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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » July 2, 2010
France in Poland
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Serving Up Savoir Faire
July 2, 2010   
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Monika Constant, director general of the French Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Poland (CCIFP), talks to Ewa Hancock.

What are the criteria for membership in the French Chamber of Industry and Commerce?
The French Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Poland is an association of employers which welcomes all companies that want to do business in Poland or France. Some 16 years ago a dozen or so companies from France were taking the first steps as investors in Poland. Today, the Chamber comprises over 330 French and Polish companies and the only criterion for joining is the desire to become a member and take advantage of opportunities which the Chamber presents to its members. We are open to French companies interested in the Polish market and Polish enterprises that want to expand in France or establish new business contacts in Poland.

What does the Chamber do to assist French investors?
The Chamber helps both French and Polish investors in different areas, offering help to international corporations as well as small and medium enterprises and even small family businesses. The Business Development Center seeks out trade partners, conducts market research and facilitates contacts between businesses in Poland and France. Companies which are only beginning to operate in Poland can look forward to consulting provided by our staff, who know the ins and outs of doing business in Poland and France. Our services like recruitment, offices to let and dedicated staff members assist companies as they enter a new market.

We also provide a range of services to companies which have been around in Poland for long time. Our training center draws on the experience of our members to hold numerous seminars and courses in business language. The Chamber also facilitates new business contacts, as meetings we organize are attended by managers from the largest French companies in Poland. Events like Business Rendez-Vous and Speed Business Meeting present participants with a unique opportunity to meet face to face. We also do our best to act as intermediaries between our members and local and central authorities in Poland, thus facilitating public-private partnership.

What are the major obstacles for investment in Poland?
I must say the obstacles are gradually getting fewer. We appreciate the efforts which the Polish government and local government have been undertaking to make doing business in Poland easier. Still, we realize that a lot remains to be done in some areas. The French Chamber of Industry and Commerce has appointed special task forces to work out proposals for changes that could benefit entrepreneurs. The proposals, contained in a document called the White Charter, come from our member companies which encounter obstacles in areas such as tax issues, including vague regulations and differing interpretations, adjustment of Polish law to EU directives, building regulations and the absence of zoning plans, which significantly hinders new projects, questions related to the labor market and a shortage of qualified staff. We will discuss all the problems and our proposals for how the situation could be remedied during the Economic Forum in Krynica in September. Like last year, we want to set up a French pavilion at the forum to demonstrate the long-lasting contribution of French investors to the growth of the Polish economy.
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