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The Warsaw Voice » Business » April 30, 2010
World Expo 2010 in Shanghai
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Projecting a Polished Image
April 30, 2010   
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Bożena Lublińska-Kasprzak, President of the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP), talks to Andrzej Ratajczyk.

Under a contract with the Economy Ministry, the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development is coordinating Poland’s preparations for the World Expo 2010 exhibition in Shanghai, China. What are PARP’s tasks as part of this project?
To begin with, the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development was in charge of building the Polish Pavilion for the event, complete with all the furnishings. The project has been completed as scheduled, despite considerable financial limitations. The agency has also developed the entire program of Poland’s participation in World Expo 2010, including economic and cultural presentations and promotional activities for Polish regions and cities.

At the same time, preparations for Expo 2010 have provided an opportunity to send a number of business missions to China, aimed at promoting Polish exports and the Polish market among potential investors. We started to extensively promote the Polish economy back in April last year. Since then, we have joined forces with the Department of Trade and Investment Promotion of the Polish Consulate General in Shanghai to organize six business missions in China involving entrepreneurs operating in environmental protection, the food industry, the pharmaceutical and cosmetics sectors, mining, and the maritime sector. A total of 46 Polish companies took part in 414 business-to-business meetings with Chinese enterprises. The effects of the meetings are now visible and I am confident that in the future, they will stimulate further contacts between Polish and Chinese enterprises.

We have also contributed to the promotion of Polish science by helping Polish universities take part in a prestigious education fair that took place in Beijing in October last year.

Working to promote modern Polish design, last December we held an exhibition in Shanghai entitled Polish Design. The exhibition, which featured works by Polish designers and was accompanied by business seminars, was very popular with visitors as well as trade partners in China.

The World Expo 2010 in Shanghai is widely expected to be the largest and most spectacular event of its kind in history. What hopes and expectations does Poland have ahead of the event? What does the Polish presentation in Shanghai aim to achieve?
The history of the event dates back almost 160 years, and indeed this year’s Expo, which is due to start in May in Shanghai, China, will be the world’s largest promotional and media event in 2010. The organizers expect that the event will attract 70 million visitors as well as exhibitors from almost 200 countries and 50 international institutions. The event provides Poland with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to showcase itself as a rapidly changing country and an economic success story. Poland will be shown as a country that is developing fast and remains open to innovation. There will not be a second such opportunity in many years to come. Poland will highlight its contribution to European history through splendid historic buildings and treasures of culture. We will invite Expo 2010 visitors to come and visit Poland, which is the home country of Frederic Chopin, a Romantic composer extremely popular in China.

One of the main goals of our participation in Expo 2010 is to intensify economic relations between Poland and China. An extensive economic agenda has been prepared to stimulate the interest of Chinese investors in the Polish market and exports. The main aim is to show Chinese investors that Poland offers great opportunities as a member of the OECD, the EU and other organizations, in addition to being a safe, attractive and stable market to develop mutual business relations. By organizing business missions, we will promote modern Polish technology in China, most notably technology related to ecology and environmental protection, as this is highly valued and increasingly popular around the world.

Another important entry on the country’s promotional agenda is Polish culture, including the Year of Chopin which is being celebrated this year. We are well aware of the enormous popularity of the great Polish composer and his music in China and therefore, works by Chopin will be played a lot during the six months of Expo 2010. The promotion of culture will be a major component of regional promotion through which we will demonstrate the cultural wealth and diversity of Poland.

We will show Poland as an interesting country that is well worth a visit. Poland will come across as a beautiful country with a host of tourist attractions. The Polish mountains, lakes and the Baltic coast are some of the most beautiful sites in Europe just waiting to be discovered by foreign visitors. We will also show that Poland is a land of kindhearted and friendly people who smile a lot and encourage tourists to visit and discover their beautiful country.

The construction of the Polish Pavilion for Expo 2010 has been completed. What is the general perception of the building’s original design, which has been inspired by folk art motifs?
Poland was one of the first Expo 2010 participants to decide to build a pavilion of its own. The building was designed by young and talented Polish architects who as far as we know were the youngest architects to design a national pavilion for the World Expo in Shanghai.

The project was completed in early February this year. I am happy and proud to say that the design of the Polish Pavilion is the first big success of Poland in Shanghai. Photographs of the building can be seen all over Shanghai and the pavilion has enjoyed unabated popularity among the media and Shanghai residents. I am convinced that this spectacular success will result in high numbers of visitors over the six Expo months.

The pavilion is a major sign marking our presence at Expo. It will make Poland stand out visually, becoming an instantly recognizable cultural trademark of Poland. The shape of the Polish Pavilion alludes to the folk paper cut- outs that inspired it. The style we adopted for the pavilion makes a perfect match with Chinese esthetics. Designed using traditional folk motifs, the pavilion also reflects modern thinking in Polish architecture. During the event, it will host a number of economic, cultural and artistic events.

How does the Polish exhibition relate to the key motto of Expo 2010, “Better city, better life?”
We refer to this motto through our slogan “Poland is smiling.” The main idea behind the Polish presentation is that the country can be described as modern, European and friendly.

The sub-theme of the presentation is Reorganizing the Urban Community. The idea is that it is people that make up countries and cities and build their power and value. As a modern, European nation, Poland will be shown from as a friendly country inhabited by smiling and welcoming people. Although we all like to admire historic architecture, modern buildings and technology, there are always people behind such projects. There is human creativity, courage and high spirits. It is human beings that fill cities with life, ideals, art and innovation by pursuing their inherent creative powers.

Will Polish businesses mark their presence more prominently than usual in Shanghai and other regions of China during World Expo 2010?
Economic issues will prevail as far as Poland’s presence in Shanghai is concerned. During the event, the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development and the Trade and Investment Promotion Department of the Polish Consulate General in Shanghai will hold two business missions, one concerned with environmental protection trade and the other with the maritime sector. Moreover, a series of “Round Table” seminars will take place at the Polish Pavilion, including a Round Table for Business Incubators and Technology Parks, a Round Table for Tourism, and a Round Table for Environmental Protection. On May 1-31 at the Pavilion, we will hold an exhibition entitled Added Value—World Design From Poland, featuring the latest trends in Polish industrial design.

The cities of Cracow, Lublin and Kielce and the provinces of Lubuskie, Silesia, and Pomerania will be among the Polish cities and regions that will showcase their economic potential in Shanghai. Officials from these cities and regions, including mayors and province heads, accompanied by entrepreneurs, will visit Shanghai and nearby cities to meet with Chinese businesspeople and speak about business opportunities in the Polish regions as well as those available in individual sectors of the Polish economy. They will get to find out more about the ways of doing business with China. Five Polish provinces will be also promoted as part of a program called Eastern Poland, prepared by the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIiIZ).
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