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First ''Better Business Bureau'' Launched in Europe.

ARLINGTON, Va. & BUCHAREST, Romania -- The Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB), located in Arlington, VA, USA, has agreed to grant an operating license to Romania's Better Business Bureau (BBB), which will provide a physical presence for the BBB outside of North America.

"I believe that CBBB's initiative, the first in Europe, will be received with enthusiasm by both the public and private sectors, and by the consumer. BBB Romania is a welcomed complement to our government's efforts and, as such, we look forward to being a partner in this process," said George Copos, state minister for business and small and medium size enterprises.

The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the U.S. - based Better Business Bureaus system, which leads 131 BBBs with 180 offices throughout the U.S. and Canada. Founded in 1912, the BBB's mission is to promote and foster the highest ethical relationship between businesses and the public through voluntary self-regulation, consumer and business education, and service excellence. The CBBB and all local Better Business Bureaus are non-governmental, non-profit organizations. The BBB system works in close cooperation with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Industry Canada, as well as with non-governmental organizations (NGO's) and governments in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

Kenneth Hunter, president and CEO of the CBBB, considers this achievement to be "an historic opportunity for the Romanian business and consumer environment, as well as for the public sector."

Anne Crichton Crews, vice president-government relations, Mary Kay Inc., who chairs the CBBB Board's International Strategy Committee, said that "a growing number of BBB-member businesses, large and small, appreciate the mutual value of sharing respected and recognized BBB best business practices with eager leaders in the growing European and trans Atlantic marketplace."

The vice chair of the board of BBB Romania, Aurelia Dragomirescu, who is legal director of Connex, a founding member, stated that she and her colleagues had requested affiliation with the Better Business Bureau system for several reasons. "The BBB system has a successful history of fostering high standards of responsibility in business practices and services aimed at complementing consumer protection efforts by the government. By establishing a Better Business Bureau to serve Romania, we hope to have a positive impact on our country's business climate, develop stronger ties to the west, particularly the U.S., and demonstrate to the European Union the ability to exercise aggressive consumer protection and self-regulation," she said.

The goal of the board is to begin formal BBB program operations in the fall of 2005. Over the next few months, founding members of BBB Romania will focus on raising additional support from the business community, while building staff and operational capacity.

Future projects on the agenda of BBB Romania include developing self-regulation standards and practices, educating consumers towards protecting their legitimate interests, creating tools to discourage uncompetitive practices, including handling consumer marketplace complaints and reporting on business behavior, and promoting the development of harmonized standards and regulations between the EU and the U.S.

"BBB Romania is a testament to the dedication and hard work of Romanian local business and foreign investors, to NGO's and business associations, and mass media, as well as Romanians living abroad, who are contributing to Romania's integration into the European and global marketplace," said Razz V. Serbanescu, president & CEO of BBB Romania.

The founding members of BBB Romania consist of multinational and local companies. They include MobiFon; Philip Morris; Saatchi & Saatchi; Raiffeisen Bank; Microsoft Romania; Colgate-Palmolive; Coca-Cola; HBO Romania; Telemobil S.A.; IBM Romania; Rom Recycling-Trafigura Group; Experian Scorex; Stewart Information Services; Kasolvenzia; Finansbank; ANA Group; and media outlets such as Academia Catavencu, Ringier Group, Romania Libera and LEADERS Magazine. Also providing support for the launch of BBB Romania is an Honorary Board of Directors, led by Nadia Comaneci, and including Robert Turcescu, Lia Roberts, Andrei Postelnicu, Dr. Leonard I. Linkow and Radu Teodorescu.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 21, 2005
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