Poland and Canada: A dynamic and growing trade relationship

| September 30, 2013 | 0 Comments

 

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk visited Canada and met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in May 2012.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk visited Canada and met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in May 2012.

I note with great satisfaction that my term as the Ambassador of Poland to Canada has witnessed an intensification of co-operation between our countries.
The political dialogue blossoms, anchored in common democratic principles and respect for human rights. Perhaps more important, however, we observe much progress being made in the area of economic co-operation.
In part, we owe this to the positive state of the Polish economy — especially when compared to the grim state of the world economy. In 2009, Poland was the only country in the European Union to avoid the recession; two years later, we experienced a 4.3-percent GDP growth followed by an estimated 2.5-per cent growth in 2012. These results were made possible by such factors as our sound macroeconomic policy and sustainable public finance management.
We also ensured Poland’s attractiveness as a place to invest. The UNCTAD World Investment Report ranked our country sixth worldwide for attractiveness when it comes to foreign direct investment. The Financial Times placed us third globally for FDI in the processing sector, while the Hackett Group ranked Poland the third most attractive country in the world for financing, accounting and advisory centres. These are potent signals for global and Canadian investors alike.
A perfect expression of yet closer ties between our countries was an official visit by Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to Canada in May 2012. The visit’s  program was dominated by economic issues, including events such as a round table on co-operation in shale gas exploration, which was attended by top-ranked representatives of the oil and gas industry. During the visit, the prime ministers of Poland and Canada issued a statement on energy co-operation that will guide our future joint endeavours.
Shale gas is an issue of foremost importance, since it constitutes the key to Poland’s aspirations for increased energy security and reduced dependency on oil and gas imports. We are therefore most pleased to observe the involvement of Canadian oil and gas companies in Poland — we have welcomed, among others, Nexen and LNG Energy. Talks with other potential partners are in progress. We also treasure our co-operation with the Energy Resources Conservation Board of Alberta, which supports us with its renowned international experience in creating new legal frameworks to regulate the extraction of Polish shale gas.
Our co-operation reaches far beyond the oil and gas sector. Canada’s Bombardier Inc. and Pratt & Whitney Canada have been present in Poland for many years. Last year, Polish mining giant KGHM Polska Miedź purchased a $3-billion Canadian company — Quadra FNX Mining Ltd., making Polish investment in Canada much larger than Canadian investment in Poland.
The co-operation between our countries is facilitated by the Polish diaspora in Canada which, with more than one million members, has representatives in the highest levels of Canadian business circles.
Trade, however, remains the cornerstone of our mutual relations. In January 2010, when I assumed my post, the volume of our mutual trade amounted to almost $990 million. In 2012, estimates put it at more than $1.5 billion, a result even more impressive if we take into account the effects of the global economic slowdown. Key Polish exports to Canada include aircraft engines and their parts, various other aircraft and helicopter construction components, mink skins, furniture and medicine.
Polish imports from Canada total $383 million, consisting mainly of aviation-sector products such as aircraft, jet and turboprop engines, as well as zinc ore. In 2012, Poland signed a contract with Bombardier Aerospace for eight Q400 NextGen aircraft, with an option for 12 more.
Despite this impressive record, we are aware that the current level of trade falls short of our potential. For that reason, we look with great hope towards the successful conclusion of the ongoing EU-Canada CETA negotiations, which constitute an unparalleled chance for development of not just trade, but also wider economic co-operation. Poland will welcome this agreement with great enthusiasm.

Zenon Kosiniak-Kamysz was Poland’s ambassador to Canada until August 2013.

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Zenon Kosiniak-Kamysz was Poland’s ambassador to Canada until August 2013.

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