A Lexicon of Orientation: Import and Export


Data visualisation

Subject: Import and Export
Location: Romania

An overview of Romania’s export growth between 1995 and 2020, paired with insights into the primary export destinations for seven key products, including car lights, car seats, rubber tires, refined copper, PCB boards, electrical insulated wire, and epoxy resins.

Insights by sociologist Norbert Petrovici

Romania’s Export-Driven Transformation
From the 1990s onwards, Romania underwent a significant economic transformation. Initially characterised by slow growth, due to internal consumption from both the government and the population, the country underwent substantial changes after the 2008 economic crisis. This transformation was accelerated by its entry into the EU in 2007 and gained momentum in 2011. During this time, Romania redirected its attention towards exports, prompting cities like Timișoara to transform into global, market-oriented entities with a strong capability for industrial exports.

The Complexity of Timișoara’s Economic Growth
The economic expansion of Timișoara is remarkable for its diversification into services, encompassing engineering and software production in Shared Service Centers. However, this diversification frequently goes overlooked in economic categorisations. Numerous FDI companies in Timișoara identify themselves as industrial due to their dual functions — of industrial manufacturing and service delivery — to manufacturing processes. This starkly contrasts with cities like Cluj, where different companies are primarily involved in software production, leading to their prominent categorisation in the IT sector. In Timișoara, the IT sector is interwoven with engineering services, predominantly supplied in-house to FDI industrial conglomerates.

Import-Export Dynamics and Romania’s Automotive Role
The economic growth of Romania is significantly shaped by its import and export dynamics. A considerable portion of imports consists of intermediate goods, often semi-finished products that are completed locally and then exported. While officially classified under various sectors, these products are predominantly used in the automotive industry, highlighting Romania’s key role within the continental supply chains. Timișoara is pivotal in this regard, making significant contributions to the automotive supply chain and thereby enhancing the prominence of the automotive sector within Romania’s export portfolio.

AI generated visuals

./prompt: in, global, commerce, logistics, hubs, and, port, facilities, form, the, foundation, of, trade, routes, dictating, the, rhythm, of, international, exchanges, guided, by, INCOterms, transactions, receive, validation, through, bills of lading, while, freight forwarders, and, multimodal transport, ensure, streamlined, coordination, containerisation, optimises, transport, and, as, products, return, or, deviate, reverse logistics, manages, their, trajectory, practices, such, as, global sourcing, exploit, international, diversities, while, digital twin supply chains, envision, real-time, scenarios, for, optimal, decision-making, demand forecasting, anticipates, market, needs, and, the, intricate, global value chain, seamlessly, integrates, products, such, as, rubber, PCBs, and, refined, copper, economies of scale, come, into, play, maximising, efficiency, and, profits, while, policy-driven, aspects, like, import tariffs, and, free trade zones, shape, economic dynamics, all, integrated, in, the, vast, network, of, supply, and, demand



Absolute Advantage
When a country or company can produce a good or service more efficiently (with fewer resources) than another.

Advanced Recovery Fee
Fee added to product prices to prevent improper disposal and reduce waste material stream.

Anti-Dumping Duty
A tariff imposed by governments on imports priced below their domestic value to protect local industries from unfair competition.


Backward Innovation
Building a more basic version of an existing product for a lesser-developed market.

Bilateral Trade
Trade between two countries.

Bill of Lading
A contract and receipt for shipped goods crucial in trade logistics.

Bill of Materials (BOM)
A list detailing the raw materials, components, parts, and their quantities required to manufacture a product.

Biomimicry in Trade Routes
The design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modelled on biological entities and processes.

Blanket Rate
A rate that does not increase according to the distance a commodity is shipped.  

Bulk Shipping
The shipping of large quantities of goods that are loaded onto shipping vessels without packaging.

Bullwhip Effect
A supply chain dynamic where order variations to suppliers are more pronounced than sales fluctuations to buyers, causing supply chain disruptions.


Circular Economy
An economic system based on the reuse and regeneration of materials or products for sustainable production.

Chain of Custody
The documentation showing the full process of acquisition, transfer, handling, and disposition of physical and electronic materials.

Chargeable Weight
The weight or volume of a shipment used in determining air, vehicle or ocean charges.

Commodity Fetishism
An anthropological term from Marx, suggesting people have social relationships with objects, often neglecting the conditions of production behind them.

A shipping method in which a large amount of material is packaged into large standardised containers.

CSV Format
A digital format for efficient data exchange that optimises supply chain operations.

Currency Exchange Rates
Value comparisons between currencies, influencing global trade dynamics.

Customs Clearance
The procedure where goods undergo verification to ensure they meet cross-border trade regulations.


Demand Forecasting
The process of predicting future product demand for efficient production and inventory.

In economics refers to the reduction in the quantity of materials required to produce goods or services over time.

Digital Twin Supply Chains
Virtual, real-time simulations of supply chains to forecast supply chain dynamics.


Economies of Scale
Cost reductions due to increased production efficiency.

Economy of Vertical integration
A strategy to reduce costs by consolidating the production chain internally, rather than using external suppliers or contractors.

Economic Policies
Guidelines set by governments or institutions to influence and determine a country’s economic direction. 

Export Credit Agency (ECA)
Institutions offering financial support to companies for overseas business.

Export Processing Zones (EPZ)
Economic areas with tax benefits to boost export industries and foreign investments.


Free On Board (FOB)
A shipment term that determines when the responsibility for shipped goods transfers from the seller to the buyer.

Free Trade Zones (FTZ)
Areas with customs benefits to enhance trade and foreign investments.

Freight Forwarders
Entities coordinating the transportation for streamlined import-export operations.


Global Sourcing
The practice of procuring goods from international suppliers for cost and diversity benefits.

Green Supply Chain Management
Eco-friendly supply chain practices that minimise waste and emissions.


Harmonised System (HS)
A standardised system of numbers to classify traded goods for customs purposes.

In logistics, a land or district behind a coast or river shoreline that serves both for imports and for exports. 


Import and Export Compliance
Actions meant to ensure that import-export regulations are observed. 

Import Tariffs
Taxes on imports that protect local industries and influence international economic dynamics.

INCOterms (International Commercial Terms)
International standards for shipping that define buyer and seller responsibilities. 

Information Asymmetry
In economics, the study of decisions in transactions where one party has more or better information than the other.


Landed Cost
Total cost of a product from the factory floor to the consumer. 

Highly toxic liquid byproducts resulting from the decomposition of waste.

Logistics Hub
A centre for organising, storing, and transporting goods, often near transport nodes.


Multimodal Transport The transportation of goods under a single contract, but performed with at least two different modes of transport.


Origin Certificate A document indicating a product’s country of production.


Port Facilities
Areas for loading/unloading services that boost international trade and regional economics.

Price Fluctuation
Economic metric that is used to determine the rate of increase or decrease in the price of goods and services within a market. 


Raw Material Supply Volatility
Unpredictable fluctuations in raw material availability due to environmental, geopolitical, and economic factors impacting prices and supply stability.

​​Resource Allocation
The process of assigning resources like materials and labour for optimal supply chain efficiency.

Reverse Logistics
The process of managing product returns and disposal, emphasising recycling and value recovery.


Supply Chain Capitalism
As conceptualised by Anna Tsing, a model highlighting the global scale and inherent diversity of modern capitalism, underscored by outsourced labour, just-in-time delivery, data-driven decisions, and economies of scale.

Supply Chain Integration
The coordination and interlinking of processes, information, and logistics across a product’s entire lifecycle, from suppliers to consumers.

Supply Chain Transparency
Full visibility of goods’ lifecycle, emphasising stakeholder accountability.

Supply Chain Resilience
The capacity of supply chains to endure disruptions from various global challenges.


Trade Facilitation
Removing obstacles to the movement of goods across borders to encourage economic growth.

Trade Flow
The movement and exchange of goods and services across borders or between regions.

Trade Liberalisation
Removal or reduction of restrictions or barriers on goods and services between nations. 

Trade Routes
Pathways for transporting goods, pivotal in shaping global trade patterns.

Trade Surplus
A situation in which the value of goods that a country exports is more than the value of goods it imports.


The act of storing goods that will be sold or distributed later.

Waste Management
The activities and actions required to manage waste from its inception to its final disposal.

Data visualisations
Federico Santarini
AI generated visuals
Bianca Schink, Alex Foradori
Data sources

Petrovici, Alexe, Bejinariu, 2023. ‘Economy in Timișoara: Territorial Distribution of the Economy in the Timișoara Metropolitan Area’

The Growth Lab at Harvard University. The Atlas of Economic Complexity:
• Where did Romania export Electronic Printed Circuits in 2020
• Where did Romania export Epoxide Resins in 2020
• Where did Romania export Refined Copper in 2020
• Where did Romania export Rubber Tyres in 2020
• Where did Romania export Car Seats in 2020
• Where did Romania export Insulated Electrical Wire in 2020
• Where did Romania export Car Lights in 2020