Many of you will have just returned from well-earned and hopefully enjoyable winter breaks. With the economy growing at 5.1% in the last quarter of 2017, it's a fair bet that we are all working flat out. Many of our members are facing new, different, challenges associated with a booming economy – constraints on the labour market, rising prices and availability of materials. In particular, these challenges are affecting the construction sector – in this issue of Contact Magazine Online we focus on construction and real estate, and consider whether the current boom contains the seeds of the next downturn.
With spring around the corner (soon please!) we would like to focus on our Annual General Meeting (AGM).
This year’s AGM will take place on Wednesday 25 April (12:00-14:00). On 1 March we posted an announcement from Nicholas Richardson, the BPCC’s honorary secretary and vice-chairman about the number of rotating board directors and the available vacancies. Please note that this year’s AGM will take place in the conference centre at the Chamber’s offices.
Apart from the regular business of the board elections and approval of the annual accounts, in my chairman's report for the AGM I will review our 25th Anniversary year and our key engagements during 2017. The year was memorable for our business community and we still have fresh memories of our jubilee celebrations.
Paweł Siwecki will deliver an update on BPCC’s strategy at central and regional level. We will look to enhance membership benefits and highlight the value of our regional network for greater business-to-business cooperation between firms. We always remain open to learn from your feedback and aim, based on that feedback, to differentiate our efforts to serve small, medium and large firms in their efforts to generate trade and investment that contributes to the economies of Poland and the UK .
There is no avoiding the elephant in our British-Polish room – Brexit; with a little over a year to go until the date the UK has set itself for leaving the EU, there is still little clarity on how things will look in practice. Will it be a 'soft Brexit' with a transition period, or a 'hard Brexit' – a sudden withdrawal and the introduction of tariffs, at levels set by the World Trade Organisation? Negotiations are being hampered by a lack of unity within the UK government itself as to the nature of the new relationship. Business still does not know how border controls will look – will the just-in-time flow of goods within supply chains in crucial sectors such as automotive, aerospace and food be adversely affected? And what practical issues will the UK financial services sector face without passporting rights? This is crucial to Poland – the UK is one of Poland’s largest export markets, and with whom it has its second-largest trade surplus.
Once we know the practical details, the BPCC will be ready to communicate the changes to Polish exporters – this will be a great opportunities for BPCC members in the B2B advisory sector to reach out and contact potential new clients who need advice as to how to adjust to post-Brexit realities.
As usual we invite our members to take part in our current activities. Please follow our e-mail announcements, newsletters and social media to stay informed. Our Events calendar is updated daily and our mobile app will let you access it from any place with Wi-Fi connection.
We hope all your business is profitable, and look forward to seeing you at the AGM.