Right direction | The Romanian-American and Moldovan-American Chambers of Commerce: An interview with Mark Meyer, chairman

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MARK A. Meyer was born in 1946 in New York. He graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey (B.A., 1968; Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, 2011), St. John’s University School of Law in New York (J.D., 1971; Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, 2007) and Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts (LL.M., 1972; Distinguished Alumnus, 2004).

Tiberiu Dianu

Mr. Meyer is the founder and Chairman of the Romanian-American Chamber of Commerce (1990) and the Moldovan-American Chamber of Commerce (1993).

In 2002, in part through the lobbying efforts of the Romanian-American Chamber of Commerce and related organizations, such as the Congress of Romanian-Americans led by its former President, Armand Scala (1941-2011), Romania joined NATO. The acceptance was followed by President George W. Bush’s historic visit to Bucharest on November 23, 2002.

For his contributions to the business relations and cultural understanding between Romania, Republic of Moldova and the United States, Mark Meyer was awarded Romania’s National Order of Merit in the rank of Commander (2004) and Republic of Moldova’s highest civilian decoration, the Medal of Civic Merit (2006).

He is a practicing attorney and an adjunct professor of law at St. John’s University Law School.

On October 4, 2019, Mark Meyer attended the annual ALIANTA/The Alliance Gala at the Romanian Embassy, in Washington, DC.

With that occasion Mr. Meyer granted me an exclusive interview.

1. Mr. Mark Meyer, you are the Board Chair of the Romanian-American Chamber of Commerce. Describe, in short, the Chamber’s goals and perspectives in cementing the U.S.-Romanian relationship.

This is our… We’re coming into our thirtieth year of existence of the Romanian-American Chamber of Commerce. Which, from the start, and still today, seeks to promote the interest of American and Romanian business in mutual trade and investment between to two countries. We have branches, or chapters, in Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Los Angeles and San Francisco. And I hope I didn’t leave one out. And we are part of the European-American Chambers of Commerce, which include the British-American Chamber, the French Chamber, you know, the Germans. So, we are Romania’s national chamber. And the Chamber is different from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Romania, which is a quasi-governmental organization. And it’s also very different from the AmCham [American Chamber of Commerce in Romania], which is in Romania. Because we are here, and our members are seeking to support, not lobby, but support business activities of Romanian companies in the United States and American companies that seek to invest in Romania.

2. Thank you so much, Sir. Can you also tell us a few words about the Moldovan-American Chamber of Commerce, in terms of goals and activities?

Yes. But it’s interesting that you’ve mentioned that. I am also the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Moldova in New York. And the Moldovan-American Chamber of Commerce was formed shortly after Moldova became independent. And it’s a separate chamber of commerce, but has a link to the Romanian-American Chamber. So if you join the Moldovan Chamber, you are automatically a member of the Romanian, and vice versa. And its goals are pretty much the same. It is, needless to say, not a very active organization. It is not like the Romanian-American Chamber of Commerce, which has events every month.

3. But it exists.

But it exists, yes.

4. The last question, Mr. Meyer: how do you see the role of these chambers of commerce in the era of Donald Trump, a businessman turned president?

Well, I don’t… I frankly think we don’t have anything to do with what… you know, who’s president. And it’s going to discontinue, by the way, who is Prime Minister of Romania or President of Romania. We’ve been supportive of Romania. Romania chooses its representatives. And last week we had a simply wonderful event for Prime Minister [Viorica] Dăncilă in New York, which I don’t know if you attended, but it was terrific, I mean, with major companies attending: Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway… just, you know, major companies. And that’s not an endorsement of any particular political party. That’s simply the goal that we’ve had for thirty years, of supporting Romania and its people.

5. Thank you so much, Mr. Meyer.

[In Romanian] Da, cu plăcere [Yes, with pleasure].

Tiberiu Dianu has published several books and a host of articles in law, politics, and post-communist societies. He currently lives and works in Washington, D.C. and can be followed on Medium.

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