A webinar organised by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Beijing was held on Monday, April 26, devoted to the Free Trade Port on the island of Hainan and the prospects for business cooperation between Polish companies and China.
The aim of the event was to present for the first time for potential institutions in Poland the prospects for cooperation with this province, as well as to recognize interest in the prospects for cooperation with the Free Trade Port.
The meeting was attended by: Wojciech Zajączkowski – Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the People’s Republic of China, Adam Bralczyk – Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Guangzhou, Artur Gradziuk – Head of the Economic Department, Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Beijing (moderator of the meeting).
Five business-related organisations were invited to the webinar: Poland-Asia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Janusz Piechociński), Polish Chamber of Yachting and Water Sports Industry – Polskie Jachty (Marcin Bak), Polish Vodka Association (Andrej Szumowski), International Amber Association (Aleksandra Harasiuk) and KIGM, which was represented by Rafał Machowiak. Mateusz Dawidowski, a representative of the Port of Gdansk in Shanghai, and Zenon Kosiniak-Kamysz, former ambassador of Poland to Singapore, were also invited to the meeting.
In the first part of the meeting the most important aspects concerning the future role of the new zone on Hainan Island were discussed in the context of the current business opportunities and trends in the economic policy of the PRC.
Hainan Island is to be fully included in the programme for the construction of a special economic zone, which means the implementation of additional market-oriented reforms aimed at creating a free trade zone and one of the main ports in Asia (Free Trade Port).
The new economic zone
The new economic zone on the island of Hainan creates opportunities to strengthen economic cooperation between Poland and the PRC, in particular to promote and export Polish products in the field of luxury goods (boats/yachts, cosmetics, jewellery, accessories) and food industry products (alcohol), as well as to develop cooperation in sectors related to trade services, including primarily transport.
In the second part of the meeting, the representatives of the invited organisations commented on the possibility of their sectors benefiting from the above-mentioned project. Taking into account its nature and the expectations of the Chinese side, as well as the trends in global trade and cargo transportation, according to the Secretary General of KIGM, among the members of the Chamber the most interested in the project may be Polish ports, especially in connection with their expansion plans – the Central Port in Gdansk, the External Port in Gdynia, or the Deepwater Container Terminal in Świnoujście.
In the province of Haitian, infrastructure is being dynamically developed, including the expansion of ports. Official statistics state that container handling on the island increased by 44% in 2020. The island’s largest port, Yangpu, is increasing its capacity from 650,000 TEU to 1.2 million – this is expected to happen as early as June 2021. According to the development plan, the container terminal at Yangpu port will increase its handling capacity to 5 million TEU by 2025.
At the end of the meeting and after listening to the positions of the guests, the organisers said that from the quoted statements they conclude that the project of the Free Trade Port of Hainan has met with interest and, therefore, at a later date a meeting with a broader format will be proposed with the decision-makers of the province and interested members of the invited organisations.