Romania bands exports of cereals, energy firms’ sales

2020-04-10

The Romanian government has decided to ban exports of wheat, corn, rice, sunflower and other grains, but also vegetable oil, sugar and various bakery products for as long as the Covid-19 state of emergency is in force.

Romania is one of the largest exporters of cereals in the EU, selling to both European states and other markets such as Middle East countries. In 2018, Romania exported 12 million tons of cereals.

The ban is applied to all exports, but intra-EU acquisitions are allowed on condition that the destination country proves that the products are for internal or EU consumption and not redirected to third countries. In a sign that the government is determined to ban exports, it also announced that the authorities will no longer issue phytosanitary certificates that are used for exports.

Yet, the sale of majority stakes in companies included in the National Energy System is forbidden during the state of emergency period. Both decisions were included in a military ordinance announced late Thursday and they will apply after the publication in the Official Journal.

It is still unclear why the government decided to ban sales of energy firms. In the past, China partnered with Romanian state companies to build new energy production units at existing power plants. However, nothing has moved on so far.

In late March, the European Commission issued guidelines calling on member states to make full use of foreign investment screening mechanisms to protect Europe’s critical infrastructure in times of economic instability and fragility.

The Czech ?EZ energy group, which holds a number of assets in Romania, recently announced plans to focus more on the domestic market and sell foreign assets. The company said many investors expressed their interest, including Romanian, but for now, no sale can move forward.

eurativ.com, 10 April 2020
; https://www.eurativ.com