Trade, political and cultural relations between Poland and Persia begun centuries ago. In their joint history, there are several unique moments that show the mutual respect and friendship between the two countries. This natural process of mutual interaction was dramatically enhanced with the implementation of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Andrzej Pilat underlined that sound implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) helped triple trade exchanges between Poland and Iran.
He noted that Iran and Poland could further expand economic relations directly and without relying on a third party.
He also hailed bilateral trade ties between Iran and Poland saying The Polish Chamber of Commerce has so far sent 300 traders to Iran who have gained the opportunities of Iranian market.
Iran sits atop 11 percent of oil and 18 percent of gas reserves in the world, Andrzej Pilat said announcing that Poland will attend the 22nd Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Exhibition due to be held in Iran in May which is among the most significant oil and gas events in the world in terms of the number of participants and its diversity.
The presence of famous foreign companies as well as domestic producers and industrialists provide a good chance for mutual cooperation in view of signature of contracts.
"The Polish Chamber of Commerce has so far sent 300 traders to Iran, more from the banking sector to sign contracts between the banks of the two countries, since when there are no such contracts, traders cannot transfer money," he told Mehr News correspondent:
How do you evaluate the ties between Iran and Poland and what were the achievements of your trips to the Islamic Republic?
The Polish delegation includes 25 businesspersons from all over the country, from the mining, chemical, agriculture, food and industry sectors.
The Polish Chamber of Commerce so far has sent 300 traders to Iran. The first group included more of the banking sector people to sign contracts between banks of the two countries, since when there are no such contracts, traders cannot transfer money.
Two of the biggest Polish banks could sign contract with several Iranian banks to open the letter of credit (LC) and now the banks can exchange imported goods.
A Polish tractor manufacturer has also signed agreements with the Iranian side, which is a very interesting one; "we will buy small tractors from Iran and instead will sell big ones to Iran."
We have a few contracts about a joint venture between Iran and Poland in Iran; Poland will build huge warehouses and silos for wheat in Iran. The Polish goods will be supplied in these warehouses to be sent to the neighboring countries.
Polish petrochemical specialists will attend the Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Exhibition in Iran. We also signed contracts for the purchase of Iranian oil and the first oil shipments entered Poland, recently.
We have built the largest gas transmission port in Poland to purchase high amounts of gas from Iran and to use it not only in Poland, but to send it to the other European countries.
Oil sales have begun to Poland’s second largest refinery, Grupa Lotos SA. The first Polish company to purchase oil from Iran after the removal of sanctions against the country in January was Grupa Lotos, which is a vertically integrated oil company based in Gdańsk. The company is listed in the Polish index WIG30 and its main activity branches are crude oil production, refining and marketing of oil products.
In August, it said that it had bought 2 million barrels of crude from Iran in a one-off purchase that had been carried out in late June.
Have the agreements signed during your visit to Iran been implemented?
Poland has inked contracts with five Iranian banks all have been implemented and financial transfer has taken place.
What programs did you have in your visit to Qazvin? Did the Polish delegation sign any agreement?
It was the first time that our businesspersons went to Qazvin where we did not know already. Polish merchants negotiated with other merchants in the city. The negotiations were satisfactory but no agreement was signed, since the two sides got familiar with each other and will decide on the possible deals and agreements in the near future.
Polish people were welcomed and treated with friendliness by Iranians, not only in Qazvin but also in East Azerbaijan and Khuzestan provinces. We are grateful for this assistance, extended by Iranians and we remain mindful of this moment in our memory.
You said there is no problem in money transfer between Iran and Poland, however Mr. Tadeusz Kościński, deputy Economic Development minister, said banking programs for money transfer is in the early stages and no agreements have been signed yet. Does the insurance and banking obstacles between the two countries is resolved completely?
No. All problems have been solved and obstacles have almost been taken and there will be no financial transfer problems in the future. A series of banking contracts has been sealed and one of the largest banks in Poland, Bank Pekao S.A., is scheduled to open representation in Iran this year.
Speaking from your perspective as the chairman of Polish Chamber of Commerce, have you noticed through the last year much more interest from both sides in expanding bilateral ties?
2 years ago trade relations between Iran and Poland was not satisfactory in economic field. They had great trade transactions in 80s and 90s; however, by the time of imposing sanctions against the Islamic Republic, it fell considerably. After the implementation of JCPOA, and the removal of sanctions it immediately flourished.
Poland was among the first countries to approach Iran once the process of lifting international sanctions started.
The key prosperity in ties was when Poland enjoyed Iranian oil and gas market and could buy oil and gas from Iran for the first time, which was worth billions of dollars.
Interview by: Lachin Rezaian