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The Warsaw Voice » Other » October 29, 2008
Spain in Poland
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Ample Opportunities
October 29, 2008   
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Elżbieta Tyjan, a foreign trade consultant specializing in industry and raw materials, talks to Bożenna Osucha about business ties between Poland and Spain.

What were the first Polish-Spanish business deals that you handled?
The first deal I handled was in 1985 and it involved the sale of power generation systems for ships from Poland's PZL Wola plant in Warsaw to the Canary Islands. I also handled a contract for the printing of Polish-language monthly magazines at the COBHRI print shop in Madrid and the Artes Graficas de Toledo facility in Toledo.

Those were romantic times. We were pioneers as far as market trust was concerned. There were just a few Spanish companies in Poland and no more than a handful of Polish businesses in Spain. You could feel like a conqueror of new lands.

Today, the situation is excellent. The two countries know each other well, and trade is flourishing. This makes me very happy and I think there are many more business opportunities that can still be discovered.

How do you think Poland and Spain should join forces at a time of a global financial crisis?
I think Spanish and Polish businesses should strengthen their ties in at least four areas.

First, Polish and Spanish companies should try to expand their operations on third markets. Spanish companies have an excellent knowledge of South and Latin American countries and friendly relations with many Arabic countries. Polish businesses are familiar with Eastern European markets, including Ukraine and Russia, as well as those in Kazakhstan, Georgia and Mongolia. Working together in this area could be a springboard for entering these markets. There is always the problem of finding good business contacts in a new market. Maybe it would make sense to create a database of business opportunities available on third markets. This is not a very difficult task.

Second, local governments in Poland could take advantage of Spanish experience in the use of European Union funds. This option is already being developed by Polish-Spanish twinning programs, but I believe there are still ample opportunities at the regional level.

Third, the two countries should expand their joint business in developing technology, laboratory research and innovation.

Fourth, it is necessary to create more opportunities for young people from the two countries to work together. They are very dynamic and have a similar style of work. I think that building a platform for this group to work together would be very useful for their professional development, self-employment and for launching projects venturing beyond national borders. I'd gladly take part in a project offering young Polish and Spanish businesspeople the opportunity of reaching out to third markets. My experience could help in this area.
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