Wholesale and retail trade were entirely in the socialized sector before 1990. By 1993, however, 50% of retail trade had been privatized. Since 1996, the government has worked more diligently, yet slowly, to create a market economy by eliminating consumer subsidies, liberalizing the exchange rates, and initiating tighter monetary policies. Further privatization programs are also underway and the government is considering ways to promote and encourage foreign commercial investment.
Domestic trade of consumer goods has been limited to local markets. There are only a few professional distributors and independent retailers tend to be rather small. The chief seaport is at Constanta. Timisoara and Brasov serve as regional industrial centers and railroad hubs. Oradea serves as a regional marketing and shipping center for livestock and agriculture. Arad is a regional commercial and industrial center in the west while Pitesti serves as a hub for the south-central region. Turgu-Mures serves as a regional industrial and agricultural center for central Romania.
Stores are open daily except Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM . Food shop and retail department store hours are 7 AM to 9 PM Monday to Saturday and 7 AM to 12 noon on Sundays. Offices generally open at 7 or 8 AM and close at 3 or 4 PM . Exchange counters in banks transact public business from 8 AM to 12 noon, but exchange offices at border crossings remain open 24 hours a day.