PH, Poland eye enhanced trade, investment ties

The Philippines and Poland are seeking increased trade and investments considering there is still much room for improving the record high $722 million bilateral trade last year, especially as the two countries are poised to recover strongly post-pandemic.

The demographic and economic potential of the Philippines and Poland should generate greater cooperation. We really can do better. We want to diversify economic cooperation, especially in the Asia-Pacific area, Undersecretary Robert Tomanek of the Poland Ministry of Economic Development, Labour and Technology said in a webinar.

He said the Philippines is an important partner for Poland in the Asia-Pacific region.

Tomanek said Poland sees opportunities to further increase cooperation with the Philippines in three areas –green technologies, agri-food, and information technology-information and communications technology (IT-ICT).

“Poland has a number of companies with innovative and green urban technologies that I believe could be helpful in achieving sustainable urban development in the Philippines. When it comes to city logistics, we have the possibility of cooperation in the field of smart city technology and sustainable mobility,” he added.

Tomanek said the Philippines exports high quality IT software and hardware to Poland, one of the leaders in the fields of video games, computer software, and financial technology.

From the Philippine perspective, electronics and semiconductors, automotive, and information technology-business process management (BPM) are priority sectors for promotion to Europe based on complementation, said Althea Karen Antonio, Commercial Counsellor at Philippine Trade and Investment Center­Berlin.

Antonio said the country is home to about 500 semiconductor and electronics companies, and is a successful hub for the semiconductor and electronics manufacturing services.

We are happy to note that there are many European electronics companies operating in the country. Moreover, IC (integrated circuit) design is the next frontier for our electronics and semiconductor industry as we envision the country to be globally competitive electronics (hub) by 2030, she added.

In the IT-BPM sector, Antonio said that aside from leadership in voice services, the Philippines has developed other capabilities to service non-voice IT-BPM services such as in areas of finance, accounting, human resource IT software development, engineering services, and data analytics.

Aside from opportunities in industrial goods and service exports, there are also potentials in consumer goods trade such as fresh and processed foods. The Philippines is considered as a top global exporter of high value tropical fruits such as coconut, pineapple, banana, and mango and fish products such as canned tuna. There is also
a growing interest for Philippine cacao and chocolate as well as alcoholic beverages, she added.

Antonio said there are also areas of cooperation for Philippines and Poland particularly in the imports of raw materials that are necessary to produce finished goods not only for the domestic consumption but also for the export markets.

She cited some examples such as the supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients for the production of medicines, and milk and dairy products of which Poland is a winner.

“With the continued rollout of the government’s flagship infrastructure program, the construction industry is also open to cooperation in the areas of innovative and digital technologies as well as in promoting exports of construction and engineering-related
services,” she said.

Antonio said there are also good potentials in imports and exports on agricultural and processed food products and other consumer goods, as well as services that not only address the domestic demands of each other’s markets but also serve as inputs to production of export products such as in food processing, pharmaceutical industry, and construction.

“Finally, there is still much room for growth considering the level of consumer demand from respective markets and the supply chains that can be developed from complementary industries,” she added.

Roberto Amores, vice chair for Asia and ASEAN Affairs at the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), identified agriculture as a key sector for promotion.

Amores invited his Polish counterparts to explore agriculture export winners for joint ventures, investments, and market distribution of coconuts, bananas, processed mangoes and pineapples, cacao, and other high-value crops that have growing demand from the European Union, including Poland.

Rafal Owczarek, head of Polish Investment and Trade Agency, said the Philippines is a good market for fast-moving consumer goods such as cosmetics, dietary supplements, and pharmaceuticals.

“In terms of partnership opportunities, I have noticed that increase in the Philippine companies are asking about joint venture(s), they are asking about the knowledge and technology transfer. So, it’s not anymore purely (an) import-export distribution, it’s more of hey, let’s set up the factory together, let’s look at it in (the) long term. let’s have a joint venture…,” he added.

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