After a welcome and introduction by Natalia Smolarek, international office Erasmus+ Coordinator at European University College of Business, Daria Bąk, the BPCC's export consultant, shared her experience explaining how the Chamber can support Polish exporters. Ms Bąk, who had worked as a business consultant at the BPCC's Trade Team helping UK exporters find customers in Poland, is now using the same tools and methodology to help Polish exporters find clients in the UK.
Michael Dembinski, the BPCC's chief adviser, gave an overview of the UK economy and why Britain is such a logical next step for Polish exporters who are already successful in neighbouring markets. He described the characteristics of the current trading relations between Poland and UK, mentioning that the UK is growing faster than any other economy in Western Europe, and has the advantage of having a million Poles already there. Mr Dembinski presented an analysis of the UK market in terms of its potential demand for Polish products, sector by sector. Guests present at the meeting were encouraged by Polish success stories in the UK.
Jakub Makurat, general director Ebury Poland, spoke about the importance to Polish exporters - particularly the smaller and medium-sized ones - of money transfer. Ebury charges its clients a much smaller spread than corporate banks, and offers the ability to change zlotys into 140 currencies around the world. Mr Makurat outlined the regulatory changes that have affected the sector. "An exporting SME can have a long-term relationship with its core bank, and a transactional one with other providers whose specific services match the SMEs' specific needs', said Mr Makurat.
After a coffee break and exchange business cards Julia Józefowicz, attorney at law firm Obligo Sieczkowski i Spółka Sp. K. spoke about international trade contracts. During her presentation, Ms Józefowicz explained the importance of key words and phrases and necessary structures in cross-border contracts. Of particular importance is determining which legal jurisdiction the contract should fall under.
Leszek Sęk, business development and sales manager at Intertek, offered interesting insights into certifying Polish food to meet the requirements of the UK market. He gave a highly informative presentation about regulations, certification and compliance. Mr Sęk set out the legal framework within which manufacturers and retailers need to operate in the UK. He said that very often, Polish exports to the UK went through intermediaries in Benelux, who place high margins on the trade. Polish exporters, were they prepared to spend some money on consultancy and certification, could make significantly higher margins in the UK than they are doing now.
The formal presentations were followed by a lively discussion about the commonly encountered frauds and scams that occur between the UK and Poland, after which there was a long networking session.