|Company:||Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Poland|
Poland is attracting a growing number of Italian businesspeople. They appreciate aids in business launch, but are struggling with insufficient workforce
Last year’s total trade between Poland and Italy exceeded EUR 20 billion in value. Polish exports increased by over 13 percent, while imports recorded a 6 percent growth year on year. Our mutual investments are promising as well, with more than 3,000 Italian companies, totalling EUR 20 billion in turnover, in addition to sole traders (e.g. restaurant owners). What Italians find especially appealing about Poland is the ease of setting up a business here. On the other hand, both small and large investors complain about the shortage of workforce.
“The commercial cooperation between Italy and Poland shows exceptional potential. We have a long history of economic relations, with many examples of successful cooperation, and a climate conducive to its further development. This in turn translates into figures as these go up every year, both in terms of bilateral trade and Italian investments in Poland. Poles have started investing in Italy too, although still on a fairly moderate scale. All in all, prospects are very promising,” said Elisabetta Caprino, Secretary General of the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Poland, in an interview with Newseria Biznes.
The data gathered by Statistics Poland (GUS) indicate that in 2017 the value of trade exchange between Poland and Italy reached a record level of more than PLN 20 bn. Polish exports enjoys a fast growth of 13.3 percent up to EUR 10 bn, a figure only slightly lower than that for imports (PLN 10.7 billion and an 6-percent increase year on year). Ranking in the top five, both export- and import-wise, Italy remains one of our largest trade partners. Poland is a key partner for Italy as well.
“Since early March, our survey has identified nearly 3 thousand companies with Italian capital in Poland, in addition to 900 sole traders such as restaurant owners, and we’re still gathering data. So the Italian business has developed quite well in Poland. Particularly standing out in this respect are the automotive, household appliance, and finance sectors,” Caprino stressed.
As reported by the Economic Research Centre of the Italian Chamber, there are more than 2.7 thousand Italian companies, with a workforce of 82 thousand, operating on the Polish market. The biggest Italian employer in Poland is the FCA Group (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), which exports abroad 70 percent of its products made here.
Italy is one of the largest foreign investors in our country. Most investments were attracted to the Mazowieckie (36%), Śląskie (18%), Dolnośląskie (10%) and Małopolskie (8%) provinces. The majority of companies operating here are those which represent the automotive (31%) and manufacturing (23%) industries and specialise in scientific and technical activities (10%).
“We are told by the companies affiliated with the Chamber that this cooperation runs smoothly. A frequent barrier, however, reported especially by manufacturers, is the shortage of workforce. Most of our manufacturing companies are based in Silesia and Lower Silesia, where this shortage is especially prominent. There's hardly any unemployment there, besides the 3 or 4 percent made of people who don’t want to or can't work,” the Secretary General said.
As at January 2018, unemployment was at 6.9 percent. Complaints about the unavailability of workforce and skilled labour are being voiced by more and more industries. That's why, investors might want to reach out to the East – Ukraine and Belarus.
Nevertheless, as stressed by Caprino, Poland remains an attractive business destination for Italians. Those who are just starting up appreciate the possibility of setting up a business really quickly. Those operating on a larger scale wish to take advantage of the tax incentives and other such benefits.
Poles have only recently entered the Italian market, so their investments are still few in number. But in the coming years, we can expect this area to grow exponentially. The Italian market is mainly selected by companies operating in transport, construction, trade and chemistry. One of them, quickly climbing up the market ladder, is Solaris, which has already delivered 850 buses to the local clients.
“Last year these investments totalled around EUR 85 m. Most notable brands include those from the automotive sector, Pesa and Solaris, as well as window manufacturers – Oknoplast (which took the sponsorship of a football team) and Fakro. These two sectors are now investing the most. But I think there will be more,” Elisabetta Caprino adds.
The trade volume between in Italy and Poland is on the rise. 2017 was a record year, as the turnover exceeded EUR 20 bn, with exports from Poland to Italy valued at more than EUR 10 bn.
Polish businesses have only recently entered the Italian market, so the investments are still moderate. Last year, they totalled around EUR 85 m. Most notable brands include those from the automotive sector, Pesa and Solaris, as well as window manufacturers – Oknoplast (which took the sponsorship of a football team) and Fakro. These two sectors are now investing the most.
As an Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Centro Studi, we are now conducting an extensive analysis of the Italian business in Poland. So far, we have identified nearly 3 thousand companies with an Italian capital and around 900 sole traders (e.g. restaurant owners), and we’re still gathering data. The Italian business has developed quite well in Poland. Particularly standing out in this respect are the automotive, household appliance, and finance sectors.
But our businesses and other actors, especially manufacturers, are struggling with a certain problem – the shortage of workforce. The majority of Italian manufacturing companies operate in Silesia and Lower Silesia – the two regions which have attracted many Italian investments, and ones where this problem is especially prominent.
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