Poland – The rising star in a new global trade and investment world

Once upon a time the mandarins of trade and investment focused on just that: the barometer was export and import and the balance between the two. Based on monthly stats we became euphoric or simultaneously depressed. In the UK, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) ruled the roost and we were very transactional.

In the new globalised world that model is rapidly changing and today’s successful corporates know deep down that trade and investment and import and export are intrinsically linked – you need to import to export and trade leads to investment.

Poland is well positioned in this new world order and the UK is a GREAT partner. In today’s introverted geopolitics you may not immediately spot that but Poland is a future EU leader and together we can take on the world. Why?

The Starting Stats — Did you know?

Poland is the UK’s leading export market in CEE yet we massively underperform our top EU competitors – there is an opportunity to double trade by 2020, a bounty of €15 billion. The UK is Poland’s second largest global export market. This is mainly driven by B2B with UK companies benefiting from onward sale and operating efficiencies. The UK is Poland’s leading outward investment destination in Europe – by a long way with €4.5 billion invested; trade leads to investment and the UK is likely to export from that investment. Over the last 10 years Poland has carved out a niche as Europe’s manufacturing centre for cars, white goods, pharma and is a modern retail paradise – by necessity this was built on a low cost model yet that has been skilfully retained – nearly 30 per cent of Poland’s trade is with Germany. Poland as a leading nearshore emerging market beats the traditional Asian markets on interconnectivity which is a vital asset slap bang in the middle of the world’s largest trading bloc. To oil the wheels Poland has one of the lowest GDP’s per capita in Europe, a modest convergence level of 60% with a sustainable growth trajectory which will be driven by quality, added value and an injection of nearly €90 billion in pursuit of innovation.

Getting your head round a 3 dimensional opportunity

Underpinning successful performance in today’s global, interconnected, digitally driven markets is international trade – from day one if you are one of today’s start ups; an increasing necessity if you are a successful ‘1 market corporate’. This can be illustrated by a number of excellent, easily recognisable examples. Tesco with 1000 plus stores in CEE has not only built a successful model of innovative, modern retail by using low cost suppliers as a route to growth, but is today one of Poland’s leading exporters of FMCG products which brings significant benefits to its home market.

The advanced engineering sector is a British Polish opportunity waiting to happen. Automotive is a €60 billion market in CEE. The UK car sector is burgeoning and demonstrating outstanding performance. For UK companies CEE supply chain is an excellent route to growth and the UK is actively looking for supply chain partners as a priority – a GREAT trade, investment, import, export match. The same thinking applies to the aviation sector and the health and life sciences sector.

Tomorrow’s future driven by innovation and R&D partnerships

The future of tomorrow is bright. Strategy is more than ever the key to success and innovation is the pathway to sustained success. Poland is driven by a passion for innovation – once upon a time out of necessity, today by an unflinching ambition and determination for acceptance and thirst for a prosperity of equals. The UK is ranked as the second most innovative global nation; four out of the top six leading universities are based there. Poland and the UK are historical trading nations. We are both good at research, Poland is better at manufacturing and the UK is globally recognised for international development. Today’s globalised economic world mandates partnerships of strength. The UK and Poland have a big agenda. That creates a GREAT opportunity which we should not miss.

For more info about opportunities in Poland, go to the country’s section.


The views expressed in this opinion editorial are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Emerging Europe’s editorial policy.

About the author

Martin Oxley

Martin Oxley

Martin Oxley is Strategy Adviser of UK Trade and Investment in Central and Eastern Europe. He has spent the last 20 years working in Central Europe. Over the course of his career he has led the growth ambition of a number of blue chip and local pharmaceutical companies in the region. He has spent the last ten years promoting British Polish trade & investment, which has grown 5 times under his watch. Martin led the British Polish Chamber to become the leading international business networking organisation in Poland and has held a number of Non Executive Board positions in CEE based companies. Martin is a recognised international speaker and expert on Poland.
Twitter: @martin_oxley

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