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Moldova and China begin talks on Free Trade Agreement

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On December 28th, a Memorandum of Understanding on launching bilateral negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement between the Republic of Moldova and the People’s Republic of China was signed.

Moldova was represented by the Economy and Infrastructure Ministry Secretary, Iuliana Drăgălin, while China was represented by the Vice-Minister of Trade, Fu Ziying.

Both the officials mentioned that the start of the negotiations is essential in concluding the Free Trade Agreement which would intensify the trade and economic relations between the Moldovan and Chinese markets. The signing of the FTA is expected to take place until the end of 2018.

According to the Economy Ministry, 84 Chinese-owned companies with a value of about 5 million lei are active in Moldova. China is the 6th biggest trade partner of Moldova with 7,2% share. In the first 10 months of 2017, Moldova exported goods worth 14,789 million USD to China and imported goods worth 404,590 million USD from China.

Cui Hongjian, director of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies in Beijing, quoted by South China Morning Post, believes the FTA with PRC should not be of concern to Moldova:

“On one hand, Moldova wants to increase its links to the EU, but on the other, it doesn’t want to irritate Russia,” he said. “China, however, is not in direct competition with either Russia or the EU in this region.”

China already has a free trade agreement with Georgia that enters into force in January 2018.

Currently studying International Relations at the University of Pécs, Hungary. Study focus: Transnistrian conflict settlement, Moldovan statehood, Moldovan democracy.

Economy

Gas Natural Fenosa could be selling its Moldova branch for 500 million euros

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Source: mold-street.com

Spanish “Gas Natural Fenosa” is reportedly selling its branch from Moldova as part of a strategic restructuration of its assets, writes El Economista.

After entering the US-based GIP, Gas Natural Fenosa wants to improve its efficiency and get rid of problematic assets, such as those in Columbia, worth 3 billion euros, or those in Moldova. The strategic plan for this restructuration is scheduled for the end of February.

According to Mold-Street, J&T Finance Group, controlled by the Slovak Patrik Tkac, could be interested in buying Gas Natural Fenosa, after his plan on a 350MW power plant failed.

Gas Natural Fenosa is present in Moldova since 2000, serving over 800 thousand clients through its branch Red Union Fenosa and Gas Natural Fenosa Furnizare Energie- both dedicated to distributing and selling electricity in central and southern Moldova, including Chișinău. Mold-Street mentions that the company had several conflict situations with the National Agency for Reglementation in Energetics in regard to the tariff policy.

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Economy

Banca Transilvania acquires 39,2% of Moldovan Victoriabank, having 66,7% together with the EBRD

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16 January 2018- The Romanian bank, Banca Transilvania (BT), became the main shareholder at Victoriabank, the third largest bank in Moldova.

Banca Transilvania managed to acquire 39,2% of the Victoriabank’s shares and will govern together with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) with 27,5%. In this regard, EBRD welcomed the acquisition, calling BT “reputable investor” in “key Moldovan lender”.

BT set the following priorities for Victoriabank:

  • Supporting the private business sector in Moldova, especially the SME and micro-enterprises;
  • Developing a large variety of products and services for physical persons;
  • Aligning the organizational structure and the corporate governance of Victoriabank with that of Banca Transilvania;
  • Professionally involving entrepreneurs from Moldova via meetings and courses of the BT Club.

Victoriabank is almost 30 years old, has some 540 thousand clients, 1400 employees and almost 100 offices.

Banca Transilvania is the second biggest bank in Romania with 2,2 million clients, more than 7000 employees and more than 500 offices.

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Economy

Moldova’s second international airport, Mărculești, could become a hub for international goods transport?

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Source: mec.gov.md

Iulia Costin, the State Secretary of the Economy and Infrastructure Ministry of Moldova, says that the Mărculești International Airport could become a hub for international transport of goods between Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

According to Costin, the geographic position, as well as the preferential tax regime within the corresponding Free Economic Area, gives an advantage to the Airport for attracting potential international investors. The State Secretary underlined during her recent visit that the airport enterprise resisted the financial difficulties and is already collaborating with potential investors. Costin promised that her Ministry would provide assistance for the modernizing of the railway link of the Airport.

Quoted by the Ministry’s press-release, Ghenadie Mînăscurtă, head of the Mărculești Airport, says that the enterprise managed to repair and modernize the infrastructure according to international requirements but also train the personnel for technical service and aircraft maintenance.

Mărculești International Airport, with a territory of 265 hectares, is situated 150km north of Chișinău. It was founded in 2004 in a former Soviet military base. A report of Europass revealed that the Airport had 54 million lei of net losses between 2013 and 2015, while Ziarul de Gardă found out that the majority of businesses residing in the Airport’s Free Economic Zone belong to friends or relatives of the airport management.

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