wait until your host wishes you 'pofta buna' (bon appetit).

What can you give as a gift?

Romanians like to receive gifts. Flowers, chocolates or a small promotional gift are all appropriate. Please note: always give an odd number of flowers. An even number is only customary at funerals. Another piece of advice: never place a bag on the ground, Romanians believe that this brings bad luck.

Who makes the decisions?

This is simple in Romania: the highest in rank makes the decisions. It is important to always negotiate with someone of equal standing. Honour and loss of face are considered very important. Romanians make decisions in personal conversations, such as during a sightseeing tour or a visit to a museum. Again, this stresses how valuable the personal relationship you build up with your Romanian business partner is.

Tip: always check - discreetly - whether a decision has actually been made. Sometimes it seems as if an agreement has been reached, but it turns out that others still need to be consulted first.

This is greatly appreciated: the translation of business documents

Take the personal relationship with your Romanian business partner to a higher level and have business documents, such as presentations and contracts, translated into Romanian. has an extensive network of professional Romanian translators who provide high-quality Romanian translations that you will make a good impression with.

Support for doing business in Romania

The Romanian government provides assistance through Invest Romania.

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