There could be even more American business in Poland

Companies with American capital have a positive impact not only on the Polish economy or labour market — they also invest in innovation, people, and corporate social responsibility. At present, they have one request above all – to have a stable law.

Publikacja: 08.09.2023 02:13

There could be even more American business in Poland

Foto: mat. pras.

SPONSORED BY MCDONALD’S POLSKA

There are currently 1,576 US-owned companies operating in Poland. They have invested USD 26 billion, equivalent to 4.1% of Poland’s GDP, and the value of their assets is estimated at nearly USD 59 billion. They created a total of 327,000 jobs, one in four of which were created after 2018.

– “McDonald’s has been present in Poland for more than 30 years. We employ over 31,000 people, work with 92 franchisees and thousands of Polish farms”, said Tomasz Rogacz, CEO of McDonald’s Poland, during a panel discussion on the “Impact of American investments on the Polish economy”, organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Poland – AmCham.

– “Between 2024 and 2026, we will invest additional PLN 2.5 billion in opening 120 new restaurants and remodelling the existing restaurants. We will create over 7,000 more jobs, and more than 13,000 across the supply chain. I could list even more figures, but the most important thing is that our investments are creating an ecosystem of added value, not just in economic and financial terms. It is also about transferring know-how, certain systems of Western thinking, and corporate principles to the Polish market, which have an impact on the development of innovation, corporate social responsibility, and sustainable development”, noted Tomasz Rogacz.

Mutual benefit

Radosław Kaskiewicz, president and managing director of 3M East Europe Region (3M is a manufacturing concern employing around 5,000 people in Poland), noted that the impact of American companies on the level of innovation of the Polish economy is very important.

– “We are investing heavily in automation, robotics, Industry 4.0, and the R&D part of our business to offer solutions and products with a high level of innovation. This is possible not only thanks to Poland’s fantastic human resources, scientific resources, and educated employees, but also thanks to the cooperation with our business partners”, said R. Kaskiewicz. As he went on, 3M is increasingly benefiting from the potential for innovation and high-quality offerings of Polish companies as suppliers. – “We set high standards, but it is mutually beneficial”, assessed R. Kaskiewicz.

The paradox of innovation

– “The positive impact of American companies on the Polish economy has several facets”, noted Rafał Ogrodnik, CFO and COO of Warner Bros. Discovery in Poland.

– This includes the aspect of stability and good business principles, engagement and cooperation with local suppliers and the local community, etc. In terms of innovation, on the other hand, we observe a paradox”, said R. Ogrodnik.

He pointed out that, on the one hand, Poland is lagging behind in the rankings in terms of innovation, while on the other hand, at the micro level, individual businesses, thanks to their well-educated employees, are able to develop solutions and technologies that are ahead of those in other countries. As an example, he cited the system of addressing advertisements on terrestrial television invented in Poland, which is unique in the world.

Investments in employees

– “Polish innovators develop knowledge that is used all over the world”, added Izabela Stanisławiszyn, head of promotions at Amazon Poland, referring to Amazon’s first investment in Poland, which is the purchase of the Polish company IVONA that created an innovative speech synthesiser, and which “turned into” Amazon’s famous voice assistant, Alexa.

– “Amazon invests in the development of research infrastructure, the development of talent and the competences of our employees”, stressed Izabela Stanisławiszyn.

Amazon has created 70,000 jobs in Poland and places a very strong emphasis on professional development opportunities for employees. This can be demonstrated by the special programme “Amazon for Poland”, including, among other things, EUR 8 000 for one person to use for training to improve qualifications and skills.

Changing geopolitics an opportunity for Poland

In turn, Maciej Michał Kropidłowski, Vice President of Citi Handlowy, described the development of a lesser-known investment by the American Citi in Poland — a shared services centre. – “We started with simple operations that to this day have been completely automated in practice. Poland, thanks to its well-educated people, has great potential in this area”, he emphasised.

According to him, among other things, this potential increases our chances of attracting new investors and improving our economic development prospects. – “We are witnessing a historic geopolitical shift. Globalisation is turning towards nearshoring and friendshoring, investing in places that are close in terms of geographical proximity and close in terms of shared values. Poland faces a great opportunity here to raise even more capital for development”, assessed M. Kropidłowski.

We want major investments

– “The new geopolitics following the pandemic and the war in Ukraine may indeed be an asset that we can exploit”, acknowledged Paweł Kurtasz, CEO of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency.

He noted that Poland is a very attractive market for foreign investment. After years of investment, Poland has managed to catch up in terms of infrastructure, transport, or energy; we have a labour pool with very high skills, and labour costs — although rising — are still competitive.

– “We are ready to accommodate major foreign investments and not just — as has been the case for the most part so far — co-investments”, said P. Kurtasz. – “In this respect, we want to compete with Western Europe, so that the main investments are located in Poland, and the accompanying investments are located in our eastern or western neighbours”, he accentuated.

Business requirements

According to the participants in the discussion, this is possible, although this does not mean that American business has no doubts when it comes to the conditions and environment for doing business in Poland.

At the top of the list of requirements prepared by AmCham is ensuring greater regulatory stability. As Rafal Ogrodnik said, the present problem is, among other things, the preparation and quality of the new regulations. As the panellists pointed out, new laws are often prepared without consultation with entrepreneurs, at an extremely fast pace and without adequate vacatio legis.

– “For 33 years, we have proven that it is worth investing in Poland as it is a stable and safe country. But the competition never sleeps”, noted Radosław Kaskiewicz. – “Potential new investors ask, for example, about the access to green energy in Poland. ESG issues, including the green transition, are extremely important to us — just as important as the issues of technological challenges in the labour market in terms of reskilling and upskilling, so that we don’t fall behind in terms of innovation because that would be difficult to catch up with in the future. But I am nevertheless full of optimism”, concluded R. Kaskiewicz.

SPONSORED BY MCDONALD’S POLSKA

SPONSORED BY MCDONALD’S POLSKA

There are currently 1,576 US-owned companies operating in Poland. They have invested USD 26 billion, equivalent to 4.1% of Poland’s GDP, and the value of their assets is estimated at nearly USD 59 billion. They created a total of 327,000 jobs, one in four of which were created after 2018.

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