The BPCC’s chief advisor Michael Dembinski set out Poland’s pivotal position as a trading nation in the opening presentation of the 1st Polish Trade Finance Symposium held at the Crowne Plaza hotel, Warsaw on 15-16 May.

Tracking the growth of Poland’s GDP since Poland’s EU accession, he showed how it was mirrored by the growth of exports as a proportion of rising national wealth. “Over the past 20 years, the slice of Poland’s GDP generated by the exports of goods and services has risen from around one-third to over 62%.” he said. “And the proportion of the value of those exports generated by Polish entrepreneurs compared to the export sales of foreign investors present in Poland is currently approaching 50/50.”

However, while last autumn’s change of government has led to improved market sentiment due to the unblocking of EU Recovery & Resilience Facility funds earmarked for Poland and improved legislative process, there’s some uncertainty over the future of Polish trade. The main issues are how the Russian war in Ukraine will resolve, and Poland’s demographics and tight labour market, he said.

Michael Dembinski also provided the summing-up at the end of the event, saying that while the ongoing digitalisation of trade finance was making cross-border business faster, cheaper and safer, it was also creating new risks in the form of data and identity theft and hacking. “Tech promised us disintermediation, cutting out the middlemen, but as trade becomes ever-more complex because of regulation and geopolitical risk, we end up outsourcing corporate functions to new intermediaries.” The role of FinTech was discussed, as were the challenges of ESG, sanctions, and interoperabililty.

The event offered BPCC members, HSBC, BNP Paribas and Bank Pekao SA to showcase their expert knowledge in the area of trade finance to an international audience with a keen interest in the Polish and CEE markets. [Piotr Winnicki, HSBC, Piotr Dylak, BNP Paribas, Piotr Stolarczyk, Pekao]

The Polish Trade Finance Symposium organised by Mergevents brings together exporters, importers and trade financiers to focus on such challenges as digitalisation of trade, data security, sanctions and ESG. “There were many valuable insights delivered in the panels and presentations,” said Michael Dembinski, “and the networking at this event was exceptionally useful. I look forward to next year’s event – there’s a clear need for bringing together exporters, importers and the people who finance their activities.” Thanks to Queenie_Taylor-Wong for putting on such a great event, and to Eleanor_Hill for excellent moderating.