Duane C. Butcher (in picture), charge d’affaires ad interim with the Embassy of the United States in Bucharest had a meeting with Romanian PM Victor Ponta at Victoria Palace on Tuesday (January 8 ) as part of a “round of consultations,” according to US Embassy representatives, quoted by Mediafax news agency.
“This is a routine meeting held in order to discuss bilateral topics of mutual interest and it is part of a round of consultations with the new Government”, stated embassy representatives for Mediafax.
Discussions during this meeting are likely to have covered aspects of US investors’ business interests in Romania.
In November last year, PM Ponta met some of the members of the American Romanian Business Council and, given the political turmoil at the time, reassured them about the general state of investments and about his willingness to approach and solve possible issues in this respect.
“You are all welcome to invest here, to create jobs and to join the efforts invested in promoting Romania as one of the most important and stable partners of the United States in this region of the world”, stated PM Ponta at the time, according to the Romanian press. The respective meeting also took place at Victoria Palace and the list of attendees included Metlife, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ADM, AMGEN, Eli Lilly, Johnson&Johnson and Smithfield Ferme.
Another important diplomatic signal concerning US companies’ local business concerns was sent in December last year, when PM Ponta expressed the new Government’s “interest” in negotiating with Chevron, the second largest oil group in the US, concerning the production of shale gas. Ponta noted at the time that while Poland was buying shale gas for 80 dollars per thousand cubic meters, Romania was charged 450 dollars for the same quantity imported from Gazprom. Having secured a license for the exploitation of shale gas, Chevron was thus high on the list of Romania’s potential partners (with OMV Petrom and Exxon Mobil next to it) in securing its independence from Russia as far as gas imports are concerned.
On December 14, Duane C. Butcher took over the duties of former US Ambassador Mark Gitenstein, who completed his diplomatic mission in Romania at the end of last year. Butcher had acted as Deputy Chief of Mission since August 18, 2011, according to the announcement published on the web site of the US embassy in Romania.
The new US official on Romanian soil previously acted as Chief of Mission in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (July 2010 to June 2011), and as Consul General in Hamburg, Germany(2004-2007). His career as a diplomat also includes offices in Belgrade, Serbia (2001-2004), Bucharest(2000-2001) and Baki, Azerbaijan (1994-1996).
Ioana Jelea, firstname.lastname@example.org
(photo source: US Embassy)