The XVI International Forum “Polish-Ukrainian Business Days” was successfully held on October 27, 2022, in the Polish capital – Warsaw! For the sixteenth time in the walls of SGH, the event brought together government officials, representatives of the public sector, entrepreneurs, and top experts in financial, banking, legal, agricultural, infrastructural and other spheres, despite all the difficulties caused by the war in Ukraine, with the aim of promoting the support of Ukrainian and Polish businesses in Ukraine in conditions of military aggression in order to improve trade and economic cooperation and establish business contacts in the Ukraine-Poland format.
During the 9 hours of the forum:
- 4 panel discussions were held;
- 34 speakers spoke;
- 170+ offline and 80+ online participants took part;
- a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between the Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH) and the Association of Ukrainian Business in Poland.
The event began with a welcome speech from the organizers of the forum, represented by the Chairman of the Board of the Association of Ukrainian Business in Poland, managing partner of the EUCON Legal Group, Yaroslav Romanchuk, and the Chairman of the Council of the Association of Ukrainian Business in Poland, director of the company “Plastics-Ukraine”, Ireneusz Derek, who noted the special importance of supporting the economic front for the functioning of other fronts during the war in Ukraine, the need an open dialogue at the governmental, entrepreneurial, diplomatic, public, and business levels with good neighbor Poland, which has been providing comprehensive support since the first days of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine. Moderators of the first two panel discussions of the event also emphasized that according to the indicators of trade exchange now and in the past years, trade and economic ties between Poland and Ukraine continue to strengthen and develop positively despite the complexity of the situation.
The first panel discussion “Challenges and prospects of trade and economic cooperation in the conditions of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine” began with the speech of Tomasz Salomon, Deputy Director of the Department of Trade and International Cooperation of the Ministry of Development and Technology of Poland, who analyzed the trade turnover between Poland and Ukraine over the past years and voiced his opinion a look at the prospects for the development of trade and economic relations.
Mr. Tomas noted the increase in the number of Ukrainian goods in Polish shops and Poland’s encouragement and assistance in the entry of Ukrainian goods to the EU markets. The speaker outlined the forms of business support from KUKE, raised the issue of investment insurance and preventive measures to prevent investment risks, and also noted the importance of promoting the integration of Ukrainian busbusinessesto the European market.
The Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Ukraine to the Republic of Poland, Vasyl Zvarych, for his part, emphasized that the economic front is very important and, in fact, Ukraine already has economic victories. In this context, economic partnership, cooperation of efforts and cooperation of the Ministries of Ukraine and Poland regarding strategic partnership and the future reconstruction of Ukraine are extremely important. “The border should unite us, not divide us,” – said Mr. Ambassador, adding that both the Polish and Ukrainian sides are aware of the problems related to the issue of logistics at the border in connection with the war, but both are interested in the fastest possible solutions to these problems, which are currently being worked on.
Secretary of the National Investment Council under the President of Ukraine, People’s Deputy of Ukraine Halyna Yanchenko spoke about the positive growth indicators of Polish investments in Ukraine in the pre-war period, the relocation of Ukrainian business to Poland, the prospect of Poland’s participation in rebuilding not only the infrastructure, but also the economy of Ukraine. Ms. Halyna expressed her confidence that this reconstruction project will become a large-scale and peculiar new “Marshal’s Plan” for Ukraine. The speaker did not miss the issue of creating a basis and prerequisites for future investments. In this context, it is important to plan ways and means of future reconstruction and discuss proposals, issues of investment insurance in connection with existing risks. Halyna Yanchenko assured that active work is underway on the legislative framework for the partnership between Ukraine and Poland, and reconstruction is impossible without investments at both the public, state, and private levels. The aspect of investing in the medical field is also important, in particular the financing of rehabilitation and prosthetics programs.
Member of the Board of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH) Zdzisław Sokal outlined the directions of PAIH’s activities aimed at supporting and helping Ukrainian businesses, in particular regarding functioning on the basis of and organizing free co-working spaces for Ukrainians and financing programs for Ukrainian relocated businesses. The speaker noted that it is extremely important to support businesses, in particular relocated ones, to improve the economic situation. Cooperation between Ukrainian and Polish businesses and the relocation of Ukrainian businesses to Poland, according to Mr. Zdzislav, help speed up Ukraine’s European integration. Zdzisław Sokal emphasized that there is a need to create a Polish-Ukrainian investment hub on the territory of Poland to create a solid foundation for future reconstruction.
The next speaker was the head of the Entrepreneurship Council under the President of Poland, rector of the Warsaw School of Economics, Piotr Wachowiak. He noted that Poland should become the main partner and support, a leader in helping Ukraine in the process of European integration, helping in the promotion of the country. Cooperation is necessary at all levels: at the state, business, military, at the level of organizations, etc. – a positive result is possible only in the synergy of efforts, so it is necessary to identify strengths and weaknesses in cooperation and analyze them. The speaker rightly noted that it is necessary to develop a strategy and diversify risks for business and investments, as well as the development, in particular, of the railway infrastructure.
Formats and methods of cooperation of organizations, the need to apply modern concepts for the reconstruction of a fundamentally new Ukraine and use the chance to make a leap in development, rebuild the state according to new principles, the issue of taxation of relocated businesses and temporarily displaced Ukrainians in Poland in the context of avoiding existing and possible barriers, new a cooperation project from Leviathan to build a dialogue with employers with the involvement of Ukrainian partners – these and other theses were developed during his speech by Andrzej Rudka, adviser to the Board, authorized for European affairs, project coordinator for Ukraine of the Leviathan Confederation.
The Chairman of the Board of the International Society of Polish Entrepreneurs in Ukraine, Piotr Ciarkowski, duringhis speech focused o,n issues of support from Polish organizations, existing problems on the Polish-Ukrainian border and ways to solve them, the need for cooperation in efforts to win Ukraine as soon as possible, long-term cooperation of Polish and Ukrainian organizations regarding strengthening Ukrainian-Polish business ties.
The panel discussion ended with the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH) and the Association of Ukrainian Business in Poland. On behalf of PAIH, the Memorandum was signed by Zdzisław Sokal, a member of the Board of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH), and Karol Kubica, head of the Foreign Trade Bureau in Kyiv, and by Yaroslav Romanchuk on behalf of AUBP. The memorandum established the conditions and ways of cooperation between organizations aimed at strengthening business relations between Poland and Ukraine, supporting business, promoting the development of the business environment, etc.
The “Business Ambassadors” diplomas for long-term support and promotion of the development of Polish-Ukrainian business relations were also presented to Ihor Baranetskyi and Karol Kubica, head of the economic affairs department of the Embassy of Ukraine in Poland.
The second panel discussion “Post-war reconstruction of Ukraine: opportunities and prospects for Polish companies in the implementation of infrastructure and construction projects” was started by moderators Yaroslav Romanchuk and Ireneusz Derek with statistical data on the current consequences of the destruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure and the damage caused as a result of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
During his speech, the member of the Seimas, the head of the Parliamentary Group for the Reconstruction of Ukraine, Marek Rutka, noted that Poland has significant experience in the direction of transformation of state power, so it is ready to help the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adapt Ukrainian legislation to EU standards by sharing its own experience. Ukraine will become a member of the EU in the near future, so the role of Poland should be directed to the role of a consultanttoo provide the most effective assistance in the integration process, which is especially important in the context of the future reconstruction of Ukraine according to European standards.
People’s deputy of Ukraine, head of the Coordination Council for solving problematic issues in the field of urban planning under the President of Ukraine, Olena Shulyak, highlighted several processes that take place in parallel. The first process is the prompt restoration of infrastructure despite constant shelling and hostilities, which takes place at the expense of reserve funds and international partners. The second process is the determination of the standards by which reconstruction after the war will be implemented: safety standards must be taken into account (the creation of bomb shelters, fortifications, etc.); energy efficiency standards, subject to the implementation of the experience of international partners, the implementation of changes in building materials standards, and the implementation of modern international standards. The third process is urban planning reform: digitalization of all processes, transfer of all construction services online, including the introduction of an automatic register and obt,aining permits for construction work.
Chairman of the Committee on State Power Organization, Local Self-Government, Regional Development and Urban Planning of the VRU Andriy Klochko, for his part, noted that according to the plan, the reconstruction of Ukraine should be implemented within 10 years. More than 850 projects should be implemented, for which 75 billion dollars should be allocated, while annual GDP growth should increase at the level of 7%. The speaker also outlined the content of the latest legislative changes that were implemented in the field of construction.
The head of the Foreign Trade Bureau in Kyiv of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH), Karol Kubica, emphasized that PAIH has been helping Polish investors enter the Ukrainian market for many years, organizing various working meetings for Polish businesses operating in Ukraine. “It is the synergy of public Polish institutions operating in Ukraine that gives businesses the tools to enter the Ukrainian market,” noted Mr. Karol. Today, PAIH helps Ukrainian businesses that have temporarily relocated to Poland, in particular with regard to starting and conducting their activities here, and organizes a large number of master classes for Ukrainian entrepreneurs in various cities of Poland.
PZPB Director of Development Strategy and PR Konrad Vyrvas, taking the floor, said that the reconstruction of Ukraine will take place according to a principle close to the European one. PZPB has 20 years of work experience, in particular in the direction of architectural, construction and te,chnical control, and is ready to help Ukraine in reconstruction, but for this it is necessary to solve certain practical problems and issues beforehand.
The Chairman of the Board of UNIBEP Leszek Golombiecki focused on the changes in the legislation of Ukraine, which are a significant step and will facilitate the functioning of construction companies that plan to enter the market of Ukraine. However, the speaker noted at the same time that there is still a lot of work ahead, in particular regarding the transformation of legislation in accordance with European standards. In his opinion, the most important needs in Ukraine are housing and infrastructure, but new technologies must also be taken into account during reconstruction, in particular modular construction – manufacturers of modular houses are ready to offer their services, making their contribution to reconstruction.
CEO of Well-Being ConTech (BK Budova) Mark Kestelboim rightly pointed out that the population of Ukraine needs not only the restoration ofhousingn, but also the return of comfort to the standard of living that the population had before the war. The Well-Being ConTech company owns a full-cycle production of prefabricated modular construction in Ukraine, which operates according to cheaper technology and requires fewer labor resources, so this kind of housing should become a priority during the country’s recovery. If investors are attracted during the year, with the help of such modules, it will be possible to rebuild up to 100 residential complexes with a height of up to 6 floors.
Mykhailo Sapon, the chief architect of the city of Irpin, presented the participants with a video that illustrated the extent of the destruction of Priirpin due to the Russian occupation. Mr. Mykhailo announced the list of actions that the local authorities have already taken to overcome the consequences of the destruction, and outlined plans. Thus, the speaker talked about the concept of implementing the reconstruction according to the comprehensive modern urban development program of the city, which is based on the pre-war accepted concept, with the involvement of architects from all over Ukraine and other countries of the world on a volunteer basis. For the implementation of this plan, which can potentially become a precedent for other cities of Ukraine, investments from international partners are extremely necessary, so the support of other countries is very important.
The last in this discussion was the speech of the lawyer Dąbrowska Poręcki Ignatjew Dominik Poręcki. The speaker spoke about the need for a systemic approach to reconstruction, creation of specialized agencies, reform of legislation, anti-monopoly policy, de-oligarchization process, fight against corruption and reform of the judiciary as a guarantee for investors to come to Ukraine. Equally important are the issues of settlement of migration issues for the stay of Ukrainians in Poland and Poles in Ukraine, as well as the application of complex and large-scale approaches to the reconstruction of Ukraine.
The third panel discussion “Is there a chance in Poland and Ukraine to avert the global food crisis thanks to closer cooperation in the field of agriculture and food?”, moderated by Bartosz Majewski – director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer of SGH in Warsaw, was lively and extremely productive.
The first to speak was the Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Mykola Solsky, who focused on the issues of rising prices for food and foodstuffs, loss-making activities of farmers, import substitution of Ukrainian crops that cannot be exported in full due to the war, poorer quality of this year’s crops, expensive logistics, the impact of the war on various industries, fertilizer shortages, changes in logistics chains, etc. The Minister voiced a disappointing prediction about the future rise in prices. In his opinion, the improvement of the railway connection to establish the transportation of goods and products by railway will contribute to the improvement of the logistics situation.
SGH vice-rector for development, Professor Roman Sobiecki, emphasized that, unfortunately, there is already a food crisis, but it is difficult to grasp its scale yet, and, in addition, speculations about rising prices are possible. The professor emphasized that the globalization of agricultural functions, the traand nsition to a regulated agricultural market with sensible regulation are necessary. The crisis may increase, but precisely because of the difficult conditions of functioning and sale of agricultural products. The speaker also talked about the institute of the market and food security, the involvement of practitioners from Ukraine and the need to discuss this topic also at the regional level.
Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Poland Krzysztof Czeczura, for his part, emphasized that Poland is the only country in the EU that provides state financial support to farmers for the purchase of fertilizers. Mr. Krzysztof also outlined a range of current problems, in particular: how to deliver products to their destination, stabilize the food situation despite all difficulties and military aggression, rebuild logistics corridors in the EU. The speaker noted that the EU is responsible for ensuring that the level of food production does not decrease and the matter does not lead to famine.
Ambassador on special assignments at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, acting Olha Trofimtseva, Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine (2018-2019), rightly noted that the food, financial, and energy crises are the problems that only worsened with the war. Food security, a significant increase in prices, which will only increase, are some of the most urgent problems. The fight against crisis phenomena, as Ms. Olga assured, consists of small steps that give big results: European integration steps, reconstruction of Ukraine as part of the EU, simplification of cross-border barriers, tightening of legislation, liberalization of marketsadjnd ustment of common agricultural policy in Europe.
The Vice-Marshal of the Lublin Voivodeship, Zbigniew Wojciechowski, spoke about the need to increase the capacity for grain transportation, the arrangement of product storage points near the borders, problems in the future, in particular potential famine, the need to form platforms for dialogue between representatives of Ukraine and Poland at the levels of government, self-government and business regarding the food and food industries to avoid the crisis.
As the deputy general director of the National Center for the Support of Rural Economy, Malgorzata Gosniowska-Kola, emphasized, cooperation between Ukraine and Poland must meet mutual needs, it must be ethical, help and support is needed for Ukraine not only in the agricultural sphere, but humanitarian aid must also be provided.
Fertilizer prices dependent on gas prices, a colossal increase in fertilizer prices, regulation of gas prices, state support, own production as a method of price regulation – the main issues discussed during the speech by the Deputy Chairman of the Board of Grupa Azoty S.A., Chairman of the Board of Grupa Azoty ZAK Filip Grzegorchyk.
Daria Didkovska, the CEO of the agricultural company “APK-RESURS” during her speech, focused on aspects of planning crop imports by Ukraine, problems related to the harvesting of corn and sunflower, complications of the work process due to constant shelling and interruptions in the supply of electricity. “Now, whoever owns logistics owns the market, because it is logistics costs that make up the lion’s share of total costs,” Ms. Daria outlined.
General Director of Agrimet Sp. z o. o. Mariola Czuryszkiewicz voiced the opinion that the food crisis is fast approaching, as production tools are needed. The speaker raised problematic issues regarding the loss of agricultural machinery, destruction as a result of shelling. destruction of fields, lack of grain for sowing,and ertilizers as relevant for Ukraine. Ms. Mariola assured that Poland has a huge experience of reconstruction, so it is necessary to create a synergy of Ukrainian and Polish efforts to avert the crisis.
The final chord of the XVI International Forum “Polish-Ukrainian Business Days” was one of the key panel discussions “Access to finance and financial instruments in Poland and the EU during the relocation of Ukrainian business to the West. Is there a chance to reinvest experience and resources in the economy of Ukraine in the future?”
Its moderator – attorney, partner of the EUCON Legal Group Andrii Romanchuk, directed the conversation in the direction of discussing finances and financial instruments for supporting businesses and enterprises in Poland, noted the needs of Ukrainian relocated businesses for such support, announced the statistics of international transfers to Ukraine (Poland is one of the first places) and outlined future funding prospects.
The First Deputy Head of the National Bank of Ukraine, Kateryna Rozhkova, outlined the vectors of the NBU’s current activities, spoke about financial instruments, the financial system, reserves in times of war, the readiness and state of the financial front, the National Bank’s preventive actions to stabilize and support the banking system and currency market, the state of the banking system systems and lending in the light of events, the decision to raise the discount rate, adopted in July, on financial assistance from international partners to maintain the volume of international reserves, and also voiced predictions about future inflation and plans for the recovery of Ukraine.
Director of the sales department of KUKE S.A. Elrzbeta Katszykowska presented the activities of KUKE as comprehensively as possible, spoke about the peculiarities of the relocation of Ukrainian enterprises to Poland and the possibility of support for this process from KUKE, as well as export support and insurance as part of KUKE’s activities.
Felix Koberski, during the speech, the expert of the Sales Department of Trade Finance of the Department of Banking Operations of BGK spoke about BGK and its activities, support for the development of Polish trade and Polish exports from BGK, types of support for Polish enterprises, emphasizing that it is particularly interesting for new business in Poland, for example for this relocated Ukrainian business itself, focused on the issue of cooperation with Ukrainian banks, the criteria of companies that can turn to BGK for support.
PEKAO S.A. export finance expert Dmytro Kushnerov focused on discussing export financing from commercial banks, the process of opening a bank account for a resident and non-resident enterprise, and the possibility of obtaining a loan for a company relocated from Ukraine.
The president of the Ukrainian Association of Payment Systems, the vice-president of the Association of Ukrainian Banks (AUB), Halyna Heilo concluded the discussion and the event with a speech on the financing system of Ukrainian business in Ukraine, statistics of the credit portfolio of banks before and after the war, changes in lending systems and programs, the operation of payment systems now, types of payment systems, the load of payment systems today.
The forum ended with a farewell speech with gratitude to all speakers, participants and partners of the event. The organizers emphasized that such dialogues and discussions are a guarantee of the synergy of efforts aimed at the future victory of Ukraine in the war on all fronts, and laying a solid foundation for cooperation and partnership between states and businesses for the fastest possible reconstruction of the country.
Special thanks are expressed:
- Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of Poland for patronage;
- special partner of the event – Grupa medialna DMNTR Dom i wnitrze Polska;
- information partners – MSPPU AgroPortal.ua, UNIC (Ukrainian Network of Integrity and Compliance), Diia.Business;
- organizers – Association of Ukrainian Business in Poland and EUCON Legal Group.
- co-organizers – PAIH and SGH.
Together to victory and to new meetings!