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The Warsaw Voice » Business » June 30, 2011
Annual Investment Meeting in Dubai
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Poland Gains Points in Gulf Region
June 30, 2011   
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The organizers of the Annual Investment Meeting in Dubai, which took place at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Center in May, have hailed the event a major success. The three-day meeting, held under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Trade of the United Arab Emirates, aimed to facilitate wider interaction between the two key driving forces in a global economy—prospective investors and decision-makers from developed and emerging markets.

During the event, visitors from Poland showed a great deal of interest in working with key players in the economies of the Persian Gulf region, making sure they were visible at the Annual Investment Meeting. The Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIiIZ) came to the Annual Investment Meeting to pursue the objectives of the Development Program for Eastern Poland. As part of the project, it brought a large delegation along, complete with what proved to be the largest stand at the event. Enterprises and local governments from Poland’s eastern regions exhibited their products and services at the PAIiIZ stand, which was hosted by Bożena Czaja, the vice-president of the agency.

Poland provided one of the biggest attractions on display at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Center, a collector’s Leopard car hand-made at a small car factory in the town of Mielec. The car drew a lot of interest from investors in Dubai. There were also many Polish delicacies on offer, including mead, fruit preserves and a delicious and unique Polish sękacz cake, prepared according to a somewhat mysterious recipe dating back centuries. It proved a hit.

Polish businesspeople seeking new contacts at the PAIiIZ stand included producers of ultra-light aircraft, members of special economic zones and officials from several Polish cities.

Many visitors also came to the large and well-laid-out stand of the Military Property Agency, which had a number of attractive plots of land in Poland for sale. The host of the stand, Military Property Agency president Krzysztof Michalski, was glad to answer a range of questions about individual plots and investment conditions for potential buyers.

Poland has not, unfortunately, ranked among the main economic partners for the United Arab Emirates so far. Polish direct investment in the Emirates is estimated at a total of $150 million and the figure is even lower for the Emirates’ direct investment in Poland. As far as the trade balance is concerned, it is positive for Poland, with exports worth around $245 million last year and imports worth less than $70 million. Poland mainly exports industrial products to the United Arab Emirates and imports aluminum and plastic products. The potential is clearly there and the two countries have a lot to offer to each other.

The Polish community in the Emirates, based mostly in Dubai, is the largest concentration of Polish people in the Persian Gulf region. Most of the 1,500 or so Poles are specialists, including engineers, architects, doctors and medical staff. What has drawn them to the Emirates is the buoyant economy and attractive employment conditions.

There is more to Dubai than a bold and consistent vision of a new economy, if not a new society. Dubai is also a place where cultures meet and work together creatively. The native population of the Emirates is a minority in Dubai, but they have built a welcoming environment for newcomers from around the world, no matter whether these are engineers and architects or construction workers, taxi drivers and people who work in hotels and restaurants…

The Polish authorities want to explore the potential in trade links with the United Arab Emirates to a greater extent than so far. The Annual Investment Meeting clearly showed that opportunities for such mutually beneficial and rapidly developing projects are multiplying. After the recession of 2008 and 2009, Dubai-based investors want to diversify investment, and are keener to consider investment abroad. They also want to diversify the directions in which the Emirates’ economy develops.

Officials from PAIiIZ and the Military Property Agency agree that the visit to Dubai has led to an exceptional number of promising contacts and talks. “Still while in the United Arab Emirates, our entrepreneurs were approached with business proposals and the Agency received lots of questions about investment opportunities in Poland,” said Agnieszka Wojnarowska, a PAIiIZ director. “As it carries out the Economic Promotion Program for Eastern Poland, the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency is sure to maintain the presence of Eastern Poland in the countries of the Persian Gulf.”

Zbigniew Sergiusz Prokopczyk, director at the Military Property Agency, said that contacts established in Dubai would result in orders. “Of course, we will not know exactly what gets sold thanks to this event until the end of this year,” he said. He believes that next year’s meeting in Dubai is an event not to be missed. That view is shared by Anna Zaniewicz-Klimiuk from the Allnet Sp. z o.o. confectionery company, which specializes in the aforementioned tasty sękacz cake. As a result of the visit to the Annual investment Meeting, Allnet is in talks with several significant business partners.

Juliusz Kłosowski
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