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The Warsaw Voice » National Voice » June 30, 2011
France in Poland
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Business Success in Different Guises
June 30, 2011   
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Monika Constant, general manager of the French Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Poland (CCIFP), talks to Ewa Hancock.

What is the structure of the French Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Poland?

The French Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Poland is an organization of employers that brings together over 340 companies. A growing percentage of new members are enterprises that have not had anything to do with France so far, but want to establish relations with partners in France. The chamber is an independent organization working as part of the Union of French Chambers of Industry and Commerce Abroad. As members of that larger organization, we have been able to learn from the other 110 French chambers of commerce around the world and get in touch with companies in France. When you look at our members, you can see our chamber represents practically all sectors of the economy. Most of the companies deal with consulting, construction, legal services, finance and telecommunications, but I should also mention large distribution networks and the car, pharmaceutical and food sectors which, while not as numerous as the others, are major employers nonetheless.

France has for many years been a top investor in Poland. Has the economic crisis affected that status in any way?

As far as the cumulative value of foreign investment is concerned, the economic slowdown has not really altered the structure. France remains a leading investor, owing to the inflow of capital in the previous years and the growing interest in the Polish market. A total of 1.37 billion euros came to Poland from France in 2009, which was the second highest figure among foreign investors that year and almost three times the French investment in 2008. These figures clearly show that both foreign direct investment and trade between Poland and France have been on the rise steadily. Many French businesses which are already here in Poland never stop developing, building new facilities and modernizing old ones. Major investment is in store for the power engineering sector. Other fast-developing sectors include banking and shopping chains which have been opening new stores and launching new distribution channels, such as e-commerce.

Can you name companies which have been particularly successful in Poland?

I must say that a vast majority of French companies have been doing well or very well, as shown by the fact that brands such as TP, Peugeot, Auchan, EDF, BNP Paribas, Veolia, Warbud and many others have become fixtures on Poland’s economic landscape. Mind you, when you think of individual companies, success can mean different things. For some it is about financial results, for others it is brand recognition and still others are considered successful when they increase employment. A noteworthy example is the IT company Sii, which has opened branches in five Polish cities over the five years since it was established and almost doubled its revenues from year to year. This year, the number of engineers working for Sii will increase almost 100 percent compared to last year, reaching over 1,000.

Success can also mean innovative solutions in business. For example, Telekomunikacja Polska has over 400 engineers developing new technology, which will bring good results in the future. Other companies have been pursuing research and development as well, trying to introduce innovation on an everyday basis. In order to promote all this know-how, this year the French Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Poland will publish a guide to best practices in innovation followed in French companies.
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