Poland Raises Benchmark Rate for 2nd Time This Year (Update2)

Poland's central bank unexpectedly raised its key interest rate for a second time this year on concern wage growth will force companies to boost prices.

The central bank-led Monetary Policy Council lifted the benchmark seven-day reference rate a quarter point to 4.5 percent today. Nineteen economists in a Bloomberg survey expected no change, while five others forecast a quarter-point increase.

The $350 billion economy, which makes up more than third of the European Union's eastern members, grew 7.4 percent in the first three months of the year, the fastest in a decade, and may expand 6.5 percent for the year. Central bankers last raised interest rates in April on concern falling unemployment and rising wages will boost inflation.

``It is possible that wage pressure will continue to grow, strengthening inflation pressure,'' the council said in a statement after the meeting.

The council said inflation may temporary slow in the third quarter, helped by the healthy financial standing of companies and growing competition among service providers and goods producers. The inflation rate, at 2.3 percent in May, is nearing the central bank's mid-range target rate of 2.5 percent.

Mid-Term Concern

``It may not be enough to curb inflation in the mid-term,'' the council said. ``The probability that inflation will grow above the target in the mid-term is higher than the probability that inflation will be below it.''

The zloty extended gains after the decision, trading at 3.787 at 4 p.m. in Warsaw, up from 3.7943 in reaction to the decision and above yesterday's close of 3.7974. The yield of the 4.75 percent benchmark government bond due in April 2012 rose 2 basis points to 5.51 percent.

``The balance of power tilted toward the hawkish side, probably due to the situation on the labor market,'' said Jacek Wisniewski, an economist at Raiffeisen Bank in Warsaw. ``We may expect at least one more hike this year, probably by September.''

Average corporate wages rose 8.9 percent in May from a year before, while employment gained 4.4 percent, sparking concern producers may raise prices. Unemployment declined in May to 13 percent, close to an eight-year low, after the economy grew in the first quarter at the fastest pace in a decade.

April Decision

The Monetary Policy Council in April raised the benchmark seven-day reference rate by a quarter point to 4.25 percent after keeping it unchanged at a record low for 14 months. At the time, inflation was below the bank's target.

The annual inflation rate was 2.3 percent in May, close to the central bank's target of 2.5 percent. Forward-rate agreements show markets expect the bank to raise rates by 50 basis points within the next three months.

Source:By Monika Rozlal and Dorota Bartyzel, bloomberg.com

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HCL Tech sets up shop in Poland

HCL Technologies Ltd said on Wednesday it had set up a software development centre in Poland as part of its strategy to win more outsourcing business in Europe.

HCL, India's fifth-largest software services exporter, said the centre in Krakow would initially have 100 staff that would rise to 250 by December.

Financial details of the new facility were not disclosed.

The firm, which got 30 per cent of its revenue from Europe in the March quarter from 26 per cent a year-earlier, has a centre in Northern Ireland that has about 2,300 staff.

HCL, based on the outskirts of New Delhi, offers software and back-office services to telecom, finance, travel and transportation, retail and media industries.

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Poland expects U.S. missile shield deal by October

Poland expects to sign an agreement with the United States by October to allow parts of a U.S. anti-missile shield to be built on Polish soil, a Polish official was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Deputy Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski, visiting Washington to negotiate terms for hosting parts of the installation, told the Gazeta Wyborcza daily that a deal should be signed in September or October.

"If the Americans want to start building the shield next year, then we must agree in 2007," Waszczykowski was quoted as saying, adding the deal should strengthen Poland's security.

"It could be a declaration as to how the Americans will react if a problem occurs in this part of Europe ... We are also talking about agreements which could strengthen some guarantees offered by NATO."

Warsaw has been lobbying for a political and security pact between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) states as a main condition for hosting the missile interceptor site.

The plan to place interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic has led to a row with Russia. President Vladimir Putin has threatened to aim missiles at targets in Europe if the United States goes ahead with its plan.

Washington says its installation will guard against attacks from "rogue states" such as North Korea or Iran. But Moscow says the scheme will upset the post-Cold War strategic balance and is really aimed at its military capability.

Waszczykowski said Russian threats would not hinder talks.


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Poland's central bank surprises with rate hike, bourse falls UPDATE

Poland's central bank surprised markets with a second rise in interest rates in three months at its June policy meeting, judging it needed to act faster than many analysts had expected to cool Europe's biggest former communist economy.

The bank raised borrowing costs for the first time in three years in April, but most analysts had expected policymakers to wait at least until July before moving again.

Bond yields jumped 4 basis points higher on the news. The Warsaw stock exchange's WIG 20 index fell 1 pct, while the zloty currency gained around 0.3 pct.

'The market was positioned almost down the middle on whether they would hike today, so quite a few people have been caught out,' said Maciej Slomka, head of fixed income at Bank Pekao in Warsaw.

Poland's economy grew by a decade-high 7.4 pct year-on-year in the first quarter, pushing inflation up to 2.3 pct in May - close to the bank's 2.5 pct target.

But the pace of growth is expected to have slowed in the second quarter and several bank policymakers argued this month that the bank can take some time to observe the impact of falling unemployment and rising wages on inflation.

Headline consumer inflation in May stood at 2.3 pct, while wages grew 8.9 pct, spurring concerns that a fall in unemployment and booming domestic demand may lead to a rise in producers' costs.

'Today's decision was probably driven by wage growth as well as rising unit labour costs,' said Bank BPH chief economist Ryszard Petru in a note to clients.

'This means the council prefers a forward-looking approach and does not need to wait for CPI to be above 2.5 pct to tighten monetary policy.'

Analysts said they would look to the bank's statement and conference at 4 p.m. CET for signs of whether the early rise in rates was a pre-emptive strike aimed at giving the council time to wait with a next move.

They will seek signals of how the key swing voters on the 10-strong panel will line up in months ahead.

'The group which in May failed to force through a rise in rates this time were likely joined by Professor Jan Czekaj,' said Maciej Reluga, chief economist with Bank Zachodni WBK in Warsaw.

Most said more hikes could now be on the cards this year.

'I would expect two more hikes before the end of this year - but not in July,' Danske Bank analyst Lars Christensen told Thomson Financial News.

'The most notable element is that the swing voters seem to have aligned themselves with the hawks.'

Source: forbes.com

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Guyana and Poland to develop stronger ties

Georgetown, Guyana -- June 26, 2007 -- Prime Minister Samuel Hinds met Ministers of the Government of Poland who are in Guyana to negotiate with government and CARICOM officials on strengthening ties between the Caribbean region and Poland.

The visiting delegation comprised Minister of Culture and National Heritage Krzysztof Olendzki, Minister of Finance Adam Peziol, Minister of Polish Parliament Piotr Krzywicki and representative of the Polish Tourism Organisation Rafal Hykawy.

Minister Olendzki noted that the Polish government is fully aware of the Caribbean region and its history and is now working towards an assistance package.

This package, he noted, includes extending the Polish scholarship programme to Guyana which began in the early 1990s and promoting tourism and culture.
Regarding the latter, Olendzki noted that his government intends to extend a culture, tourism and heritage management programme to students from the Caribbean including Guyana.

The programme which will be offered in Krakow, the historic capital of Poland, will include a one-month internship component. Scholarships are also offered in medicine and engineering.

He noted that invitations will also be extended to representatives of the tourism industry in Guyana and the Caribbean to participate in tourism fairs which are held twice yearly in Poland.

Olendzki is optimistic that this cooperation will further develop Guyana and the Caribbean’s tourism potential, and will increase the likelihood of people from Central Europe travelling to the region.

The Polish Government is at present in the process of bidding to host an internationally recognised exhibition in Wroclaw that will be held in 2012. The exhibition will be named Wroclaw 2012 and will be held under the theme “The culture of leisure in world economies.” Morocco and South Korea are the other two countries opting to host the event.

Olendzki believes that the exhibition will provide the desired economic assistance for Caribbean countries since they will have an opportunity to present aspects of the Caribbean culture to over 12 million people.
“We are sure that Caribbean participation will increase tourism from Central Europe to the Caribbean and will have a profound influence on Guyana and other Caribbean countries,” Olendzki said.

Poland’s support to Guyana and the Caribbean stems from its national programme of assistance to developing countries in which Poland provided 100 M Euros last year. Olendzki disclosed that the Polish government intends to triple its budgetary support next year.

Poland is an active partner in the establishment of programmes to support African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Member States and is the sixth largest European Union (EU) member.

Source: gina.gov.gy

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Nurses' protest camp shakes Poland’s government

Health workers have set up shop outside their prime minister’s office in their fight for better pay and conditions, writes Joanna Puszwacka

Polish health workers are involved in a major battle against the right wing government. They are demanding pay rises.

Up to 2,000 health workers, mainly nurses, have been camped outside the prime minister’s chancellery in Warsaw, Poland’s capital, since Tuesday of last week. Four trade union negotiators are occupying one of the offices in the chancellery.

The tent city was set up following a 20,000 strong demonstration by all the health sector unions. There had been a similar demonstration last year.

This time around 80 nurses were determined that they would not just go home after it had finished.

They just stayed in front of the prime minister’s building and that night slept in the open air on the main road.

Early the next morning the police roughly forced them onto the pavement. This outraged other health workers who began coming back in force.

Since then delegations of miners, teachers, metal workers and transport workers have come to the camp to show solidarity.

The FZZ union federation, which includes the main nurses’ union, first threatened strike action if the police were used against the occupiers of the prime minister’s chancellery.

It is now saying that it may issue a solidarity strike call anyway to workers outside the health service.


The government strategy of ignoring the health workers because of their supposed weakness has blown up in its face.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the right wing populist prime minister, whose twin brother holds the presidency, heads a coalition government which includes the extreme right.

Poland has been heralded as a neoliberal success story following a crash programme of privatisation.

The economy grew by 7.4 percent in the first three months of this year with foreign investment reaching new highs last year.

Unemployment has been falling. This is not caused primarily by emigration. Productivity levels are increasing. This has not stopped the government attacking pension rights.

Recently an attempt to change the retirement package for rail workers was met with the threat of a strike. This forced Kaczynski to back off.

Tax cuts for the rich have led to an increase in the number of billionaires and a growing gap between rich and poor.

The government pleads that in order to keep within European Union budget limits it cannot pay the nurses.

Elwira, a Polish nurse working in Britain, wrote to Socialist Worker, “How is it possible that no mention has been made in the British media about a massive industrial action in Poland of nurses and doctors?

“They are protesting against low pay and poor working conditions.

“They have been now joined by miners, who also support their action.

“The Polish government has not started any talks with the nurses.

“This reflects the current government attitude to internal Polish problems, and the working class.

“I feel for my colleagues back home.

“Some of them have still not been paid for their work last month.

“If they don’t turn up for work, however, they will be threatened with disciplinary action.”


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Saudi Arabia and Poland aim to strengthen energy cooperation – Saudi foreign minister

audi Arabia and Poland intend to work for stronger economic cooperation, particularly in the field of energy, said Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal said Tuesday.

"The energy sphere is perhaps the area where we can really cooperate," he said during an event organized by the Polish Institute of International Affairs.

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud together with Prince Saud al Faisal arrived in Poland for a planned two-day visit Monday at a time when Poland is trying to strengthen ties with the Middle East. Poland has a military contingent in Iraq, while Polish authorities are attempting to diversify sources of energy supplies in order to reduce the country's reliance on Russian imports.

Poland and Saudi Arabia signed agreements Monday to render mutual assistance in fighting organized crime, cooperation in healthcare, education and sports.

As for economic cooperation, Saud al Faisal said that the both countries should work to boost the security of doing business, abolish double taxation and increase knowledge about each other.

"Capital is a coward unless you give it a protectionist environment," he said referring to mutual investment protection.

Apart from the energy field, the two countries believe the Polish construction sector may provide another platform for cooperation, boosted by the inflow of European Union structural funds and the successful bid by Warsaw and Kiev for the Euro 2012 soccer tournament. "Especially after choosing Poland as the organizer for European soccer championship in 2012, we will witness even higher boom in the construction sector," Royal Embassy for Saudi Arabia in Poland wrote in materials distributed Tuesday. "It will be an impulse for Saudi companies active in this segment to invest in Poland. [] Without any doubt, the trade exchange between the two countries will grow."

So far, however, no economic agreement has been signed between the countries. Further talks are expected to be conducted through the Saudi-Polish Business Council, established in 2006.

Mutual trade has grown over the past few years to reach USD 291.9 mln in 2006, up from USD 220 mln the prior year, according to Poland's Central Statistical Office (GUS). Polish exports to Saudi Arabia came to USD 146.3 mln, up from USD 100 mln against Saudi exports of USD 146.6 mln, up from USD 120 mln.

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FEATURE-Poland wants more babies, hospitals can't cope

Heavily pregnant Karolina Mrowiec went to a Polish hospital in an advanced stage of labour and was surprised when the nurse asked her what was wrong. "I am having a baby. Isn't it obvious?" she replied. Her story shows how an overstretched hospital system is struggling as Poland experiences its first baby boom in years. The government is campaigning to encourage families to have more children, but as children born in a 1980s boom reach fertility, they are straining a system which constitutionally must provide free services to all Poles. Healthcare has been slow to reform since the end of communism in 1989, and the hospitals' grim state is adding to the difficulties of giving birth. Since 2004, more people have been born than died each year in this predominantly Catholic nation, although emigration by Poles seeking work means the population of around 38 million is still shrinking. Worried at the falling numbers, the government has led a campaign to persuade Polish women to have more babies to "save the nation from disappearing", as some politicians have said. But Poland's economic boom of late has not led to major improvements in the state's healthcare system and it is poorly placed to deal with a big increase in demand on any front. UNSUITABLE When Mrowiec, 27, went into labour, she first made her way to a hospital she had previously chosen as suitable. "It was the only one I was not scared of. I had met the staff and I was impressed with the conditions there," she said. But it was full and she was sent away. After a frantic search, her partner got her a place at a hospital in a suburb of Warsaw, where she complains that the care she got was far below standard. The baby was born without major complications. "We know numerous cases of women who were seriously neglected and not cared for properly when in labour," Anna Otffinowska, head of the Foundation for Childbirth with Dignity, told Reuters. Pregnant women are often sent away because the hospitals have already spent all their budget for births, she said. Such financing limits were introduced this year despite the pro-family policies of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who rules with the help of the nationalist and traditionalist League of Polish Families (LPR). Hospitals get a pool of money from the state-run health fund to offer services and once the money is gone, the hospital has no other recourse but to cut back services. Women's organisations advise couples planning babies to try to make sure they are born before the last quarter of the year, when budgets are notoriously tight. NO MONEY "The fund is giving me 5 percent less cash for 2007 than the year before and we estimate that we may face around 30 percent more births than in 2006," said Bogdan Chazan, director of Warsaw's Holy Family maternity hospital. Andrzej Troszynski, National Health Fund spokesman, told Reuters there were no limits on funding births. "It is true that we have changed the way these services are financed as a part of the government programme, but every additional birth will be financed by the fund," he said. But hospitals are sceptical. "I did not get any indication from the health fund that it will pay for my 'above-limit' births," Chazan said. To help the already stretched healthcare system, hospitals offer some services for additional fees and the government turns a blind eye on this practice. In maternity hospitals it has become normal to charge women about 700 zlotys ($240) for painkillers during childbirth and some 900 zlotys for nursing care -- more than the equivalent of the minimum monthly wage. But the difficulties have not discouraged the government from pushing its campaign for more births. One traditionalist party in the ruling coalition wants to encourage more women to stay at home to have children and is also lobbying for a total ban on abortion in Poland, which already has some of the toughest regulations in Europe. "The politicians think that forcing women to give birth to all children -- healthy, sick, wanted and unplanned -- will increase the natural growth," said Monika Rejer, a midwife in a maternity hospital.
Source: By Karolina Slowikowska and Gabriela Baczynska, alertnet.org

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Renovating Stables in Poland

Piotr Malecki for The New York Times

The home of Levis Minford and his family near Warsaw, Poland

Levis Minford has never bought a house that was finished. Building and renovating have become almost a habit for Mr. Minford, a native of Idaho, and he always has some kind of construction project going on. So it was no surprise that, when he was looking for a house outside Warsaw, he settled on an 18th-century stable that had to be turned into a house.

Now a film distributor, Mr. Minford was living in Brussels and doing market research for American film studios when, in 1990, he moved to Warsaw, attracted by the business opportunities available in Poland’s young free-market economy. In 1995, he was renting a house in Konstancin, a posh spa town outside Warsaw, when he spotted a desolate red-brick stable on the far outskirts of the resort.

It was in ruins — the roof had caved in — but it attracted him with the promise of quiet and seclusion. The building stands on the edge of a protected forest and faces a pond, separating it from the 17th-century Baroque palace it once served.

“I liked the location and the fact that it was a very unique property,” Mr. Minford, 58, said as he sat on a bench in the grass-covered yard of the U-shaped building. “It’s very different from anything in Warsaw or the States. And it’s only 25 kilometers from the city center.”

The palace and the stable originally belonged to an aristocratic family but were nationalized under communism. The stable was passed to the High School of Agriculture in Warsaw, which allowed it to deteriorate; the palace is now used as a writers’ retreat.

Mr. Minford said it took about a year to complete the sale, which included getting permission from the Polish Interior Affairs Ministry for him, as a foreigner, to buy land. The 7,800-square-meter (1.9-acre) property cost $60,000, the price of a small apartment in Warsaw at the time. Now, he estimates, the property is worth at least 15 times as much, thanks to his improvements and the country’s soaring residential prices, propelled by its growing economy and falling interest rates. A real estate agent generally agrees with his estimate, although hers is slightly less.

Renovating the building, whose middle section is some 250 years old, has been a daunting task over the last few years. Work has been completed on less than half of the 1,500 square meters (1,646 square feet) of living space. He has spent $400,000 on the project and estimates that the rest of the work will cost about $350,000 more, although right now he is unsure whether he will finish.

At the beginning, Mr. Minford hired Belarussian workers, who lived in the building while they worked on it. “I could not communicate with them so I would just draw on a dirt what I wanted them to do,” Mr. Minford said. “I had no plans, no architect. It was all very spontaneous, as a work in progress usually is.”

The men put on a new roof; replaced much of the old red brick in the outside walls and covered them with cement; and installed electricity, oil heating and water pipes. Creating a two-bedroom apartment in a part of the building’s southern wing took about a year.

“I moved in section by section, first to what is now an apartment for the housekeeper,” said Mr. Minford, who lives in the house with his Polish wife, Beata; their 2-year-old son, Luc; two dogs; a cat and a Peruvian pig in another part of the southern wing. The area includes a 160-square-meter (1,772-square-foot) living room and dining area, a kitchen furnished with antique chests and cupboards to create a Provençal look, and a two-level bedroom.

The northern wing, which still features stone feeding troughs for cows, houses a four-car garage.

The oldest section, in the middle of the building, is not finished. “The middle section has much more potential because it is much taller,” Mr. Minford said, pointing to six-meter (almost 20-foot-high) wooden beams that now stand in the middle of the area to support the roof.

He has enlarged the windows to let in more natural light — something he regrets not having done in the southern section of the building — and envisages a living room with a soaring ceiling, a dining room, a wine cellar and bathrooms. But so far there are only unfinished interior walls and scaffolding.

“Renovating is a fun thing to do,” he said. “It’s a way to create your own surroundings. ‘This looked like a good prospect, but it has turned out to be much more than I anticipated.”

Mr. Minford says he sometimes considers selling the property and buying something less ambitious to renovate. But it must be something as private and quiet as his current home, he said.

“It is a good therapy,” he said. “It’s very relaxing. On weekends we rarely leave the property. The only thing is that I could do without the noise of the frogs.”

He smiled as he gestured to the nearby pond. “But I got used to it.”


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Property investors double money in Poland

LONDON: Overseas property investors are doubling their money in Poland, data shows.

The eastern European country has retained its place at the top of Assetz quarterly property investment tracker, giving a total return on cash invested of 100 percent in the past year.

However, bricks and mortar in another recent entrant to the European Union — Bulgaria — are heading for a downturn.

While the country remains a strong position in the tracker, with annual returns of 71 percent, Assetz warns that Bulgarian tourist hot-spots show signs of overheating.

Rental markets are struggling in areas such as Sunny Beach and Bansko, where there is a “severe oversupply” of apartments and lack of demand.

The second quarter figures also show the UK continuing to perform well on the global stage.

The five major UK house price indices point to average annual house price growth of 11.1 percent — equating to an average of more than 20,000 pounds.

As a buy-to-let investment location, Britain also continues to prosper, lying in third place behind Poland and Bulgaria, with gross yields of 6 percent and a total return on cash invested of 68 percent.

France ranks fourth with total returns of 59 percent over the past 12 months, while the newest entrant to the tracker of investment hot-spots, Cape Verde, is also producing rosy returns.

The islands, off Africa’s west coast, have returned 40 percent on cash invested in the past year, boosted by low purchase costs.

Looking ahead, Assetz expects Poland, where a typical two-bedroom apartment costs just 50,000 pounds, to maintain its strong position in the table for the rest of 2007.

New French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s pledge to create a nation of homeowners through a number of tax breaks could spark a mini property boom in France, while the outlook for Cape Verde is also positive.

Stuart Law, managing director of Assetz, said: “Cape Verde is looking like a very interesting prospect, as tourism levels soar and the introduction of mortgages opens the floodgates to investors.”

But he warns investors must take a long-term view and ensure there is a strong rental demand to cover costs.

“Due diligence will become even more important during this next phase of the global property market’s cycle, and investors must be more selective to ensure they are not only buying in the right country, but in the right town or city, in order to benefit from the highest returns.”

Source: dailytimes.com.pk

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Saudi King Abdullah holds talks with Poland’s president

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah arrived in Warsaw on Monday for two days of talks with Poland’s leaders on bolstering economic ties and fighting organized crime.

Opening the first visit ever by a Saudi king to Poland, Abdullah met with President Lech Kaczynski, who greeted him with a military honor guard in the yard of the Presidential Palace in downtown Warsaw. The king was also to hold talks with Economy Minister Piotr Wozniak later in the day.

On Tuesday, Abdulld closing out the third set in 20 minutes.

Tim Henman and Marat Safin were also to play Monday. On the women’s side, two-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams was scheduled to face Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain, and French Open champion Justine Henin, third-ranked Jelena Jankovic.

Defending champion Amelie Mauresmo will start her tournament against Jamea Jackson of the United States. The fourth-seeded Frenchwoman won two Grand Slam titles last year, but she missed nearly two months of action after having an appendectomy in March.

We are probably, I don’t know, four or five (who are) able to get the trophy this year,’ said Mauresmo, who lost in the third round at the French Open. Yeah, I do consider myself part of these four or five.’


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Food giants cash in on a taste of Poland

Borsch packet soup and goulash ready-meals are the new battleground for British retailers and manufacturers as they meet the demand for home-grown comfort food from the country's burgeoning Polish community.

An estimated 750,000 Poles - 2 per cent of the total Polish population - now live in Britain and the market opportunity afforded by the Polish pound (actually the zloty) is not going unnoticed. The Centre for Economics and Business Research believes the average Polish migrant worker has a disposable income of between £6,000 and £7,000 a year.

Now Nestle is going head to head with its arch-rival Heinz by bringing Winiary, its Knorr-style Polish food brand, to the UK. The brand is a household name in Poland, generating sales of around £100m and Nestle is to launch the bestselling product lines, including the white and red borsch-flavoured packet soup, stock cubes and favourite pudding, kisiel o smaku truskawkowym, a soft strawberry jelly. The move is backed by a campaign in Dziennik Polski, the daily Polish language paper which has a UK circulation of around 30,000.

'We know that people who come to live in Britain look for brands they recognise,' says Deirdre O'Donoghue, Nestle's director of food. 'By bringing Winiary to Britain we give them familiarity and trust hundreds of miles from home.'

The competition is already sophisticated. Heinz stole the march with the launch of a ready-meal range under the Pudliszki brand this year. The dishes, which include pork and beef goulash and stuffed cabbage in tomato sauce, are aimed at homesick Poles, but the company believes they could also find favour among Brits who are becoming increasingly familiar with their cuisine through themed restaurants and delis.

Around 375,000 Poles have registered to work in the UK, but many more have arrived as self-employed job seekers since European Union enlargement in 2004. The impact they are having on Britain's economic life is well-documented but the cultural change arising from the Polish diaspora was reflected in comments last week by Home Secretary John Reid, who said that more Roman Catholic schools might be required to cater for their children.

Retailers have been quick to cater for the Polish palate. All major supermarkets now stock Polish food , with some introducing notices and labelling in Polish. Kingfisher, the owner of B&Q, has dual-language signs in selected stores to help Polish builders find what they need.

Tesco, whose success owes much to its ability to identify new opportunities, has added Polish fare to its extensive ethnic food business, which already includes dedicated Asian, Halal, Afro-Caribbean and Kosher ranges. It employs a Polish food buyer and stocks hundreds of specialities ranging from exotic treats such as Silesian sausage and hunting-style goulash to the more mundane pickled cabbage. It is able to source foods from its stores in Poland with supplies coming over on a weekly basis.

'The types of items Polish people have told us they miss most are comfort foods such as soup, pickled cabbage, and marshmallows covered with chocolate as well as various meats,' says Elena Connell, ethnic foods buying manager at Tesco. 'But there is also a big demand from the huge number of people born in Britain of Polish parents who want foods that will remind them of their roots.

'The first batch of products we brought from Poland were generally tinned or in packets, but we now sell chilled meat and bread. But it's not only Polish customers who are buying these; certain lines, such as soft drinks, sweet delicacies and beer, have become very popular with non-Poles too.'

Pole positions

· Road signs in Cheshire were duplicated in Polish to solve Polish-speaking drivers' confusion about diversion signs. Some councils' street signs are in Polish.

· Police in Consett, County Durham, are to be issued with prompt cards to help them communicate with the area's growing Polish community of around 600. The cards contain phrases such as, 'Are you injured?' and, 'Please turn your music down'.

· The Reading Chronicle became the first newspaper to produce a Polish edition. The Reading Kronika has seven pages of Polish content and is sold in Polish delicatessens, shops and clubs across Berkshire.

· Brewer SABMilller says sales of its top Polish beer brand, Tyskie, have risen threefold in Britain.

· In January, NatWest introduced Welcome, the first dedicated Polish bank account in the UK, offering both current account services and access to customers' funds in Poland.

Source:By Zoe Wood and Linda MacDonald, observer.guardian.co.uk

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Exhibition to boost US$200m Poland-UAE trade

Dubai is to host a significant Poland-UAE trade exhibition with the aim of strengthening trade ties between Poland and the Middle East.

The Polish Business Days Exhibition, to be held this November, will showcase as many as 100 companies from the Eastern European nation, across several key industry sectors.

It will take place under the patronage of HH Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Economy, and run in conjunction with a Polish-Arab business forum.
olish exports to the UAE increased by 52% last year, and total trade between the two countries is now valued at over US$200m per annum.

"Historically, there are very strong trade ties between Poland and the Middle East, and this year's business show is designed to cement that cooperation," Jerzy Karaim, president of organisers Polexpo Exhibitions, told Arabian Business.

"As an exporting nation, Poland enjoys strong brand recognition across the region. This year, as well as re-emphasising existing relationships, we are hoping to build markets for small and medium-sized businesses that are new to the Middle East," he added.

Poland is already well-represented in the UAE, through furniture brands including MDD and PFK, and heavy industry companies such as Polimex, a building company that supplies cranes, utilities, pipelines and forklift trucks to the Emirates. Polish bus manufacturer Solaris recently announced a deal with Dubai Municipality for the provision of 225 vehicles.

In addition, the company is in negotiations with Abu Dhabi Municipality to supply another batch of 225 buses for the capital.
Source:Andre White, arabianbusiness.com

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