The Manufacturers Association of Israel on Wednesday signed an economic-cooperation agreement with Poland aimed at boosting trade relations.
"Within Europe, Poland has suffered a minor impact from the global economic crisis because of the country's relatively low debts and a less-developed banking system," Dan Catarivas, head of the association's foreign trade and international relations division, told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday.
"Poland is in the process of implementing the European Union's Lisbon strategy, an initiative of reforms at national and European level for investment in research and innovation supported by large European and local funds aimed at setting up innovation centers," he said. "This creates an array of potential business opportunities across many sectors for Israeli companies, which already have some presence in Poland."
Catarivas said the volume of export and import trade between the two countries was relatively low, at less than $500 million a year. In 2008, Israeli exports to Poland totaled $280m., out of which 32 percent were chemicals, 31% machinery and equipment, and the rest food and plastics.
The agreement was signed between Manufacturers Association of Israel president Shraga Brosh and his counterpart Andrzej Malinowski, president of the Confederation of Polish Employers .
Malinowski is part of a Polish visiting delegation of 58 business representatives headed by Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Waldemar Pawlak. The delegation is taking part in this week's Watec Israel 2009 conference in Tel Aviv.
The Manufacturers Association of Israel said Israeli investors have been showing great interest in Poland in the field of renewable energy, while Polish investors are seeking investments in Israeli hi-tech including biotechnology, pharmacology, food processing, IT, electronics, medical equipment and defense.
"Until now, Israelis have been active in Poland mainly in real estate," Catarivas said. "But as the country's standard of living rises, there will be vast opportunities in other consumer-related areas as well as health care and renewable energy."
Currently, Israeli capital is invested in some 100 companies in Poland. In recent years, Israeli investors have been very active in the Polish real-estate market, building residential housing, shopping malls and cinemas.
Among Israeli companies already active in Poland are Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries, Makhteshim Agan Industries, Tadiran, the Strauss Group, Superpharm, Multilock and GTC.
Separately, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer met on Wednesday with Pawlak to discuss the potential participation of Israeli companies in preparations for the Euro 2012 soccer championship that will take place in Poland.
"Israeli companies are well-equipped to participate in building the infrastructure in preparation for the soccer tournament," Ben-Eliezer said. "Israeli companies have gained substantial experience from taking part in international sports events such as the Olympics in Atlanta and Athens, and they can offer the appropriate solutions, mainly in the area of homeland security."
He called upon the organizers of the games to visit Israel to get an impression of available technologies.
Ben-Eliezer also discussed opportunities for cooperation between the two countries in water and agriculture.