This is my great honour to present to the readers of my blog the interview with Mrs. Pascale Delcomminette, Head of Wallonie Foreign Trade and Investment Agency (AWEX) in Brussels (Belgium)
We would like to build, together with Poland, special added value to European market
- Cooperation between Poland and Wallonia has a long history. In what sectors our partneship cooperation should be improved? I know there is very good cooperation in aviation and space, it will be also in railway sector, but we probably need more support also in other areas?
- We have really strong cooperation in aviation service, also railways, but also in building materials’ area – we participate every year in Budma Fair for instance. But the most important are chemical and life science sectors in Poland, which are the first numer to us. Poland is our ninth partner, in fact we increase growth here 10 percent more every following year. Our purpose is to improve our international relations in all these sectors, so as in activity connected with competitiveness clusters. For ten years now our government has developed competitiveness clusters, and we would be more and more specifically interested in mechanical engineering, life science, agrifood, so as green sector and improving our acticity in aeronautics and airspace. We could be better in ICT, also not limited to railways sector. Our companies are quite small, the average size of our companies are less than nine people average. We have special network of trade commissionners, – about one hundred around the world, who support us in international contracts, searching for new contacts and distributors, organize trade missions and fairs.
- One of the most interesting and important business sector in Poland is railways. Why is it so important for Wallonia to promote cooperation in railway sector in Poland, of course with support of regional and national authorities?
- It has been increased in the past few years, in very different subsectors, railway infrastructure, ICT linked to railways, simulators, glass sector connected with railways too… I have to add also that we have very rich history in railway sector, which is connected with steam industry, I mean John Cockerill company, which this year has its 200 anniversary of existence. It is so important to have industrialisation based on the rich discoveries of the past, improving throughout the years thanks to, for instance, digital innovations. Our potential in Wallonia in industrial basis is booming and we woudl like to share it with our partners, also in Poland. Of course it is very important to have support of regional and local administration in this subject and we do a lot of efforts to make good and longlasting cooperation with them.
- You do a lot of efforts to make good cooperation with Polish railways, so as companies in railway sector. How are good examples of such cooperation?
- We cooperate, among others, with International Fair TRAKO in Gdansk, we are present there for the first time. We have active cooperation with, amont others PKP PLK and small companies, which work as subcontractor of Polish railways.
- You, as AWEX, create and co-create many activities, also in culture area. You support cultural events, exbibitions, support musicians from Poland and Wallonia… Why is it also so important area in your activity?
- We sell our cooperation as ecosystem. We want to broaden our economic mission, so we need to support it with other methods, as culture, research and innovation, investing in academic cooperation… If we want to create real link between partners, between different countries, we have to involve in special ecosystem, where everything is very well linked. For instance – in competitiveness clusters we have not only companies, research centres, but also universities and training centres. If we talk about culture it is the same. We want to show to our partners all our assets, including culture, but also offer some exchanges, among other for teachers of French language, students, but also artists, both from Wallonia, as Poland. What we do is part of our trust link. People can trust each other when they know each other better. One of the ways to know better is to share culture, as part of our ecosystem. And it works.
- AWEX also supports scientists and universities, so as local authorities and NGOs who are interested and taking part in projects in Horizon 2020 Programme. Your successes in this field are also very important…
- We have invested a lot in last few years, especially in involving existing relationships in building new and bigger partnerships in the field of new technologies, but also competitiveness clusters, and links between them, but also establishing agrements of clusters and research and development centres. We also want to be present at European Commission level, to active create and cooperate new and important connections, which are involved, for instance in key initiatives, like Union of Innovation.
- Poland also plays special role in Eastern Partnership project. We have strong and important experiences connected with for instance trainings for administrative boards, so as future businessmen, interested in creating their own small companies. We also have some practice regarding using European and other international funds in supporting these communities in among others, democratic changes, so as implementing economic common projects. Is Wallonia interested in such kind of cooperation?
- Of course, Poland is the most important market in this area and is the natural connection, so we would like to count on you, to go further together, to share our potential in new, Eastern countries, to get more international relationships and to build together special added value to European market.
The interview has been authorized.