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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Win-win Opportunities for Economic Development Cooperation between Poland and China

~Warsaw Forum

Mr. Paweł Chorąży is Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Development, Poland. This is a translated and edited version of the opening address he gave at CEIBS 1st China-CEE Development Forum in Warsaw on September 15, 2017.

“In my opening words I would like to thank you all on behalf of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, and welcome you to this first China-CEE Investment forum. I would also like to express my admiration for the China Europe International Business School and Koźmiński University for their efforts in putting this meeting together. I do believe that this gathering is of great importance for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it allows discussion not only in a political forum, but also with experts. In business circles, it will further our understanding of how we can collaborate in the development of new approaches and ideas for cooperation between China and Central and Eastern Europe, with an aim to provide both parties with a win-win outcome.

In Poland’s case, I do believe that it goes without saying that we have seen a new opening in the relations between our two countries. I believe this has been proven by bilateral visits: our Prime Minister Beata Szydło’s visit to Beijing, as well as the most recent visit by Xi Jinping to Poland. I daresay that global cooperation and the global challenges that we are all facing today have led us to believe that we are indeed following the correct path.

Such an approach and attitude is proven by the fact that our relations are now at the level of a comprehensive strategic partnership. It goes without saying that the initiatives that have elevated our mutual relations cover a variety of issues. Political declarations aside, it is hugely important for us not to remain at a declarative level. I believe that we should be following through with content. I have already mentioned the visit by Prime Minister Szydło and the fact that high level visits have been organized for Chinese representatives to Poland.

Political contacts are of great importance; that is clear. Nonetheless, cooperation is also hugely important at the economic level. I am very happy to see so many representatives of Chinese business circles in Warsaw. I do believe that both parties have been left with no doubt as to options for cooperation in Poland, in Europe in general and in the Chinese market, as proven by our trade balance which has been steadily growing over the last few years.

This is obvious not just from the statistics; one cannot help but notice that in this particular area, we should definitely introduce some minor amendments, some corrections, in order for this cooperation to be a win-win. It’s something that we have made a part of the title of our conference. All Chinese businesses will be welcomed to Poland with open arms.

We have been working for many years now, in order to provide Chinese businesses with excellent conditions in Poland, but we are also expecting some reciprocity. We would expect the Chinese to be equally open, which is exactly why we have decided to suggest an entirely brand new model of cooperation, in order to balance out the disadvantageous effect of the trend in our trade relations. While Chinese exports to Poland are growing, there has been a reduction in Polish exports to China.

Poland enjoys a strategic geopolitical location. I do believe that our position is also very apparent when it comes to the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative. The intention of the Polish government is to go beyond Poland being just a transit point for Chinese goods on their way to Western Europe. Poland is a gateway to Scandinavia and Western Europe. We truly want that gateway to also become a location that people will not merely pass through, but will also stop at for a longer stay before continuing on elsewhere. This is why the Polish government has come up with ideas that are infrastructure-friendly for our international partners, not only to China but to investors from around the world. We have already seen a record number of foreign investments. We are actually gaining more than other European countries.

Our flagship achievements include the central communications and transportation port, which has been widely discussed in Poland. It is also hugely important from the viewpoint of the Chinese experience. We truly want the construction of this airport to contribute to the win-win model. We would like to take advantage of whatever our Chinese partners can offer us at a very high quality level, and I believe that those of us who have actually been to China deeply admire the quality and functionality of Chinese communication hubs. One just needs to go to Shanghai to see this. While this is definitely a flagship project, it is also a foundation upon which we can develop excellent Polish-Chinese relations.

Notably, we are also on the threshold of a major change when it comes to the operation of economic zones. We are developing a concept which is definitely going to be to the greater advantage of investors, specifically those investors who want to reach development-oriented industries. We would like to encourage you to take a closer look at that initiative. Mr. Krzysztof Senger of the Polish Agency for Trade and Investment is here with us. That institution, the Polish Agency for Trade and Investment, may prove to be a very important one for all of you. Not only can it serve as a liaison, but it can also help you establish new contacts in Poland.

In closing, I would like to express my hope that other speeches, especially during the B2B sessions in the second part of our forum, will be inspiring for all of you, and will yield new initiatives and cooperation opportunities between our countries and our companies. I would like to thank the organizers for this very important initiative. Concurrently, let me close by wishing you a fruitful debate which hopefully shall yield further cooperation initiatives. Thank you very much.”