2nd Economic Cooperation Forum. European Union - China

China and Poland are two distant countries that differ in terms of culture, history and the approach to business. However, these differences do not encumber the growth of mutual interest, which has the chance of translating into business relations. Notwithstanding, it is required to see more of China in Poland and Europe, as well as more of Poland and Europe in China – these are the main conclusions drawn from debates that took place during the 2nd China – Europe Economic Forum at the EEC 2013.
The Forum consisted of three parts.

– The relations between Poland and China are excellent at the political level. Now it is required to translate them into an improvement in economic cooperation. All the time, there is lack of coordination in our economic relations. Apart from that, we still know very little about each other and thus experience a cognitive gap – such a statement appeared during the session entitled “Central Europe, China and the World Economic Outlook.”

Olgierd Dziekoński, Minister in the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland remarked that we experience both growth in trade with China and a deficit at the same time. In his opinion, the negative balance does not positively influence the operation of the Polish economy. Therefore, it is necessary to build mechanisms of cooperation between Polish and Chinese firms.

– Politics outpace economy in the relations between Poland and China. It seems that business did not notice the political action – assessed the Minister.

One of the panellists was Gao Xiqing, President of China Investment Corporation, for whom the European Economic Congress in Katowice has been an opportunity to visit Poland for the first time. In his opinion, Poland – particularly in recent years – has become a very important country, also in economic terms. – Everyone speaks of stagnation and crisis, whereas Poland is a star that shines in the slightly paler European background – he commented.

Gao Xiqing expressed an opinion that Poland is a good example for the rest of the world. – There are certain regulations in your country, which are important for investors and which other countries lack. Today, all people strive to defend their own backyard and they are not particularly fond of unfamiliar persons, whereas Poland welcomes them with open arms – he assessed.

The panellists who took part in the debate entitled “The Europe – China cooperation: Opportunities and risks” agreed that never before in our history have the relations between Poland and China been so good. – The scale of possibilities of cooperation between us is huge. At present, our aim is to translate these relations into cooperation on the economic level – assessed Dariusz Bogdan, Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Economy.

The participants of the debate assessed that the Asian country has been undergoing large transformations lately and European firms may take part in those changes, as well as benefit from them, provided, however, that all entities present in the Chinese market would be subject to the same conditions.

– China is an excellent partner. Very often, however, we think of challenges and risks when we speak of China – said Milan Hovorka, the Czech Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade. According to his statement, everyone should expect the relations between the EU and China to be a far more positive phenomenon.

Paweł Świeboda, Chairman of the Board of demosEUROPA – Centre for European Strategy, appealed for equal rules of the game for firms from both the EU and China. – China uses instruments that support their own entrepreneurs and exporters – he said. At the same time, however, unlike the preceding speakers, he assessed that the context for the cooperation between the EU and China will be far more difficult. – Indeed, the complementarity of our products is high, but it decreases year after year – he remarked.

A depiction of dynamic transformations that are taking place in China may be the fact that China will soon cease to be perceived solely as a gigantic manufacturer. Instead, it will start to be perceived as a huge output market.

Therefore, according to Witold Orłowski, Member of the Economic Council of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, present problems in economic relations between Poland and China, such as trade deficit, are short-lived. – These problems will begin to change. China will cease to be perceived solely as a gigantic manufacturer. Instead, it will start to be perceived as a huge market – he assessed. Witold Orłowski also remarked that it is only a matter of time before the society that manufactures so much will start to consume more.

China is a country where everyone can find a suitable niche and everyone is given a chance, including Polish entrepreneurs who should enter the Chinese market through alliances with European firms – assessed the panellists of the next session, entitled “Poland in the Chinese market. The cooperation between Poland and China.”

The debate showed that the target group, to whom our manufacturers (particularly consumer goods manufacturers) should direct their efforts, is the emerging middle class that counts around 350-400 million people in China.

The development of residential construction in China may be a great opportunity for Polish manufacturers. It creates the possibilities of expanding our household appliances industry, as well as the broadly defined residential furnishing industry.

– We have appropriate technologies and large scale of production at our disposal in that segment. It would be good to create common manufacturing and investment undertakings. Our enterprises that manufacture tiles or fixtures and fittings should establish relations with their Chinese counterparts – said Ryszard Michalski, Director of the Institute for Market, Consumption and Business Cycles Research. He pointed out that Chinese consumers are looking for quality food. That niche might be taken by Polish food.

Eric Wong, Director of TCG Capital, dispelled the doubts as to whether it is too late for Polish firms to enter China. – Every brand is given a second chance in China, regardless of its position in the rest of the world. I have seen firms that used to be perceived as mid-range ones in the global markets, whereas in China they managed to achieve a considerably higher position – said Eric Wong.

Then Li Xi, Vice-Chairman of Nuctech, presented the reasons why Chinese enterprises express their interest in the Polish market. – We decided to create our branch in Poland because we wanted to establish a bridgehead here. Firstly, we had a good cost-to-price ratio in Poland. Secondly, we knew that Poland was one of the largest countries in Europe, as well as an important member of the EU. That is why we believe Poland is a bridge and a gate for Chinese firms interested in the European market – said Li Xi.

Look at foto galleries

Central Europe, China and World Economic Outlook

Europe – China cooperation: Opportunities and risks

Poles go to China
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