Polish PM aims to drum up business in China
Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło on Friday kicked off an official visit to China with the aim of drumming up business.
Meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang were first on Szydło's agenda.
“I am counting on further close cooperation in the political sphere within the framework of comprehensive strategic partnership and that it results in mutually beneficial, measurable economic ties,” Szydło said after a meeting with Xi.
Xi said that Poland was China's important partner in Central and Eastern Europe and the European Union.
The first steps in boosting ties were the signing by Szydło and the Chinese prime minister of two new bilateral deals, one for tourism, the other for water management.
“Poland and China have many opportunities for trade, cultural and tourism cooperation,” Szydło said, adding: “Our aim should be the launch and full operation of all mechanisms of a comprehensive strategic partnership between Poland and China”.
The main event of Szydło's visit will be on Sunday and Monday when she will take part in a Belt and Road Forum dedicated to China's planned so-called new Silk Road initiative, “One Belt, One Road”.
The new Silk Road project was first put forward by Xi in 2013.
China has earmarked some USD 40 billion and the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank plans to fork out a further USD 100 billion for the project, which aims to expand links, boost trade ties and create infrastructure between Asia, Africa and Europe.
Poland's location is potentially strategic to the ambitious plan.
Boming Tang, Dean of the Chongqing Jiaotong University in central China, notes an existing rail connection between Łódź, in central Poland and the central Chinese Sichuan province, adding that Poland's access to the Baltic sea is important while its proximity to Germany gives it huge potential.
Polish government spokesman Rafał Bochenek said the Chinese initiative could see Poland become a gateway to Europe.
Poland wants “Chinese businesspeople to be interested in the Polish market and want to locate their business and grow their potential” in Poland, Bochenek said.
Officials from 28 other countries located along the Chinese route to Europe, as well as officials from international organisations, will also attend the forum in Beijing.
During her visit, Szydło will also meet top Chinese officials to talk trade and to try to knock down some of the walls barring Polish goods from the Chinese market.
“During the trip, the Prime Minister will meet Chinese businesspeople but she will also talk about Polish exports to China because we have a deficit,” Bochenek said.
She will also ask China to support Poland's campaign for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2018-2019, ahead of a vote in New York early next month.