Poland and Romania are not only the two largest countries in Central Eastern Europe but also tried and tested friends and strategic partners who have always had a friendly and deep relationship. 2019 will be a milestone for our countries, as we will celebrate 100 years of the establishment of our diplomatic relations. Furthermore, we are also allies in NATO and we cooperate deeply in the EU. We share similar views on the most important issues on the European and worldwide agenda, such as the Brexit, the future of the EU, migration and security, and the EU’s cohesion policy, etc.
We exchange many high-level visits which show our deep mutual interest in bilateral cooperation in various aspects. Romania is regularly visited by Polish representatives: in November 2015, we had a visit from the Polish President Andrzej Duda and in August 2016 — Prime Minister Beata Szydło paid a working visit to Suceava. Similarly, high level Romanian officials frequently visit Poland: in 2015 there was Prime Minister Victor Ponta’s trip and in June 2016, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lazăr Comănescu. In July 2016, President Klaus Iohannis paid a visit to Poland and the Chairman of the Romanian Senate, Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu, visited Warsaw twice in the second quarter of 2017.
Our bilateral trade has recorded a constantly upward trend in the last ten years. It is good to see both exports and imports growing steadily. In 2016, Poland ranked fifth among goods’ providers and ninth in terms of a destination for Romanian products. According to the statistics of the Polish Ministry of Economic Development, in 2016 the commercial exchange between Romania and Poland reached a record value of €4.86 billion. That means an increase of almost ten per cent compared to 2015, and a doubling in comparison to 2007, when the commercial exchange amounted to €2.17 billion.
All sectors seem to be equally important in the development of bilateral economic cooperation. However, we can distinguish certain ones where Polish companies have vastly know-how and experience than other markets: the food industry and packaging, the chemical industry, construction, furniture and all kind of services (including banking, cash processing, debt collection, IT, consultancy, etc.).
According to the Eurostat, both Poland and Romania continue to enjoy high GDP growth, with Romania being at the top with 5.6 per cent in the first quarter of this year, and Poland fifth with 3.8 per cent.
The National Bank of Romania’s report on Foreign Direct Investment ranks Poland as high as seventeenth, in terms of investments. At the end of December 2015, Polish companies had invested almost €500 million in Romania. Romanian companies are also searching for business opportunities in Poland and we are looking forward to attracting more and more Romanian investments to Poland.
Many Polish companies are already set up on the Romanian market and we are registering more and more enquiries from Polish investors and traders. The Romanian National Trade Registry Office estimated that in April 2017, there were 958 companies with Polish capital active in Romania. The constantly growing number of Polish companies that are active in the Romanian market is the best proof that Romania is attractive to Polish investors. We expect that the number might exceed the ‘1000th’ threshold quite soon.
One of the biggest advantages of Romania is its market and proximity, not only to Poland, but also to the other Balkan countries. Many of the Polish investors, who are manufacturing in Romania, export their goods to other markets, so Romania is a perfect hub for them. Another important asset is the qualified, well-educated and multilingual Romanian workforce. The last, but not least, advantage for Polish investors is the Romanians’ friendly attitude toward the Polish and the fact that Poland has a positive country brand. All of these benefits allow me to predict that the prospects for bilateral trade and investment are simply blooming.