June 29, 2012
Eric Stewart, President of the U.S.-Poland Business Council, talks to Ewa Hancock.
From the U.S. point of view, what are the prospects for increasing economic cooperation between Poland and the United States?
In my view, the prospects for increasing economic cooperation between Poland and the U.S. are endless. Poland is a shining star in Europe, supported by the fact that Poland is the only country in the EU or OECD which has had positive GDP growth over the past four years.
However, our bilateral relationship has a lot of room for improvement. While our trading relationship has tripled over the past 10 years, Poland ranks only 13th on the list of U.S. trading partners in Europe. This is not good enough. Poland should—at a minimum—be ranked in our top 5.
There are certainly sectors where the promise of collaboration between our two countries is most immediate. In the energy sector, Poland’s need for low-carbon energy pairs nicely with the fact that American companies have led the way in developing the most cutting-edge natural gas, nuclear, and renewable energy sources. And as Poland has shifted its focus to developing an innovation-based economy, many U.S. businesses are excited to cooperate with Polish partners on research and development in sectors such as biotechnology and aerospace. But, given the fact that Poland has demonstrated over the past three years that it is ready to be an economic leader in Europe, any U.S. business looking to expand its global reach should consider investing in Poland.
What can an organization such as yours do to help develop these relations?
Organizing events like the summit on June 20 is a great way of further strengthening the economic pillar of our relationship. Our first-ever summit was held in 2003 and the primary focus was resolving market access impediments to business.
This year’s summit will focus on finding ways to capitalize on the plethora of opportunities that exist today. Business associations like the U.S.-Poland Business Council, AmCham and Lewiatan play critical roles to ensure both our governments understand and are responsive to creating conditions that encourage job creation, economic growth and mutual prosperity. While Poland today remains one of our staunchest allies anywhere in the world, truly deepening our commercial and economic relationship, will ensure our special relationship is never broken.
The U.S.-Poland Business Council works to increase economic cooperation between the U.S. and Poland in two primary ways. First, the Council serves as a platform for U.S. companies to engage with both American and Polish government officials in dialogues about the current state of doing business in Poland. These discussions help to avoid misunderstandings that needlessly slow down investment and allow for collaborative resolutions to potential trade barriers with the input of all stakeholders. Second, as the President of the Council, I take every opportunity I am afforded to promote Poland and its friendly business environment here in the U.S. I’ve traveled all over the United States, including Georgia, Ohio, Texas, New York, California, Illinois and Washington to speak to American businesspeople about the plethora of opportunities for successful investments in Poland.