Poland still attractive in the eyes of investors. An Interview with Paweł Kurtasz, President of the Management Board of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency

Poland still attractive in the eyes of investors. An Interview with Paweł Kurtasz, President of the Management Board of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency

Which sectors in Poland are currently the ones foreign investors are most interested in?

The interest of foreign investors is quite wide and diverse, which comes from the specificity of the Polish market and its unflagging attractiveness in terms of many industries, which we generally classify as manufacturing and services. As part of service projects, the most popular is the modern business services industry – BSS, including shared service centres, IT centres, BPO centres and research and development centres. For foreign corporate investors, Poland is a strategically located country, with qualified and multilingual staff, from where they can provide services to their customers and contractors located in different time zones. There are already 1,700 such centres in Poland, employing over 430,000 people.

Currently, PAIH is running 46 BSS projects.

Does the Polish State have any special incentives for foreign investors willing to invest in Poland?

New investments in production, services and research and development can count on support under Regional State Aid, which includes CIT exemption for a maximum period of 15 years and Government grants for new investments of significant importance to the Polish economy. Both forms of support are available throughout the country, with the exception of Warsaw. The first one is granted by Special Economic Zones, while the second one, in the form of a subsidy, is granted by the Minister responsible for the economy on the basis of the Programme for the Support of Investments of Significant Importance to the Polish Economy for the years 2011-2030.

It should be emphasized that the Polish Investment and Trade Agency offers investors comprehensive information and advisory support in handling projects from the very beginning, from the moment of making the location decision, through all phases of implementation, and even after the project is completed.

How does PAIH help Polish companies expand into foreign markets?

A key aspect of foreign expansion is to build a well-thought-out export strategy for the company, which can be facilitated by training courses offered by PAIH (such as the ABC of Export) or materials available on our website. Building an export strategy is about confronting the strengths and weaknesses of the company with the characteristics of the target market and is a foundation that becomes invaluable in the subsequent stages of preparation for entering a foreign market. When making a decision to enter a specific market, our Foreign Trade Offices are an invaluable help, as they are able to advise entrepreneurs on the optimal way to start foreign expansion, as well as help with the export strategy, for example, advise whether the strengths of the company will be the same in the new market, and whether the weaknesses will be equally obstructive to development.

Do you see any obstacles to the development of foreign investments in Poland in the near future?

A high risk for investors these days is related to geopolitical instability and interruptions in supply chains. So far, Poland has been doing well in attracting investments, despite the ongoing war in neighbouring Ukraine. Nevertheless, geopolitical turmoil and conflicts, if exacerbated, could scare off potential investors.

Do you think that the market is developing well enough that it is possible to successively introduce Polish companies to new foreign territories?

According to Eurostat studies, last year was a record year in terms of the volume of Poland’s foreign trade turnover. Export of goods increased by 21.1% and amounted to EUR 319,366.9 million at the end of the year, while imports increased by 26.6% and amounted to EUR 343,720.6 million. In 2022, exports of services increased by 22.6% (to EUR 84,667.9 million), while imports amounted to EUR 53,028.7 million (increased by 26.4%). In both cases, we are seeing the highest values in Poland’s history. These statistics are undoubtedly a positive signal for PAIH, as they indicate the dynamic development of foreign trade. Both exports and imports of goods have seen the highest growth rate since 2010 and 2007, respectively. Without a doubt, the Agency has played a role in this, successfully helping Polish entrepreneurs to expand on markets all over the world through its network of Foreign Trade Offices. Our observations show that thanks to PAIH’s activities, Polish entrepreneurs are more and more willing to take an interest in the hitherto less frequented directions of foreign expansion, which bodes well for the diversification of export directions and the development of Polish business abroad.

Of the various internationalization strategies, which can be the most effective?

The most frequently chosen ways of entering a foreign market are export through a foreign distributor and export to end customers. The first method is based on distribution mainly through the network of contacts of a foreign partner and is usually faster, because a well-chosen partner provides market insight and shortens the time needed to reach the customer. In addition, some products cannot be sold directly to end users, or it is disadvantageous to do so. In addition, in the case of exporting to end customers, an in-depth understanding of the specifics of a given market is required, as the choice of recipients is limited by our knowledge, and our negotiations in many markets will be more difficult without a local partner. Internationalization is not only about selling a product – it can mean starting production in a given market, marketing activities, finding a market niche for yourself (appropriate distribution channel, geographical niche, product niche).

What directions for development of foreign investments in Poland seem to be the most promising in the near future?

Intel’s investment in a semiconductor integration and testing plant, obtained for Poland this year, is associated with the need to rebuild the microelectronics industry and create an entire ecosystem for this industry. We hope that the next decade will be another example of the phenomenon that has taken place with the electromobility industry and that Poland will become a hub for the activities of companies from the semiconductor sector. We believe that Intel’s investment will attract more players to Poland. We strongly support Polish cooperation with strategic partners for semiconductors, such as Taiwan, which is beginning to translate into investment projects, announcing another industry specialization – microelectronics – and the new area of inflow of this type of investment to Poland.

Paweł Kurtasz is a manager with many years of experience and has a PhD in technical sciences. He graduated from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Automatics and Computer Science of the Opole University of Technology. A graduate of Master of Business Administration (MBA) studies, completed with honors. Before joining PAIH, he was the Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of the Wałbrzych Special Economic Zone. The former Chairman of INVEST-PARK DEVELOPMENT – a company belonging to the Wałbrzych SEZ capital group. Co-founder and former Chairman of a company dealing with air and road safety systems.

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Anastazja Lach