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30.3.Warsaw (PAP) - a conference entitled "Poland's Roadshow in the UK", which promoted bilateral economic and business relations between Poland and the United Kingdom, was held in London on Friday, 31 March. The event was organised by Roadshow Polska in co-operation with the Publishing and Advertising Agency (AWR) "WPROST" and the Polish Confederation of Private Employers (PKPP) "Lewiatan". The conference was attended by senior management staff of companies from both countries, the representatives of financial institutions and government agencies.

In the opinion of the President of the British-Polish Chamber of Commerce, Martin Oxley, British companies are rather cautious in investing in Poland and its neighbouring countries. The Friday conference is to make it possible to break the barriers. The new Member States of the European Union are located in the heart of the continent and their position in trade between the East and the West is established. If one combines this with the aspect of high quality, efficient production in terms of price, the new countries turn out to be an ideal platform for production and distribution. The outsourcing of production is not the only possibility of investing in Poland. Other ones include retail trade, real estate, tourism or mergers and takeovers.

Poland's accession to the EU did not harm any sector of the Polish economy. The economy itself turned out to be capable of competing on the European market, radical reforms proved to be economically viable, and the market still offers potential for growth, high rate of capital return and development of companies, Polish and British businessmen were assuring the audience during the Friday Roadshow in London.

In the opinion of the head of the Committee for European Integration (UKIE), Jarosław Pietras, big opportunities for British and foreign capital are connected with the management of multi-billion EU funds allocated for Poland, in particular for the development of infrastructure.

According to the main economic advisor, Prof. Witold Orłowski of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Poland offers foreign investors a high return on invested capital. Its average rate of growth is twice as high as that in Spain and four times as high as that in Germany.

Among the weaknesses of the Polish market Prof. Orłowski pointed out, among others, to the inefficient public sector, the condition of public finance and the opinion that Poland is a corrupt state. He also mentioned the unstable political scene and unfinished privatisation. He explained that those phenomena occurred not only in Poland, but were common for the whole region.

According to the President of the Polish Confederation of Private Employers (PKPP) "Lewiatan", Henryka Bochniarz, Poland needs much more thorough system reforms, in particular as regards the labour market, the labour code and taxes. Currently, in her opinion, their pace is not satisfactory, and the reason for that is the lack of political will.

President of Kredyt Bank Ronnie Richardson sees development opportunities in the retail banking sector, consumer credit financing and mortgage loans. Big success on the Polish market has been that of Provident Poland, a company offering cash loans, which has operated on the Polish market since 1997. As early as last year, it contributed L 15 million worth of profit to its mother company, Provident Financial. Another successful company is Skandia, an insurance company, which was established in 1999 and has already gained as much as five percent of the Polish life insurance market.

BZ WBK, which is part of the Allied Irish Banks Group, agrees with the optimistic prospects for the domestic economy and is involved in promoting Poland among its customers on two main markets of that Group: the United Kingdom and Ireland as a place for making investments and conducting activities.

The Roadshow is a cycle of conferences aimed at the economic promotion of Poland in the countries of the European Union and the creation of a platform for establishing business contacts. We hope to contribute to the increase of interest in Poland among foreign investors, says Eva Krisztina Aboo, the General Manager of Roadshow Polska. The Friday conference in London is the fourth one in the "Roadshow" cycle. Its former editions have been held in Lisbon, Brussels and Frankfurt. `

Among those who took the conference under their wing were the President of the Republic of Poland, the Ministry of the Economy, the Polish Agency for Information and Foreign Investments, the Confederation of British Industry, the Association of Polish Cities and the British-Polish Chamber of Commerce.

¬ródło: PAIiIZ