Panelists of webinar:
Minister, Counsellor at the Embassy
of the Republic of Belarus in the Republic of Poland
Topic: Belarusian-Polish economic cooperation and the cooperation dynamics.
Minister Counsellor, Deputy Head
of the Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Poland in
the Republic of Belarus
Topic: Polish business in Belarus - COVID and politics. Minsk perspective.
Jacek Michalak PhD.
Vice President of the Atlas Group,
Vice President of PBHP
Topic: Poland and Belarus
in contemporary Europe - Atlas’ decade-long experiences.
President the Supreme Coordination Council of the Republican Confederation of Entrepreneurship
of the Republic of Belarus,
Vice-president of PBIHP
Topic: Polish-Belarusian cooperation: opportunities, challenges and prospects.
A Member of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland, the Chairman of the Polish-Belarusian Parliamentary Group
Topic: Polish-Belarusian regional cooperation.
Deputy Director for Trade Fairs Department, Targi Kielce
Topic: Targi Kielce - the new role of a trade fair company as an integrator in the modern economy.
Selected issues concerning Polish-Belarusian economic cooperation
There have been significant positive changes in the relations between Poland and Belarus. The interest of Polish entrepreneurs is growing in the Belarusian market. We are gradually moving to the next phases of the development of economic cooperation, including the development of production and trade cooperation as well as direct investments in Belarus.
Currently, over 380 Polish enterprises or enterprises with Polish capital are actually operating in Belarus (over 490 are registered). Belarusian entrepreneurs are also increasingly interested in Polish economic space, the Polish economic model, and experiences in modernizing and restructuring the economy. Although the internationalization of the Belarusian economy is developing too slowly, an important change can be noted – the number of Belarusian enterprises or enterprises with Belarusian capital has increased from 16 to almost 60 in Poland.
The changes that are taking place in EU-Belarus relations are a joy. All sanctions have been lifted. In Belarus, the EU Representation is expanding, headed by His Excellency Dirk Schubel – Ambassador, Head of the EU Delegation in the Republic of Belarus. His Excellency is the patron of the emerging organization EBA in Belarus (European Business Association).
"Our 5 minutes" has come for Polish economic diplomacy, which we can use or miss. We have a chance and we can join the positivist trend of changes and development in Belarus, our historical neighbour. For this purpose, a thorough knowledge of the needs and possibilities of the Republic of Belarus as well as the possibilities and potential of EU support for Belarus is needed.
I would like to highlight the following areas and conditions without going into a political and historical analysis:
All-terrain and local Belarus need completion of the sewage system, construction of a sewage treatment plant and construction of an installation for the utilization of animal excrements. Poland has sufficiently modern and proven installations of local sewage treatment plants – it can build a powerful business with EU support from such a program. Poland also has modern biogas installations that can be used in Belarus, but two problems need to be solved in this area:
- the ecological effect will be the utilization of manure and animal dung while maintaining their fertilising values
- the economic effect will be the production of a methane mixture for sale on the market.
Belarus does not need electricity from agricultural biogas plants, because, after handing over the nuclear power plant in Zelva, it will have a significant surplus of electricity. Further conclusions are obvious. It is therefore necessary to build a model in which we will use EU support, build and sell agricultural biogas plants with EU funding, and Belarus will clean the catchment of the Bug, the Neman, the Daugava, Pripyat and Dnieper rivers. A person should look at the map (and calculate the economic effect).
Production and trade cooperation in agriculture and food economy.
Belarus needs the modernization of agricultural and food processing enterprises. An impulsive element is also necessary – the element that absorbs production through the market. Poland has created sufficient financial instruments for the development of this sector (loan for the importer through short, medium and long-term financial instruments of a Polish National Development Bank [BGK] with The Export Credit Insurance Corporation insurance [KUKE]) to handle this process and the BGK Export Expansion Fund. However, there is no institutional solution in the form of the Agricultural and Food Wholesale Market in Minsk (there were already unprofessional Polish trials in Żdanowicze near Minsk), which would play the role of a " lift-and-force pump", stimulating the development of the system and economic effect for the Polish agricultural sector and food economy. This a program can be built with the consent and support of the Polish Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and by the use of the experiences of the Agricultural and Food Wholesale Markets in Poland, e.g. RSRH Bronisze, Wielkopolska Gildia Rolno-Ogrodnicza, RSRH Elizówka, etc. Poland already has this experience – an Agricultural and Food Wholesale Market in Moldova was built with the help of the EU funds.
Production and trade cooperation in the construction sector and the production of building materials, including in particular finishing. There are three important processes taking place in Belarus:
- development of multi-storey construction in administrative centres (Minsk and large regional cities, caused not only by local housing needs but also by the surge of representatives of small and medium-sized businesses from the East – Russia, Kazakhstan, China (it is not necessary to bring children to kindergarten and school with protection in Belarus)
- development of single-family housing construction in agricultural estates by moving away from wooden "rooms" in favour of modern single-family houses,
- development of middle- and upper-class single-family housing construction in suburban estates,
It should be emphasized that Polish finishing materials, like luxury goods, are the object to smuggling at the borders, which clearly highlights the gap in this market.
Modernization of the energy sector in Belarus.
The Belarusian energy system is based on Russian technologies, it is old-fashioned and requires modernization. The energy construction sector, repairs and modernizations, purchases of consumables are related to the applied technologies (Russian). Polish production for the energy sector (see fairs and exhibitions: ENERGETAB in Bielsko Biała and ENERGETICS in Lublin) is modern, energy-saving and attractive for energy engineers from Belarus. However, materials, equipment and technologies are not purchased by Belarusian partners, because Poland for probable non-economic reasons do not cooperate with Belarus in the energy sector. Breaking these barriers and admitting Belarusian energy to the Polish energy mix would allow the Polish economy to participate in the modernization of the Belarusian energy sector (the customer must have something to sell and pay for). This is a problem that requires serious study, but it must not disappear from the workshop and field of view of economists.
Development of capital market institutions.
In Belarus, the existing structures are consistently developing, such as: public: Belarusian Currency and Fund Exchange, Belarusian Universal Commodity Exchange; private: department stores, brokerage houses, depository companies, etc. As there is no public trading in securities yet, the Polish-Belarusian IPO Center was established on the initiative of the Warsaw Stock Exchange, BGU Business Institute and the Polish-Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which conducts educational activities for entrepreneurs and business environment institutions in the field of the securities market. The importance of educational activity cannot be overestimated in view of the future development directions of the capital market in Belarus.
The text was compiled by: Kazimierz Zdunowski