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The Warsaw Voice » National Voice » June 29, 2012
America in Poland
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United States’ Role in the Polish Economy
June 29, 2012   
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Henryka Bochniarz, president of the Polish Confederation of Private Employers Lewiatan, talks to the Voice’s Andrzej Ratajczyk.

What role does business with the United States play in the Polish economy?
The role of the United States in the Polish economy is much greater than suggested by statistics. Practically speaking, all of us, both businesses and households, use tens or even hundreds of American products on an everyday basis. These include foodstuffs, various kinds of devices, pharmaceuticals, self-adhesive labels and all kinds of intellectual property—music, films, internet resources and software. It doesn’t really matter whether these products have been made directly in the United States, by American companies operating in other countries, including Poland, or by foreign companies using U.S. technology and know-how.

When it comes to “hard” statistics, the situation in Poland is similar to that noted in many other countries. For over 20 years foreign direct investment has been the driving force of Polish-American economic relations. At the same time, the value of trade between the two countries is much lower than it could be given the quality of mutual relations and the existing potential.

A Polish-American economic summit is due to be held in June. It will be attended by Polish and American business people. What are your expectations ahead of this unprecedented event?
First and foremost, I expect that the summit will symbolically remind us about the economic presence of the United States in Poland. For several years Poland has been a member of the European Union and the Schengen Area, but the most important political, economic and cultural frame of reference for Poland is its being part of the Western world, symbolized by the Atlantic Alliance. Our community of values is something we should always keep in mind and respect. In terms of the economy, which is the focus of our summit, for the first time we are talking about supporting two-way trade and investment. Poland’s flourishing private sector is now mature enough to directly expand not only to other European countries, but also to the other side of the Atlantic. I hope that, thanks to our summit, it will be easier for businesses and business people from both countries to establish direct contacts and strengthen existing relations.

Which economic sectors offer the biggest potential for the development of Polish-American relations?
We tried to make sure that the topics chosen for discussion at the summit reflect the areas which, in our view, are the most promising and offer the biggest potential for development. These are mainly issues concerning energy, including shale gas, in the extraction of which American firms are definitely the global leaders, as well as nuclear energy and renewable energy sources.

One should also mention the knowledge-based economy in this context. In this area, with its talented young people and excellent universities, Poland is becoming an increasingly desirable partner for international cooperation.
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