“There’s potential for development”: Polish businessmen discovering Belarus

“There’s potential for development”: Polish businessmen discovering Belarus

Relations with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are precious for Belarus, even though these countries are not so geographically and culturally close to us. The importance of relations with close countries that we have common past with goes without saying. However, sometimes there are some internal strives. Belarus is between Russia and Poland. Relations with Poland haven’t been very easy lately. However, nowadays, official representatives from Warsaw have become frequent guests in Minsk. The business sphere has revived. Polish businessmen have started to explore the Belarusian market. More than 200 businessmen came to Minsk this week. Some of them came here for the first time, some returned after a 20-year hiatus. The results of the negotiations will be seen in future projects. Yana Shipko has more.​​​​​​​

Leonard Sikora, trustee of a company:
There are so many sports facilities, stadiums, arenas in Minsk. We see real order here.

Pan Sikora was last in Minsk 20 years ago. He says now there's a big difference in comparison with that time.

Leonard Sikora, trustee of a company:
Minsk now and then does not compare. Very beautiful city. We drove through the city. What pleasant emotions in addition to a business trip! A beautiful monument. I saw something similar in Canada. In Montreal, it seems. A big difference, for the better. Everything has become more European. Maybe a little bit different. So clean, even Europe cannot compare, except for Norway.

Warsaw Stock Exchange, which Marta represents, is interested in cooperation with Belarus.

Marta Butkowska, head of marketing and public relations of the Warsaw Stock Exchange:
Everything is so beautiful, a lot of buildings are under construction, the roads are very good. I like what is happening in Belarus and appreciate the potential for development.

The sides are mulling the creation of a Belarusian-Polish IPO center. By placing shares on the stock exchange, a company is able to receive money for profitable development. Poland is our closest trading partner in the EU. Border countries must have common economic interests, after all. This was the leitmotif of the President's meeting with the Polish Deputy Prime Minister.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
We are interested in the establishment of joint ventures. If you have such a desire we will provide every support for the creation here of Polish enterprises or Belarusian-Polish joint ventures.

Mateusz Morawiecki, deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers, the Minister of Development and Finance of the Republic of Poland:
Trade and economic cooperation is a good basis for the development of cooperation in other areas. Poland is a border country helping the EU enter eastern markets, while Belarus is a border country for the members of the Eurasian Economic Union wishing to enter western markets.

200 Polish businessmen have come to Minsk this week. The joint forum is conducted alternately in Poland and then in Belarus. This one is the biggest in history. The package of proposals is the impressive. So this meeting will give impetus to cooperation in the years ahead.

Henrik Sedmok, head of an enterprise producing building materials:
We have built three large plants in Grodno, the total cost is 25-30 million euros. They produce not only cement, but also gypsum and bituminous materials. We are very pleased that our business is growing very well here.

There are lots of joint projects: from the construction of a wind park, a shopping complex to yogurt production in Grodno and a tennis center in Minsk. Belarus and Poland would like to reach a trade of $4 billion in the two years to come.

Kazimierz Zdunowski, chairman of the Polish-Belarusian Chamber of Commerce:
I see tremendous opportunities to work with Belarusians, because the population is highly educated, accurate. These are good people, which is very important. There is an corporation for export loan insurance. Statistics show that Belarus is their third biggest partner and first in terms of reliability.

This is Mieczyslaw. He wants to establish Belarus-Poland trade in both directions. Mieczyslaw says he could easily find a place for Belarusian marinades on the shelves of Polish supermarkets - he owns three himself.

Mieczyslaw, director of a company:
This is not politics. We are business and ordinary people. And we love Belarusians and Russians. We would like to meet, do business, that is, to have natural neighborly relations.