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Financial crisis may hamper expected increase in Poland-China trade
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16:23, March 06, 2009

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There are many business opportunities in economic and trade relations between China and Poland. However, the financial crisis may have effect on realizing that prospect.

Poland hopes that it would expand its exports to China to reduce the trade deficit. While Poland would also welcome Chinese investment especially in construction, said a Polish ministerial-level delegation who visited China recently.

However, that expectation may be overshadowed by the current financial crisis. China's Ministry of Commerce warned on March 5 against risks of working in Poland because the economic slowdown there has resulted to less job vacancies. There are stricter restrictions on foreign employees, and a risk of salary payment default in the context of drastic devaluation of the Polish Zloty.

Misconducts of some unqualified Chinese intermediaries have also led to rights and interests of Chinese workers there being damaged, said the Ministry of Commerce in a statement on its website, suggesting that Chinese citizens do not go to work in Poland under the current circumstance.

The World Bank estimated Poland's economy to grow by two percent in 2009. The unemployment rate in the country has gone up to 10.5 percent from 8.8 percent and may rise to 12 percent this year.

Slawomir Nowak, Secretary of State, Chief of Political Cabinet of the Prime Minister, said at a press conference on March 2 in Beijing that Poland is seeking to sell more "green" agricultural products and coal mining machineries to China, as well as expecting more Chinese tourists to Poland.

According to the statistics on the Polish side, Poland exported some 1 billion USD to China while imported some 11 billion USD from China in 2008.

Rafal Baniak, Undersecretary of State for the Ministry of Economy, believed that his dialogue with Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng on March 2 in Beijing would "bring very good results", in which Gao expressed China's willingness to achieve a trade balance and to support Polish enterprises' entry into the Chinese market.

Mr. Baniak disclosed that a Polish business delegation may visit China in the first half of the year.

Recognizing that the bilateral investment is still small, Mr. Baniak said Poland hoped to further cooperation on that regard.

"Poland can become a gateway of Chinese companies interested in the EU market…Our cooperation will expand when more Chinese companies enter the EU market," said Mr. Nowak, noting that the trade and investment promoting offices of the Polish Embassy in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou would help Chinese investors tap the Polish and European markets.

The largest Chinese investment in Poland is Lenovo's PC production facilities in Legnica Special Economic Zone, which is Lenovo's largest investment in Europe. While the largest Polish investment in China is Selena's plants of construction chemicals in Nantong, coastal Jiangsu Province.

"Chinese enterprises are welcome to the bidding of our construction projects," said Mr. Nowak. Poland has ambitious plans of infrastructure construction.

According to a report by People's Daily earlier this year, highway construction has been high on the government agenda as Poland and Ukraine will jointly hold the 2012 FIFA European Cup. Poland plans to build 960 kilometer of expressway and 2,200 kilometers of fast highway by 2012.

Mr. Nowak also confirmed that the economic downturn would not affect Poland's participation into the Shanghai expo in 2010. He hopes that Poland's pavilion at the Expo, which will celebrate Chopin's birthday, would be a beautiful window to Poland for visitors.

By People's Daily Online

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