ICTSI to expand in Poland

The Polish port operation of International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) is expanding capacity in anticipation of increased cargo traffic in the coming months, the company said in a statement.

ICTSI said its Baltic Container Terminal in Gdynia, Poland, "continues to serve new clients even as it beefs up operations and service delivery in anticipation of more vessel calls in the coming months."

Source: INQ7.net

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Robin Hood gets flights to Poland

Wizzair is to be the first airline to begin flights between Doncaster Sheffield’s Robin Hood Airport and Katowice, in the south of Poland.

The airline has said it will begin three flights a week, on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, from September 19, with single tickets starting from £19.99, including taxes and charges.

József Váradi, chief executive officer of Wizz Air, said: "We are proud to be the first airline to offer low fare flights to Doncaster Sheffield from Central and Eastern Europe.

"Now many more people from this region can easily discover new exciting places, like the beautiful royal city of Krakow or the unique Wieliczka Salt Mine, both in close vicinity of Katowice International Airport."

In April Wizz Air said it would begin flights to Katowice from Dublin, and already flies to the Polish city, as well as Warsaw and Gdansk, from Liverpool.

Source:Find cheap flight deals at Cheapflights.co.uk

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EU backs Poland's GM crop ban

Poland’s controversial ban on the use of 16 varieties of genetically modified maize has been backed by the European Commission, despite warnings the law broke EU rules.

The Commission authorised the ban, which also prohibits the use of around 700 non-GM maize varieties in Poland, after it was given unanimous approval by EU member states.

The move is the latest in the ongoing row over genetically modified (GM) crops and food, and threatens to put the EU back on a collision course with the World Trade Organisation.

Poland’s government, which passed the ban in the country’s parliament last week, used cultivation rules set out in a 2002 EU Directive to justify its stance.

The clause says any Member State can ban crop varieties that are not suitable for growing on its land. Poland said both the GM and non-GM maizes had a long growing cycle and, because of the country’s climate, would not reach the necessary ripeness needed for harvesting.

The ban has caused considerable debate in Poland, which agreed to drop a previous ban on GM crops before joining the EU in May 2004.

Several leading Polish scientists led a public appeal against re-introducing a GM ban because it could hamper research. The US Foreign Agricultural Service also reported that the Polish Senate was split on the proposal.

The victory for those in favour, which can now only be dashed by Poland’s president Lech Kaczynski, could lead to serious repercussions on the world stage.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruled in February this year that the EU and six member states had broken free trade rules by imposing a moratorium on GM imports between June 1999 and August 2003.

The decision, in theory, opened up the EU market to GM food.

The issue, however, remains contentious and strong public opinion against GM food has forced major food companies and retailers to issue non-GM guarantees to customers in recent years.

Arguments over the safety of GM food have also been joined by debate on how GM and non-GM crops could co-exist, ensuring consumers continue to have a choice.

Anti-GM campaigners argue that GM crops will cause widespread contamination, leaving consumers with no GM-free choice at all. Pro-GM forces on the other hand argue that consumers must be given the choice, and that the WTO ruling backs this up.

The safety and co-existence debates have consistently split member states in the European Council over the last couple of years, despite the Commission approving several GM crop varieties for use in animal feed.

Cost may, in the end, be a crucial factor. Europe’s opposition to GM food could increase costs for food firms by up to 16 per cent in some cases over the next three years as it becomes ever harder to source non-GM supplies, according to a report commissioned last year by Agricultural Biotechnology Europe.

Source: Breaking News On Food in Central & Eastern Europe

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Poland attracts world investors

Poland’s attractiveness for foreign investors stems from the economic situation of the country rather that from any incentives for foreign capital says a representative of the American Chamber of Commerce in Poland Roman Rewald. According to an international consulting company A.T.Kearney Poland ranks fifth in the world ranking of states attracting world investors. This country has become even more attractive after becoming an EU member, considers Roman Rewald, but to assure more investments Poland’s promotion abroad has to be intensified as should be incentives for foreign investors in Poland .The government expects that foreign investments in Poland will exceed 10 million USD in 2006.According to Poland’s National Bank last year’s figures amounted to 7 million 700 thousand USD.

Source: Polskie Radio SA

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Poland blocks CEDC purchase of local vodka maker

Poland's anti-monopoly office on Wednesday blocked Central European Distribution Corp's (CEDC) plan to take over a local vodka maker and strengthen its position in the Polish market, the office said in a statement.

CEDC, based in the U.S. and listed on Nasdaq, owns two local vodka makers Polmos Bialystok and Bols, and planned to take control of peer Polmos Lublin through a purchase of Polish firm Jablonna, which holds a controlling stake.

"As a leading spirits distributor and producer in Poland, CEDC could gain too strong a position in the local market on the back of this acquisition," the statement said.

The anti-monopoly office said that by taking over Polmos Lublin, the owner of Zoladkowa Gorzka flavoured vodka brand, CEDC would see its Polish market share to rise to far above 40 percent, potentially threatening competition in the industry.

Last year CEDC bought a majority stake in Polmos Bialystok -- the owner of the Zubrowka (Bison Grass) vodka brand and the country's second-largest vodka maker.

Bialystok controls about a fifth of the local market -- the world's fourth largest after Russia, the United States and Ukraine -- while Bols has around 11 percent of the market.


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Poland's productivity growth second only to China

According to the Conference Board, quoted in the FT, May 1, Poland's productivity growth accelerated by 7.7 per cent last year, second only to China.

Productivity - output produced per unit input (for example the quantity of a good produced in a given time period) - is a key indicator in assessing economic growth potential. Essentially, the faster goods and services can be produced with the same resources, the quicker a country accumulates wealth. And wealth usually finds its way into the property market.

However, although Poland's productivity growth rate accelerated the most, its workforce is not the most productive. According to the FT it is still half the European average. Thus Poland has a long way to go.

Interestingly, Poland's productivity growth is occurring despite 20 per cent of the workforce being employed in agriculture, which produces only 3 per cent of GDP. The productivity growth is apparently coming to a significant extent from foreign firms operating out of Poland, as they bring better production technology.

The hope is, and history has often shown, that countries which host foreign firms bringing new technology will absorb some of the technology themselves. Thus through 'technology diffusion' Poland may become even more productive.



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Poland's Zloty Continues Rise vs. Dollar

The Polish zloty continued its rise against the dollar Monday amid a general weakening of the U.S. currency, showing strength despite a new government coalition with Euro-skeptic parties.

The zloty was at 2.9929 to the dollar, up from 3.0129 on Friday. A month ago, it took 3.2543 zlotys to buy a dollar.

One analyst said it was a case of dollar weakness, not zloty strength, with the dollar falling against the euro and Asian currencies.

"This is all about the weak dollar, and has nothing to do with the zloty," said Ryszard Petru, chief economist for BPH Bank.

The zloty was also trading at 3.8230 to the euro, compared to 3.8212 on Friday, with investors largely ignoring a new coalition agreement that gives Cabinet posts to politicians who had opposed Poland's 2004 entry into the European Union.

Andrzej Lepper, a populist who leads the farm-based Self-Defense party, joined the government, becoming agriculture minister and a deputy prime minister. Roman Giertych, head of the nationalist League of Polish Families, was named education minister and also deputy prime minister. Both leaders oppose adopting the euro.

Petru said investors were not reacting because Poland's economic fundamentals -- including strong growth and low inflation -- remain good.

Though Poland trades mainly with other European countries, the strength of the currency against the dollar has had a significant effect on the local economy, mostly by cushioning the shock of the rising price of oil, which is priced in dollars.

The euro fell slightly against the dollar Monday to US$1.2727 after hitting a year high Friday at US$1.2735.

Associated Press

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Wawel posts 58% rise in Q1 net profit

The Polish confectionery group Wawel SA has posted net profit of PLN6.34m (US$2.1m) for the first quarter of 2006, up 58% from PLN4.02m in 2005.

Wawel have the longest experience and tradition among confectionery manufacturers in Poland. It has been established in 1910 and has been famous before second world war for strong local brands as well as Pischinger and Suhard licence production. In the twenties the companies have merged giving Wawel international importance. In 1951 the factory has been transformed into government belonging company. It has performed extremely well throughout forty years developing its own strong brands. The company has been privatised in 1992 following economy transformation in Poland. The same year Wawel was started to be noted at Warsaw sock exchange. Wawel belongs to biggest players in confectionery industry in Poland and with over 100 million PLN turnover(1999)gains close to 4 % of the local market what is quite an achievement considering extremely strong local and international competition active on Polish market. It is remarkable that Wawel is not questionable leader in Light sugar free products gaining 80% of this developing segment.

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More doctor strikes in southern Poland

Doctors in seven hospitals of southern Poland have begun a strike demanding pay rises and an increase in outlays on the health service. The hospitals are working as if it was a weekend. Most doctors are on call at home.
Polish doctors will stage a major protest in Warsaw on Wednesday. It was to coincide with a parliamentary debate on reforming the health care but on the premier’s request the debate was postponed by two weeks.

Source: Polskie Radio SA

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EU Lets Poland Ban GMO Maize Seeds Across Country

Poland has won European Union approval for its national ban on using 16 types of genetically modified (GMO) maize seeds, with the restriction to stay in place indefinitely, the European Commission said on Monday.

Poland was also allowed to ban the use of some 700 non-GMO maize varieties throughout the entire country, it said.

"In the case of both the GM and non-GM maize varieties in question, the varieties are known to have too high a maturity class to enable them to be cultivated in Poland," the Commission said in a statement.

"This means that these maize varieties are characterised by a long growing cycle and, under Polish climatic conditions, will not reach the necessary ripeness required at the harvesting stage," it said.

The Commission usually takes the view that if a region wants to ban GMO crops, such restrictions have to be scientifically justified and crop-specific -- not overtly political motivated or blanket bans on all biotech seeds or crops.

No biotech seeds have been planted in Poland and the ruling conservatives, who have long backed a GMO-free Poland, have said they could even seek changes to the bloc's biotech policy.


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Poland shares US opinion on Russian energy policy

Polish president Lech Kaczynski has said he shares the opinion of the US vice president on Russia’s energy related policy. At the Thursday conference in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, devoted to European integration and cooperation with the United States in forging a common Eastern policy, Dick Cheney appealed to Russia to refrain from using energy resources as a weapon in furthering its international goals. President Kaczynski expressed hope this view will serve as an eye opener for those European leaders who do not show a deeper understanding of Russian policies, to adopt a more sober approach to these matters. On the other hand it is a clear sign for Moscow that the United States are aware of the tendencies influencing Russian actions. The Polish head of state added that the Vilnius conference has brought closer the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Lech Kaczynski said it has helped him define Poland’s policy toward that region. It should be based on goodneighborly relations and joint initiatives. He underscored that NATO and EU expansion are the most important processes for Central and Eastern European states. The Polish president also mentioned the talks he had in Vilnius with his Lithuanian, Ukrainian and Georgian opposite numbers on a common energy policy. He disclosed Poland has received interesting propositions in this respect, but they require further study by the Polish side

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Come back and help us, Poland begs its people

So many young Poles are leaving to find jobs and a better life in Britain that bosses back home are desperate for them to return to keep the wheels of Polish industry turning, writes Daniel McLaughlin in Wroclaw in the Observer. Read more here.

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Eureko opens Assistance Centre in Poland

Eureko's Assistance Centre, EuroCross International, the largest medical assistance centre in The Netherlands, has started operations (1 May 2006) in Warsaw. From its new office, EuroCross Poland provides medical and technical assistance for the Polish insurer, PZU. PZU has some 15 million customers and is the largest insurer in Central and Eastern Europe.

Yesterday at 08.00 the Assistance Centre opened its doors and services.The first report received by the Assistance Centre was of a car accident in Germany, which Assistance attended directly. The Warsaw office has launched with 25 employees, who were trained by experienced colleagues from the Netherlands over the last couple of months.

EuroCross recently signed a contract with the Polish insurer and has therefore established a Polish company named 'EuroCross International Polska sp z.o.o.' "With the introduction of an assistance centre in Poland Eureko seeks opportunities to expand to Central and Eastern Europe", says EuroCross Netherlands Director, Lex Mentink. Lukas Zelnicek, manager at EuroCross Prague and also responsible for the new operation in Warsaw adds: " In PZU we found a solid partner and we are proud to serve so many customers".

EuroCross Poland benefits from the use of a worldwide network that has been built over the last 24 years. A dedicated network management and medical team has conducted negotiations with hospitals, ambulance services and car assistance providers in Poland. EuroCross Poland co-operates closely with the EuroCross Netherlands office. It is expected that over 10.000 assistance files will be processed on an annual basis.

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Poland could face fine by above-quota production

Poland has exceeded its annual milk production quota by almost 300,000 tons, or 4 percent, the state PAP news agency reported on Tuesday.

Under the Accession Treaty, Poland, as a new member of the European Union, had an annual quota of 8.642 million tons, but it actually produced some 8.930 million tons of milk in the 2005/2006 quota year, the Agricultural Market Agency's spokesman Radoslaw Iwanski was quoted as saying.

According to the Agriculture Minister Krzysztof Jurgiel, Poland had applied for a increased quota and was waiting for a decision from the European Commission. If approved, the quota could be lifted by some 416,000 tons. However, the country could face a fine for excessive production. Roman Wenerski, head of The Agricultural Market Agency, said earlier that the fine for each kg of milk produced above the limit was 51 groszes (about 17 U.S. cents).

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