How much support do exporters need and where it should be directed was one of the main themes of this year’s Made in Poland conference.
Poland’s exports have quadrupled over the past 13 years, despite not always favorable geopolitical climate. Polish exporters have proven to be flexible, innovative and resilient in penetrating new markets and increasing their foothold in Europe as well. Contrary to popular belief, Poles don’t export mainly raw materials and produce. The sales of innovative products and services, particularly in the IT business, are growing quickly.
The state’s role is to mitigate uncertainty and risk for the entrepreneurs, particularly for SMEs, whose share in exports is still relatively small. The state has, in fact, made steps to provide exporters with far more support than in the past, uniting all agencies and institutions within the Polish Development Fund. Even the name of the agency that works directly with exporters abroad has been changed to reflect its increased involvement: the Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH). PAIH has taken on a major endeavor to launch 70 foreign offices that will support Polish exporters, even in the most remote locations, such as Vietnam, Kenya and Mexico. The South American markets could be the next big endeavor for Polish firms looking for new markets: their growing population and wealth make these markets worth fighting for.
“Even if you sell niche products, it is always better to have access to 500 million potential customers rather than 38 million,” said Prof. Witold Orłowski, chief economic advisor at PwC in Poland and rector of Vistula University.
The Made in Poland conference, held on March 30, 2017 at Villa Foksal, was attended by over 100 business leaders, and heads of bilateral chambers of commerce and government institutions who discussed the situation of Polish exporters.