City leaders in central and eastern Europe are maintaining a calm outlook on whether their locations will suffer an investment downturn from a Donald Trump presidency in the US. Interviewed by fDi during Mipim, a real estate fair held in Cannes from March 14-17, CEE city leaders stated that they either do not anticipate a large shift in US investor sentiment towards their respective countries or noticed an uptick in investor inquiries following November’s election.
According to Wojciech Szczurek, mayor of the northern Polish city of Gdynia, while last year brought no shortage of political shifts, he does not anticipate his city will take a major FDI hit. “Last year was indeed full of changes, but in situations like this Polish politics, which on a regional level are very stable, make our country even more attractive as a potential investment destination,” he said.
Mateusz Skowronski, director of the Investors Assistance Department for the city of Katowice, another Polish FDI hub, points out that so far his city has not seen major changes in the way US investors or the new administration approach cross-border investments into CEE. “So far it is business as usual for us,” he said. “We hope it will remain this way, given that in the past couple of years we have been betting heavily on US investors, organising trade missions to the country and utilising our sister city agreements.”
As regards the Czech Republic, while FDI-attraction strategies remained unchanged following the US election, Maria Zezulkova, head of department at Brno City Municipality, suggests economic developers might want to capitalise on Mr Trump’s ties to their country, not only because to the fact that Mr Trump was married to Czech-born Ivana Trump, but also given that president Milos Zeman seems to have a better rapport with Mr Trump than many world leaders. “Our president will visit the US in a few months, so we are waiting for this, as it might influence [FDI inflows],” says Ms Zezulkova.
The most bullish all city representatives interviewed by fDi during Mipim is Oleg Mistuque, CEO of the Kiev Investment Agency. He says Ukraine’s capital has already experienced an increased interest among US investors since the election. “There has been a perception that as a businessman himself, Mr Trump is more in favour of private sector involvement in business,” says Mr Mistuque. “This is what is happening already. We have been visited by at least half a dozen US companies in the past four months and that is a higher rate than during Barack Obama’s administration,” he adds.