This year Romania takes part for the first time in the Abu Dhabi weapons fair, IDEX 2007, with its own national stand.
There are over 1,000 companies from 50 countries exhibiting at the fair. The arms dealers are a special breed, being the savviest in terms of politics amongst the tradersâ breed. Negotiating and, most of all, securing a deal requires both a great deal of knowledge of the armsâ making per-se and being able to throw in the political leverage of friends in decision making positions.
This is why Abu Dhabi is bustling with negotiating teams. The arms dealers from industrialized nations crowd the fair in Abu Dhabi: they are from the United States, Russia, France, China, Germany, Italy and Great Britain. In spite of a common defense and security pillar, the European Union member states go it alone when it comes to securing armsâ deals.
In the same vein, Romania, the recent EU member, took its chance to test the waters on its own. The opportunity for doing business at home is going down, along the inability of the industry to squeeze for more tax brakes, now that the EU regulations and the principles of the single and free market are to be abided by in Romania too.
The deals secured so far in controversial privatizations proved to be more often than not very bad business deals.
One case in point was buying second-hand Hawk missiles from the Dutch.
Therefore, the chance for Romaniaâs industry to survive is for it to work at least as subcontractor for the big companies ruling the world armsâ market.
But this chance seems to be lost on our political leaders and even on the officials in the army and police forces.
They seem more interested in the real-estate value of the land on which Romanian arms factories were built, than securing the highly trained workforce will not leave the country for having their jobs scraped for lack of contracts.
Translated by ANCA PADURARU