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An interview with Tomasz Wroblewski
How do you assess the outlook for your economy?
There are some crucial issues which will shape the condition of our economy in the coming year. Firstly, the outlook for Europe over the next 12 months is fairly bleak. Given that Poland is so closely linked to the EU, it is likely this will impact our economy. Secondly, EU funds for 2007-2012 are running low.
Growth slid to just 2.2% in 2012, half the rate recorded in the previous 12 month period, due to slow domestic demand and the ongoing eurozone crisis. Growth is expected to drop to 1.4% this year before picking up again in 2014. The government deficit dropped from 5.0% in 2011 to 3.9% in 2012, still above the limit set by the Maastricht treaty but at a similar level to France and lower than Spain.
Your economy is currently ranked #8 in the Grant Thornton Emerging Markets index. Does this surprise you?
Poland is ranked as a top potential investment destination for FDI projects in Europe in most ratings. Its 38 million strong consumer market is one of the largest in Europe and its favourable location in the centre of Europe makes it easy to export goods across the continent to over 500 million consumers. If you add our healthy financial system, stable political situation and strong resistance to the global economic crisis then our position in the index seems realistic.
What are the top three strengths of your economy as a potential target for investors?
Our consumer market is very large and consists of a good proportion of highly educated workers. There is a clear institutional framework for private investment and, most importantly, Poland is also politically and economically stable.
What should business leaders be aware of when investing in your economy?
There are three main things that must be kept in mind while doing business in Poland: an ineffective commercial court system; inflexible labour code and red tape; as well as an inconvenient tax system. However, these risks can be successfully mitigated with the help of professionals and the benefits of operating and investing in Poland far outweigh the drawbacks.
What are your major plans for your firm over the next 12 months?
Our plan is always to improve and increase our capabilities year on year. In 2013/14 we aim to improve our business development capabilities, strengthen our digital position and develop industry specialisation. Also on the agenda is the identification of potential successful merger targets and post-merger integration to facilitate sustainable growth.
Any final thoughts?
If you are looking for a country which provides a framework of doing business similar to a developed economy, but with the characteristics and growth of an emerging one, choose Poland.
Tomasz Wroblewski is managing partner of Grant Thornton Frackowiak.
Read more in Poland: dynamism at the heart of Europe