Improving Polish-Chinese Relations

Improving Relations

Improving Relations

“We are still beginners in terms of Polish-Chinese economic relations,” according to participants of the ‘Poland and China Cooperation Session’ during the ‘Third Poland-China Economic Cooperation Forum’ organised as part of the ‘European Economic Congress’ in Katowice. However, those who participated in the debate claim that the process of strengthening ties could progress much faster than hitherto. There has been a mismatch between political declarations and the economic reality. So far, strong Polish-Chinese political declarations from three years ago have not managed to push economic cooperation forward to the extent both sides expected. Several reasons for this unsatisfactory state of affairs were mentioned during the debate. Firstly, a turn in Polish-Chinese political relations has come at a time when China is undergoing a process of reforming its economic development strategy, which has led many entrepreneurs to rethink their plans. Secondly, institutional and cultural differences are still a problem. Last, but not least, as was pointed out during the conference, despite many meetings, trade missions and discussions such as the Congress in Katowice, mutual knowledge is still infinitesimal. Zuotao Xiang, the vice-president of the European University Centre at Peking University admitted that any sort of international economic cooperation should be based on mutual cultural appreciation and recognition. According to Zuotao Xiang, the average Chinese citizen has outdated knowledge about Poland, but the situation is improving thanks to several promotion campaigns conducted by the Polish Embassy. However, the process of raising awareness will take time. Weijing Wang, president of Huawei Polska confirms China’s growing interest in international partnerships, and named the increased promotion of Polish products as evidence of this notion. He also mentioned the positive cultural aspects of programmes such as “Go China” and “Made in Poland” that help Chinese citizens become acquainted with Polish brands. When it comes to international cooperation, both cultural and institutional differences seem to be the main obstacles. For example, Chinese businesses seem to be completely dependent on the political situation. Many companies are actually run by the government and the fact that there is no division between economic and political affairs is the norm. This means that every political decision can affect international trade. Not wanting to offend the authorities, Chinese entrepreneurs cease to make any sort of business agreements if the political situation calls for such action. An example given by Xiang is the Czech Republic where there is almost no Chinese investment. The matter is further confirmed by Xinagyang, president of Xinhua Topsky Consulting, who adds that any sort of economic cooperation with Poland will heavily depend on the political situation in both countries.

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