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The Warsaw Voice » National Voice » June 3, 2015
Italy in Poland
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Investment Without Barriers
June 3, 2015   
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Dr. Giuseppe Federico, director of the Italian Trade Agency (ITA), the trade promotion section of the Italian embassy in Warsaw, talks to Ewa Hancock.

What is the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) and what services does it offer in Poland?
We are the trade promotion section of the Italian embassy in Warsaw and seek to promote trade between Italy and Poland.

In general, goods marked as “made in Italy” appeal to consumers abroad because they are based on the reliability and skills of Italian entrepreneurs and on industrial safety in terms of production. In the case of consumer goods, a key factor is that we are a global leader in terms of design and lifestyle.

In 2014, the ITA organized more than 50 meetings between Italian and Polish companies in both Italy and Poland. We provided services to more than 1,300 Italian companies, helping them find commercial partners for their products. We also help Polish companies looking for contacts in Italy.

In the first five months of this year we noted an upward trend in our business. We helped 450 companies establish business contacts—especially thanks to the EXPO Milano 2015 trade fair, which began on May 1 and will last until Oct. 31.

Poland is a strategic market for Italy due to the good performance of its economy, its ability to attract foreign direct investment, access to EU funds, rapid modernization, and continuous development of infrastructure.

What’s the outlook for Italian-Polish trade relations?
The outlook is very good. Our trade relations are growing all the time. Italy has for many years been Poland’s fourth-largest commercial partner in terms of the value of Polish imports from Italy, which totaled 8.9 billion euros in 2014, rising by 7 percent over 2013. Imports from Italy represented 5.4 percent of the total value of Poland’s imports. As far as Polish exports to Italy are concerned, we have been in fifth place since 2014, with 7.3 billion euros, 10 percent more than 2013. Exports to Italy represented 4.5 percent of Poland’s total exports in 2014. The positive trade balance for Italy was 1.6 billion euros.

How big is Italian investment here, and what barriers do investors face in Poland?
Italy ranks ninth in terms of foreign direct investment in Poland, with 7.5 billion euros in 1990-2013.

When it comes to Poland’s attractiveness to foreign investors, a strong magnet are Poland’s 14 Special Economic Zones, created in 1994 and scheduled to operate until Dec. 31, 2026.

Italian companies in Poland are mainly active in sectors such as the automotive industry, mechanical engineering, metallurgy, pharmaceuticals, animal rearing, food and plastics processing. As for investment barriers, I wouldn’t say there are any. The fact that Poland is part of the European Union makes it easier to establish business ties. Italian investors find an efficient financial and banking system here that is well connected with what they have in Italy.
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