CETA encourages Poland and Canada to deepen economic ties

After the first quarter of the temporary operation of CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) between the EU and Canada, there is an even greater interest in economic cooperation between Poland and Canada, trade representatives told PAP.

"Interest on the side of the Polish market is high, but I think it will be even greater, the head of the Foreign Trade Office of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH), in Toronto, Zack Labieniec, told PAP. "Our office has handled over 250 inquiries in the second half of 2017, that is, from the start of the agreement. (...) Seventy to eighty percent of these queries concern plans that will be implemented in the near future."

"Several firms are currently working on establishing a business in Canada," he added.

Ninety percent of the queries come mainly from small and medium-sized enterprises employing up to 50 employees, said Labieniec.

Polish entrepreneurs are most interested in areas of: information and communication technology (ICT), artificial intelligence, mining, energy, production of zero-emission vehicles, as well as the export of basic food products, confectionery items, furniture and other consumer goods. Companies are also interested in providing logistics or financial technology services, and creating applications or technologies for industry.

CETA, a comprehensive economic and trade agreement between the European Union and Canada, temporarily entered into force at the end of 2017, eliminating 98% of the tariffs between Canada and the EU. 

From the side of Canadian companies, we can also see a growing interest in the Polish market, claims Nicolas Lepage, a trade advisor to Canada in Poland.

"At the end of November 2017, we had a 44 percent increase in Canadian customers who were interested in the Polish market, and a large part of this growth, which is very significant, is related to CETA," he said.

The inquiries come from companies that are already present in Poland, including those that have production facilities here, as well as completely new ones, he added. "This is really related to the implementation of CETA and the interest of companies looking for new opportunities."

He also sees opportunities in partnerships with local companies, especially those in the area of innovation. In the growing electric vehicles industry, cooperation has already been established with several Polish bus manufacturers, Lepage informed.

As he said, he expects to see a further increase in direct Canadian investment in Poland. "According to our latest estimates, Canadian companies currently maintain around 16,000 jobs in Poland," he added.

In the longer term, cooperation can be a gateway to the public-procurement market for both sides, not only in Poland, but also in the region, claims the Canadian commerce adviser. 

For the full implementation of CETA, it must be ratified by all EU members. So far, eight countries have done so. The deal is controversial - critics say it can favour large corporations, infringe on consumer rights and have a negative impact on the environment. Of particular concern is the dispute resolution mechanism between the state and the inwestor.