Poland’s investment promotion structure is being overhauled to place greater emphasis on supporting domestic companies’ international activities. The former Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency is set to see everything from its name to its overseas outposts changed to reflect the new focus, which is being driven by a government that has pledged better support for domestic enterprises. 

Seventy new trade and investment offices are to be opened around the world by the end of 2019, reporting to the agency and replacing the 50 existing trade sections, which were sited within embassies and part of Poland’s diplomatic structure. Six new offices have already opened, with a total of 20 slated to be opened by the end of 2017. 

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Keeping up momentum

“Poland has seen a lot of success in attracting FDI over the past several years and is among the hotter destinations in the region for investment. We are keeping up the momentum and want to make our investors here as comfortable as possible,” says Tomasz Pisula, president of the renamed Polish Investment and Trade Agency.

“At the same time, the Ministry of Development, our supervisor, has asked us to build a trade pillar to resemble what the other developed countries have been doing over the past decades. In our new form we will resemble UK Trade & Investment or Business France, as well as the German and Italian agencies.”

For the new trade and investment offices, Mr Pisula says the agency is recruiting “motivated people with local ties and good knowledge of the local environment” in their respective markets. Key targets will be to increase the export of Polish products and services as well as Polish outbound investment.

“We definitely see that there are Polish companies who are ready to start investing overseas, and this is good for us because it opens up international markets to Polish companies. Eventually it’s beneficial for the overall Polish economy,” he says. “The value of Polish exports has increased substantially over the past decade and Polish goods are now seen as very good quality.”

Keen to make own name

Polish exports are currently heavily tilted towards Germany, the destination for roughly 70% of Polish products or components. A big percentage is then re-exported by German companies under German brands.

There is a growing desire by Polish companies to sell more goods under their own brands, and certainly they have scope to push into more markets as both exporters and investors. According to crossborder investment monitor fDi Markets, 336 of the 435 greenfield investment projects launched by Polish companies internationally since 2003 went to other European countries, with only a small fraction going to the large markets of Asia-Pacific (46 projects) and North America (26).

Mr Pisula believes Polish exports can compete strongly in the international marketplace with the same selling point that has accounted for the country’s success in attracting FDI: “Western European quality at Eastern European prices.”