Poland a magnet for attracting foreign investors

Leszek Szymański

Poland has become an ideal location for the development of foreign business activities, according to the latest report by the fDi Markets analysis centre of the Financial Times Group.

The findings are also confirmed by the survey of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency, PAIH, which was published at the beginning of the year.

Up to 14,8 billion USD foreign investors intend to invest in business ventures in Poland, almost twice as much as in 2016, says the fDi report. According to PAIH surveys, almost half of the current investors in Poland want to increase their expenditures this year, 44% want to keep them at the same level and only a small part of 8%, tend to reduce their outlays.

Furthermore, 56% of companies that have invested in Poland also want to hire more staff. The PAIH report also shows that the vast majority of respondents, 92%, confirm that they are glad to have selected Poland as a venue for their investments and would do so again if faced with the choice once more.

Tomasz Pisula, president of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency, told The First News: “Today, Poland hosts more sophisticated and technologically advanced FDI projects than ever before. Our country is now among the top destinations in Europe for advanced business service processes of ICT, finance & banking. There is also an increasing interest among global players in establishing research & development projects in fields such as aviation and automotive technologies.”

Some analysts claim that such a dynamic growth of planned investments is the result of a good economic climate in Europe, but the choice of Poland is not accidental. All foreign investors agree that Poland’s competitive advantage lies in its EU membership, quality of staff, availability of local subcontractors, increasingly better infrastructure and stable economy.

The size of the internal market and the availability of materials and components belong to the most appealing assets. Poland also offers investors a dynamic economic growth – in 2016 Poland’s GDP growth was 2.9% (compared to EU 1.9%), in 2017 it climbed to even 4.6%. For 2018 the European Commission has just raised the forecast to 4.3% from the previously predicted 3.8%.

Also the forecasts for the domestic demand remain very optimistic. That is why Poland is a convenient location from where to coordinate sales activities. This makes Poland an attractive business destination, not only for investors looking to reduce production costs but also for those in pursuit of promising sales markets.

Another advantage of the Polish market highly appreciated by foreign investors is the availability of materials and components. Also the technical and logistics infrastructure (roads, sewage systems, access to the power grid) has been improving recently. In addition, Poland offers an attractive labour market – the quality of the work-force is high, but the quantity is a problem. Foreign companies operating in Poland claim a decrease in the availability of qualified employees. And  when asked what bothers them most, bureaucracy and the tax system come top of the list.

Tomasz Pisula, president of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency, said: “We do work together with foreign companies in identifying crucial areas of the business environment that need improvement. This team effort is essential towards providing the best possible conditions for investors and to avoid threatening Poland’s excellent position on the global FDI map. The so-called Business Constitution recently established by the Polish government is a result of such cooperation. The Business Constitution is a package of laws aiming to reform the legal framework of running a business in our country.”

In addition, the PAIH survey found that the country is rated highest by French investors followed by German and Japanese. And according to a report by KPMG which was presented at the Polish- American business summit last week, business people in the USA view Poland as a main business destination across Central Eastern Europe.

Stacy Ligas, Partner, Head of Financial Services at KPMG in Poland and CEE, told The First News: “American companies operating in Poland can be found in all major sectors of the economy, generating most jobs in industrial manufacturing and services. Eighty manufacturing companies that are members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Poland have a total of over 150 factories in Poland. This means that investors are satisfied with choosing Poland as their investment destination and choose to open further plants here. In 2016, foreign direct investments focused mainly on the services industry, primarily shared service centers. Poland has been a very important place for U.S. shared service centres for many years. In 2017, a total of over 73,000 people worked in such centres.”

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