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The Warsaw Voice » National Voice » November 25, 2011
Britain in Poland
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The UK Is Serious About Poland
November 25, 2011   
Article's tools:

- Minister makes strong case for increasing British-Polish trade at major lecture
- Outlines measures to increase number of UK businesses in Poland and plans to increase Polish investment in the UK
- Meets with government officials and businesses during two-day trip
A November visit by Britain’s Trade and Investment Minister to Warsaw underlined the importance of Poland to the UK.

Lord Green’s European visit took him to Dusseldorf for a day and then to Warsaw for a two-day series of meetings including with Polish ministers. He met Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski, visited the Polish Olympic Center and the Copernicus Science Center, attended business events, and gave a lecture at the Warsaw School of Economics.

“Lord Green’s November visit really came at an important time,” said UKTI Country Head, Martin Oxley. “UKTI are looking again at how to drive trade and investment, and Lord Green was here to spread the message about British businesses’ potential in the market and regionally.”

Speaking to an invited audience at the Warsaw School of Economics, Lord Green made a strong case for using trade and investment as a driver for growth, outlining its central importance to the UK’s economy. He also set out a strong case for increasing UK trade with Poland. “Polish exports of goods to the UK have increased tenfold from £570 million in 1996 to just over £6 billion last year. In fact, Poland exports more to the UK than to Russia or Brazil, and the UK imports more from Poland than from any BRIC country excluding China,” he said. “However encouraging this might appear, the reality is that the UK makes up just 3.7 percent of Poland’s total imports. I see this as a clear imperative to improve our presence in your market.”

During the speech, Lord Green also spoke about Poland’s importance as an economy in the region, highlighting Poland’s large share of Central and Eastern Europe’s GDP, strong growth performance and the fact that British companies tended to use Poland as a springboard for entering the regional market more widely.

“What we heard was a compelling case for British businesses to look at this market. But we know that companies with limited funds for expansion are going to need all the help they can get to do this,” said Oxley, “which is why Lord Green set out the enhanced package of support UKTI will be offering for business of all sizes to get them to market and succeed here.”

The measures Lord Green set out included a program targeted at informing companies better about the opportunities in Poland and the so-called Emerging Europe region, targeting opportunities for British businesses in supply chains by accessing high-value opportunities and outlining the specific opportunities for British business.

“Advanced manufacturing; infrastructure; services; retail; finance; energy; security and defense are all areas in which the UK’s world-class expertise and companies should be more visible,” Lord Green said. He also spoke about a research program that would identify major investment opportunities for Polish companies in the UK.

“I think what we heard from Lord Green was a convincing long-term case for improving the UK’s trade profile with Poland, given that Poland’s trade deficit with the UK is the largest of all its partners,” Oxley said. “During the visit he also made it clear that UKTI will be doing a lot more to target opportunities for businesses, getting smarter about what we do and working with business multipliers to target companies more effectively. The fact the UKTI minister made this speech in Poland is also telling, as the attractions of the Polish market for UK companies are only going to grow. UKTI’s job is to help British business enjoy sustainable long-term success in Poland.”

Martin Oxley, Country Head, UKTI

Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint is Minister of State for Trade and Investment. He is taking up his appointment after a 28-year career with HSBC which culminated in his appointment as Group Chairman of HSBC Holdings in 2006.

He has been chairman of the British Bankers’ Association and Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Business Council for Britain. He has also served as a trustee of The British Museum and an honorary trustee of Peking University.
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