On August 26 in Katowice, the BPCC organised the 11th in a series of events aimed at Polish exporters. The event was organised jointly with COIE, the Polish public-sector body supporting investors and exporters, and held in the Marshal’s Office in Katowice. The target group for this event was medium-sized Polish exporters who have yet to enter the UK market – although a show of hands at the beginning indicated that several of the firms present were already selling to the UK. There was a mix of sectors present, from food and dietary supplements, through to light engineering and chemicals.
The event gave BPCC members the chance to show their in-depth knowledge of the UK market.
Urszula Kwaśniewska, director of the BPCC’s Kraków office, explained how the chamber can help Polish exporters. “We can identify the most appropriate buyers of the Polish products, but also we can help by providing marketing support, eliminating cultural differences and helping to obtain the necessary certification. These services are provided by the BPCC member companies that are the partners of the export events.”
Marta Smolarek, the BPCC’s export consultant, presented the BPCC consultancy service that helps Polish exporters connect with UK businesses, identifying those Polish products that are the most popular in the UK. The BPCC’s chief advisor, Michael Dembinski, gave an overview of the trade relations between Poland and the UK and analysed the UK market in terms of the demand for Polish products by sector. He said that the UK economy is growing much faster than other Western European markets, and has another advantage – the large number of Poles living in the UK, who are both consumers and importers of Polish products, and often act as ambassadors to reach a wider market in Britain. Mr Dembinski mentioned the danger posed to Polish exporters by UK-based fraudsters.
Jakub Makurat, general manager of Ebury Polska explained how commercial transactions with UK firms can be made more secure, by indicating the issues related to foreign exchange that is the integral part of international trade. Mr Makurat also presented the efficient solutions for the currency risk management. Ebury can help Polish exporters reach more difficult markets, trading in 140 different currencies.
David Kennedy, associate marketing director, Lacrosse Polska, presented some of the linguistic errors made by the Poles while translating its promotional materials and websites into English. Some were outright hilarious – płatki owsiane górskie for instance translated as ‘mountainous oat flakes’. He stressed that the most common reasons of the errors are the translations provided by inexperienced and unqualified persons. Kennedy offered language audit to those companies struggling with the imperfections in the translated texts. He said that precise, word-for-word translations always failed to capture the emotions that need to be conveyed, and that localisation was more important than just translation.
Zbigniew Labocha, from law firm Kancelaria Prawnicza L&D, discussed the types of business contracts used in trade with the UK. He explained how Polish exporters can best safeguards their interests while at the same time not putting off a British partner with excessive formalities and red tape. Mr Labocha also identified the differences in the ways contracts are drawn up by Poles and Britons and discussed the importance of trust in relations between Polish and British partners.
Beata Michalska, general manager of business assurance at Intertek , provided an overview of UK regulations and standards where they differ from Polish ones, and discussed the certificates needed for exporting to the UK. Ms Michalska noted that having the appropriate certificates – in particular those of a voluntary nature – and proper professional advice are reflected in the higher profit margins that can be made in the UK.
The event ended with a panel discussion involving the expert speakers. Most questions focused on contractual security with British customers. Mr Labocha again referred to the appropriate wording of the agreements and indicated the cultural differences that should be noted while handling commercial talks. Informal discussions were continued over a networking lunch.