By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
The government of Poland has sought to improve its bilateral economic relations with the Philippines as it reopened its embassy in Manila after a long 24-year break.
Joanna Wasiewska, deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Manila, told reporters during the celebration of the Polish National Day, a centenary of regaining of the Polish independence, of the good prospect for increased exchange of trade and people to people contacts, and tourism for both countries.
“We want to stimulate our economic cooperation,” said Wasiewska saying that the balance of trade is tilting in favor of the Philippines, which exports to Poland mainly electronic products. Poland exports industrial spare parts and food to the Philippines.
Wasiewska said they will have a formal opening of the embassy in January next year with the planned visit of the Poland Foreign Minister.
Despite Poland’s closure of its embassy in Manila in 1994 due to budgetary constraints, commerce and trade continued to flourish between the two countries. Latest bilateral trade was placed at $500 million.
“We will continue to work tirelessly to increase this number,” said the deputy head of mission.
According to Wasiewska, the first Poland investment in the country was a resort and tour operation opened by Salamanca Holding in Pamatican in 2005, and a call center and consulting company launched by Cinnovation in Manila in 2008 with combined investments of around US 1 million. New investments followed in 2014 and 2015 – IT-BPM center by Lingaro (US 2 million) and factory by Grupa Pietrucha in Mariveles (US 1.6 million).
She noted the growing number of Polish BPO firms in the country.
There is a growing number of Polish brands present in the local market including Belvedere, Wedel, Bell Hypoallergenic, and Inglot.
The Philippines has one big investment in Poland through international port operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc., which operates Baltic Container Terminal in Gdynia, Northern Poland.
“We have ambitious plans for 2019. Our diplomatic presence in the Philippines will certainly increase knowledge about our country. We want to increase our visibility, we want the Filipinos to get to know us,” said Wasiewska
On Thursday’s celebration, which also marked 45 years of diplomatic relations between Poland and the Philippines, roughly 250 guests from the diplomatic community and friends of Poland attended the event.
Among the guests were Ambassador Leo Herrera – Lim, Assistant Secretary at the office of the Undersecretary for Economic Affairs, and Ambassador Generoso Calonge Assistant Secretary for Maritime and Oceans Affairs Office, honorary consul General of the Republic of Poland in Manila Fernandino Lising, representatives of the Filipino government administration, academia, world of culture, business and the media.