Krakow as the capital of Polish-French cooperation

09 December 2022
The first Polish-French Economic Forum is behind us. In the Wawel Castle in Krakow, over two hundred entrepreneurs and politicians gathered to participate in panels and workshops on the possibilities of strengthening European resilience through Polish-French cooperation. Key representatives of the world of politics and business from Poland and France discussed cybersecurity and joint development in renewable energy, hydrogen and nuclear energy sectors. Representatives of both countries met thanks to the Ministry of Development and Technology, the Polish Investment and Trade Agency and the Mouvement des enterprises de France (MEDEF).

The Polish-French Economic Forum

I am very glad that we managed to organize the Polish-French Economic Forum. France has become one of our leading economic partners. Since 2004, Poland’s trade turnover with France has increased more than 2.5 times. Trade data for the last three quarters indicate that trade turnover between our countries will exceed last year's record level of almost EUR 26 billion - said Waldemar Buda, Minister of Development and Technology.

The event was inaugurated with a speech by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. The panel opening the discussion was attended by Minister Waldemar Buda and Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and French Citizens Abroad Olivier Becht. While the summing up of the opening of the Forum was also presented by Piotr Dytko, Member of PAIH’s Management Board performing the function and duties of its Chairman, together with Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, President of the Association of French Entrepreneurs MEDEF. All speakers emphasized the importance of strengthening Polish-French economic relations for Europe's economic security.

Such a large presence of Polish and French entrepreneurs clearly shows the desire to strengthen cooperation between our countries. The main areas of our cooperation so far, are trade exchange including, above all, machinery and mechanical devices, various types, vehicles and equipment, plastics, cosmetics and foodstuffs. However, today's meeting is proof that we are also ready to act in other sectors. We see great opportunities for joint activities in the field of cybersecurity, nuclear energy or hydrogen economy - emphasized Piotr Dytko.

Three years of uncertainties and economic shake ups, related first to the pandemic and the resulting disruption to traditional supply chains are behind us, and now the ongoing brutal and unjustified war in Ukraine caused by Russia. The war has affected the entire world's economy and threatened the energy security of our region. This has clearly shown us, the European countries, how important it is to further strengthen European and transatlantic cooperation in the area of foreign policy and security policy as well as in the economic sphere. Together with France, we must work closely together to increase the competitiveness of the European Union's economy, the competitiveness of our national industries and the EU's long-term capacity to drive the digital and green transition. Europe can no longer be fully dependent on third countries. Therefore, the main topics of the Forum are green and digital transformation - pointed out the head of the Ministry of Development and Technology.

Also among those gathered at the Forum were representatives of leading Polish and French companies, research, government and local government institutions as well as public institutions supporting business. Partners of the event were also present - representatives of the Polish Embassy in Paris and the French in Warsaw as well as representatives of the Polish Chamber of Commerce and Industry in France and the Franco-Polish Chamber of Commerce in Poland.

In addition to the discussion in the two main thematic blocks, which were cybersecurity and digital policy and carbon neutrality and energy security, there was also among other topics, the topic of polish-French co-operation in the reconstruction of Ukraine. The event is also an opportunity to establish new business contacts as extensive networking is taking place during the Forum. A cooperation agreement was signed between PAIH and MEDEF. This concluded agreement is confirmation of the good cooperation between the two bodies so far and a facilitation for future joint ventures.

Polish-French trade cooperation

According to preliminary GUS data for the period from January to September 2022, France remained Poland’s 3rd largest trading partner in terms of Polish exports. The value of exports amounted to over EUR 14.2 billion. This is an increase of over 17% compared to the same period in 2021. In turn, imports from France amounted to EUR 7.8 billion (an increase of about 10%). In total, Polish-French trade in goods in the mentioned period amounted to almost EUR 22.1 billion (an increase of over 13%). Since joining the EU, Polish exports to France have increased by almost 350% (by more than 70% in the last 10 years) and trade turnover by nearly 50%.

The main exports are machinery and mechanical equipment and electronic equipment, vehicles and ships, plastics and foodstuffs. The main imports, in turn, are products of the chemical industry, machinery and mechanical devices and electronic equipment, vehicles and ships and plastics.

French investments in Poland are constantly growing. By the end of 2021 , investors from France invested a total of over EUR 20 billion, which accounted for over 8% of the total value of foreign capital invested in our country and placed France on the 4th place among the largest foreign investors, after the Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg.

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About the Polish Investment and Trade Agency

The Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH) is an advisory institution belonging to the Polish Development Fund (PFR) Group. This is the first point of contact for exporters and investors. It operates both in Poland and through its network of 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 entrepreneurs in choosing their optimal path of expansion abroad. It also supports the inflow of foreign direct investments to Poland and the implementation of Polish investments in the country. PAIH cooperates with the public sector and regional partners, offering, training, audit and promotion of investment properties, cooperation in the organization of business missions and communication support in the implementation of joint projects.