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24 November 2021

The Polish-Macedonian Economic Forum

On Friday, November 19, the Polish-Macedonian Economic Forum was held in Skopje. The event, organized by the Polish Investment and Trade Agency, was a platform for talks for Polish and Macedonian entrepreneurs and business support institutions. The forum was the main economic part of President Andrzej Duda's official visit to North Macedonia.

  • The Presidents of both Poland and North Macedonia on Friday, November 19, opened the Polish-Macedonian Economic Forum organized by PAIH.

  • The event was attended by representatives of central and local government institutions and numerous business representatives from both countries. In addition to the official part, networking meetings between companies of both countries were an important part of the event.

  • During the Economic Forum, the Polish Investment and Trade Agency signed a memorandum of cooperation with Invest in North Macedonia.

The Polish-Macedonian Economic Forum

Over 100 participants representing Polish and Macedonian circles were officially welcomed by President Andrzej Duda and President Stevo Pendarovski at the Polish-Macedonian Economic Forum. Poland’s President, opening the meeting, said:

I am convinced that our meeting today proves the importance of the economic component in Polish-Macedonian relations. I also sincerely hope that it will provide an additional impulse for the further development of business relations between our countries.

An important point of the event was the signing by the Chairman of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency, Krzysztof Drynda and the director of Invest in North Macedonia, Dejan Pavleski, a memorandum on cooperation for the development of economic relations between both countries. The signing of the document met with an enthusiastic response from the audience. Then, during the official part of the meeting, the Chairmen of both agencies addressed the participants:

The Polish Investment and Trade Agency supports Polish exporters and investors in many countries around the world. Together with our Macedonian partners from Invest Macedonia, we are ready to provide such support also in this country. I believe that our economies have a lot to offer each other, and most importantly, the mutual exchange of knowledge and experience will have a stimulating effect on them - said PAIH’s Chairman Krzysztof Drynda after signing the memorandum.

In turn, Dejan Pavleski, the director of Invest in North Macedonia, said during his speech:

The memorandum we signed with the Polish Investment and Trade Agency is the first step in strengthening cooperation to increase mutual investments and sustainable trade. Poland, with a total trade value of EUR 300 million, is our 14th best trade partner. As Macedonians, we are proud of our excellent wine and delicious food products and believe that they can find a strong position on the Polish market. Excellent relations between our two countries and friendly relations between Macedonians and Poles must be used to intensify cooperation between our business communities, taking them to a higher level.

After the speeches of the heads of the agencies and the presentation of support tools offered by the Polish Investment and Trade Agency and Invest in North Macedonia, the most important point of the event was reached: business talks between the gathered entrepreneurs.

A not obvious direction

North Macedonia is not one of the most obvious directions of economic expansion chosen by Polish companies. Therefore, the organization of the bilateral Economic Forum was a real challenge. Polish companies had to be convinced of the advantages offered by the Macedonian market, and numerous Macedonian companies had to be convinced that Poland represented the highest European quality in its products and services.

North Macedonia is still a little-known market for Polish entrepreneurs. The country, located in the heart of the Balkans, is not only a good place to start wider, regional economic expansion, but most of all it is a good market to test export potential. Observing local demand, we see great opportunities here for companies from the textile, food and IT / ICT industries. Logistics and energy companies should also take a closer look at Macedonian potential. Large infrastructure projects carried out by the North Macedonian government are not without significance here. The Polish-Macedonian Economic Forum has opened up new opportunities for cooperation for Polish business, and what is especially important on southern markets, establishing direct relations with Macedonian entities and companies - commented Krzysztof Przyłucki, head of PAIH’s Foreign Trade Office.

Currently, the trade turnover between Poland and Macedonia amounts to nearly EUR 397 million (data for 2020) - thus North Macedonia is in 75th place on the list of Poland's economic partners. The dominant products exported to Macedonia include textiles (6.4%), meat, poultry and offal (5.6%), air-conditioning equipment (3.3%), chocolate (2.4%), processed food (2.1%), car parts and accessories (1.9%).

As PAIH’s Chairman Krzysztof Drynda said during the Forum, mutual economic exchange is gradually growing, even despite the covid19 pandemic. President Andrzej Duda expressed himself in a similar way, noting that despite the current growth, mutual trade may be even higher.

Polish-Macedonian economic relations are gradually developing, and institutional support for exports may turn out to be an additional motor for the expected growth. This is best evidenced by the fact that the organization of the Polish-Macedonian Economic Forum was not the first activity undertaken in Macedonia by the Polish Investment and Trade Agency. Already in 2019, when Poland hosted the Western Balkans Summit, PAIH established a number of contacts which were important and strategic from the point of view of Polish entrepreneurs, which can help to facilitate functioning on the local market. The meetings during the Polish-Macedonian Economic Forum were therefore another step in strengthening mutual relations. The signing of the memorandum of cooperation between PAIH and Invest in North Macedonia was a symbolic culmination of the activities carried out so far and the formalization of cooperation for the future.

The Forum was officially held on November 19, but its preparation, and thus establishing useful contacts for Polish business, took much longer. What we saw in Skopje was, on the one hand, a summing up of certain activities undertaken by PAIH, and at the same time the first, very important step for Polish companies. In fact business talks began before the Forum began. What makes us most happy is, above all, the courage and readiness of Polish companies to undertake pro-export activities - commented Katarzyna Reda from PAIH’s Export Center.

Most important is the success of companies

The beneficiaries of PAIH's support are mainly companies that started talks with potential business partners during the Polish-Macedonian Economic Forum. We hope that soon we will see the first results in the form of contracts and agreements. However, success always takes time and preparation.

The Economic Forum was addressed to both companies active on the Macedonian market and those that are just considering starting their expansion in that diretion.

RAFAKO has been present on the Balkan market for several dozen years. The Western Balkans, including North Macedonia, are a natural export destination for us. Our goal is to actively participate in the transformation of the Macedonian energy sector. We have technology that can support Macedonia and other countries in the region in the process of decarbonising their economy. Competences, experience and well-established relationships constitute a good basis for increasing commercial activity. But acquiring new contracts depends not only on proven technology. Professional support from the State is needed, which is why business cooperation with development institutions is so important. The Polish Investment and Trade Agency provided specific support in establishing business contacts, said the Chairman of RAFAKO Innovation, Justyna Mosoń.

Finding a reliable local partner is always one of the most important challenges faced by entrepreneurs starting their business in a new market. Hence PAIH’s great emphasis on networking activities enabling direct contact between Polish and Macedonian companies.

Thanks to PAIH’s invitation, we once again had the opportunity to participate in a wonderful event where we could present an innovative Polish electric bus to the promising market of North Macedonia. With tangible support from PAIH, we had the opportunity to meet representatives of the authorities of the capital city of Skopje responsible for the organization of public transport, as well as a wide range of other potential customers and new business partners. We are convinced that these meetings will result in establishing new business relations and the presence of Polish products, including ARP e-Vehicles buses, in this developing market - said Mariusz Wdowczyk, Chairman of ARP e-vehicels.

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About the Polish Investment and Trade Agency

The Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH) is an advisory institution operating in cooperation with the Polish Development Fund Group (PFR) under the leadership of the Ministry of Development and Technology. PAIH is the first point of contact for exporters and investors. It operates both in Poland and through a network of its offices around the world. It strengthens the recognition of Polish brands on international markets, promotes domestic products and services as well as technological solutions made in Poland. The agency helps companies choose their optimal expansion path abroad. It also supports the inflow of direct foreign investments to Poland and the implementation of Polish investments in the country. PAIH cooperates with the public sector and regional partners, offering, among other things: training, audit and promotion of investment properties, cooperation in the organization of business missions and communication support in the implementation of joint projects.

Polish Investment and Trade Agency

Krucza St. 50

00-025 Warsaw

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