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The Warsaw Voice » National Voice » June 3, 2015
Italy in Poland
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Representing Italian Business in Poland
June 3, 2015   
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Piero Cannas, chairman of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Poland, talks to Ewa Hancock.

You have been chairman of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Poland for nearly two years. How has the chamber changed over this time?
I was appointed chairman of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in October 2013 with a very definite purpose: to increase the number of members, implement an appropriate organizational structure to support the development of the chamber, and secure accreditation for the chamber from the Italian government through the Italian Ministry of Economic Development. Today, almost two years after I was appointed, it is possible to say that all these objectives have been achieved: the number of member companies increased by over 50 percent compared with October 2013 even though the membership fee has increased by almost 80 percent on average in the last two years. This has made it possible to achieve the kind of financial independence that is needed to carry out large investment projects. In addition, we have moved from a structure with just one assistant to the management board, Anna Pankiewicz, to a structure with General Manager Elisabetta Caprino, Services Manager Stefano Zedde, who is responsible for services for members, and nine interns who work with the chamber on a permanent basis. In December, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development recognized the organizational and marketing efforts of our chamber, issuing a government decision that enabled the chamber to officially become part of the System of Italian Institutions Abroad. This honor, a first in the 18 years the chamber has been in operation, meant the chamber needed to be equipped with more appropriate tools. In March this year a new statute was approved and, for the first time, voting regulations were approved that clearly and unambiguously defined the ways of choosing the chamber board, favoring participation of members in similar programs targeted at the development and growth of the chamber.

What does the chamber do for the Italian community in Poland?
The Italian Chamber of Commerce provides services to members and to the Italian business community in Poland. The main aim of the services to members is to create business opportunities for them in Poland. The Italian Chamber of Commerce regularly organizes business mixers with members of bilateral chambers, Polish chambers and the Lewiatan Confederation, of which it is a member. The chamber also offers institutional support to members at their request to facilitate contacts with Polish public partners, including through the International Center for Mediation, of which our chamber is a co-founder together with the Belgian, British, French and Spanish chambers. Services for the Italian community include services for all those Italian businesses that are newcomers to Poland and need some basic information about the country.

Do Italian businesses have confidence in Poland?
Yes, the perception of Poland in Italy has changed radically in the last 18 to 24 months: from a country to which you would go to launch production, taking advantage of a number of economic benefits and financial support from EU funds, to a market with nearly 40 million inhabitants, a trendsetter for all of Central and Eastern Europe. This new awareness generated and will continue to generate a significant influx of Italian companies that see Poland as the basis for development and growth toward new European markets.
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