Bulletin No. 60 Autumn 2017

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TB Trucks invests in Wolica • Merger of NPCH and NPCC

60 Autumn 2017


Bulletin Autumn 2017 4





A word from the Editor

6 REPORT Merger of NPCH and NPCC 8



+ Merger of NPCH and NPCC



A .... rental car?


Chief Economist of ING Bank Śląski Rafał Benecki


Anna Schmidt


Chief Economist Rafał Benecki of ING Bank Śląski on the Polish economy



Twan Verhoeven of TB Trucks * Trailer Service Polska


Staf Beems


Huub Droogh


Adam Czerniak on the Judiciary Crisis


Axell Logistics 20 years in Poland


Remco van der Kroft

Why TB Trucks invests in a new body paint shop in Poland

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Editor’s note Dear members and friends of the Chamber, I hope you had a wonderful holiday time in the company of the people closest to you. Here at the chamber, we definitely enjoyed a nice little break ourselves but, at the same time, we have also been very busy finishing off the old season and preparing for the new. First of all, we are very excited to announce the merger between the NPCH, the Netherlands Dutch Council for Trade Promotion, and our Chamber. This is an excellent fit between two organisations that are both aiming to improve the business relations between the Netherlands and Poland and which both want to serve the interests of Dutch companies who (want to) do business in Poland. As a result of the merger, there will be one organisation and one membership for all members. The new combined organisation will have a firm foothold in the Netherlands, with solid connections to the Dutch political and business networks, and also a strong and growing organisation with an administrative base in Poland. You can read more details about the merger later in this issue of Bulletin.

Bulletin is the quarterly magazine of the NetherlandsPolish Chamber of Commerce. It gives a voice to our members and informs about the activities the Chamber undertakes. The views expressed in the columns are theirs alone. The editor-in-chief is not responsible for the accuracy of the statements made by the columnists. Publisher: NPCC Managing Editor: Elro van den Burg Editor: Anna Kozińska Columnists: Huub Droogh Staf Beems Anna Schmidt Remco van der Kroft Photos: Elro van den Burg Netherlands Embassy in Poland Advertisement management: NPCC Contact: www.nlchamber.com.pl office@nlchamber.com.pl +48 22 419 54 44


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At the same time, we have also opened a new chapter of the chamber in Gdańsk. We had been looking for quite some time to open our activities in this historic city with strong ties to the Netherlands and KLM–Air France’s decision to start up a connection with Amsterdam seemed to be the perfect signal to investigate further the potential of the region. Our new chairman in the region will be Peter Horsten and we are delighted to welcome him onto our board. You can read more about him later in the magazine as well. I would also like to welcome Timea Balajcza onto the board, who was elected to that position by the members during our last General Assembly in May. We have been very busy over the summer preparing for you a completely revamped flagship event - our Orange Ball, formerly known as the Rijsttafel. We saw that many organisations are now organising events like this and we felt the need to change the concept a little. Minska 65 is the new location and background for this gala event and we have prepared many new attractions for you, as well as keeping some of the old familiar elements, so that we can offer you a truly spectacular networking event to kick off the new season. Over the summer, we sent a letter of concern to President Duda to underline our concerns regarding the three new laws on the judiciary that were being prepared. In the column from our Chairman, Remco van der Kroft, you can read more about that endeavour. During the summer we also relocated to our new premises at ul. Mieroslawskiego 23. We are very happy to have doubled the size of our office space, and we certainly needed to give our increased team some more space. Over the years, we have had a growing demand for our own space that we could adjust to our own requirements and we would like to thank Gosselin Mobility for their excellent support with our relocation. Last but not least, we have had to bid farewell to Paulien Hofman, our intern who had been working at the Chamber since March. We now have a new intern, Magdalena Nowak, who is studying at the Warsaw School of Economics, and you are sure to meet her soon at our events for the new season. Starting on October 9, we will have some temporary additional work from an incoming mission organised by the NPCC and WTC Friesland and so, to handle all the extra work that this will bring, we have hired another member of staff for our office. Are we getting it right? Let me know at e.vandenburg@nlchamber.com.pl Elro van den Burg Managing Director of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce




Activities of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce 9 September Annual Charity Ball Location: Warsaw Mińska 65

18 October Transport Seminar Location: Poznań More info will be announced via our website

28 September Speed Business Mixer Location: Kraków More info will be announced via our website

19 October FDI Debate Location: Gdańsk

19 and 26 Video Editing Course September Location: Poznań More info will be announced via our website

7 November Speed Business Mixer Location: Warsaw More info will be announced via our website

3 October Business Drink Location: Warsaw More info will be announced via our website

5 December Business Drink 9 – 13 October Trade Mission for Dutch Investors

Location: Warsaw More info will be announced via our website

Location: Gdańsk and Warsaw

Please follow our NPCC website: www.nlchamber.com.pl for an updated calendar issue 60




Merger of NPCH and NPCC helps Dutch companies in Poland After many years of partnering to support Dutch companies doing business in Poland, the Netherlands Polish Council for Trade Promotion (NPCH) and the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce (NPCC) are merging their


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activities into one organisation. The new NPCC will continue to have a strong foothold in Poland and will have an active operation in the Netherlands that will secure strong ties with private companies and the public sector.

The Netherlands and Poland enjoy close economic connections. There are about 2,500 enterprises operating in the Polish market with Dutch shareholding that are employing over 120,000 people in Poland. The Netherlands is the 1st largest investor in Poland with in total € 30,3 billion invested end of 2015. In 2016 the Netherlands exported €10,6 billion to and imported €7,8 billion from Poland. The growth in this volume continues to be very interesting. Due to the changed political context, it is important to intensify the relationship with stakeholders in both countries that can influence the business climate in Poland.

“We are very excited to be merging with the NPCH. The merger comes as a natural step since we have already been working closely together with the NPCH on many events. The NPCH board brings in an excellent network and knowledge, which will help to align the NPCC further to the needs in the market in the Netherlands,” says Elro van den Burg, Managing Director of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce.

The landscape for international trade and trade relations in the Netherlands is changing. Dutch government as well as organisations in the private sector led by VNO-NCW / MKB Nederland are investing to improve the public-private cooperation on promoting foreign trade and investments.

The NPCC is an independent non-profit organisation with no political affiliations. Founded in 1998, the Chamber brings together more than 220 companies from Poland and the Netherlands and organises over 60 events annually, supporting companies from the Netherlands with kick-start activities, seminars and network events.

In order to become a stronger partner in this changing landscape, it is important for the new merged organisation to have a wellconnected foothold in the Netherlands with effective contacts within these public and private sector organisations next to an active organisation in Poland that is able to open doors locally for companies from the Netherlands. Therefore, in 2016, the NPCC and NPCH started to investigate the possibility of a stronger cooperation and this resulted in the current merger. The new organisation will focus on supporting Dutch companies active in Poland. At the same time, the chamber is open for strong cooperation with other players in the field of Dutch-Polish relations. “Dutch companies interested in Poland are always in need of experienced support on the ground in Poland to make plans work. I am glad that, due to the merger, we can now offer this to our members that want to become more active in Poland,” says NPCH Chairman Ben van de Vrie. “With a foothold in the Netherlands, NPCC can more easily reach out to Dutch companies looking for opportunities in Poland and protect their interests by securing close ties with the Ministries in the Hague”, says Remco van der Kroft, Chairman of the NetherlandsPolish Chamber of Commerce.

About NPCC

Its members cover all sectors and sizes and the NPCC is present in Warsaw, Gdańsk, Poznań, and Łódź.

About NPCH The NPCH was founded by and for companies that are active or are interested in the Polish market. Membership of the NPCH offers members direct access to their network. The NPCH organizes network meetings, seminars and trade missions and offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to gather relevant information, to exchange experiences and to build a network. The boards of both organisations have signed a merger agreement on 9 September. The joint organisation will be a single point of contact for Dutch companies doing business in Poland. Members will pay now one fee for access to services, advisory and networks in both countries. The merger will take effect from the autumn of 2017 and the new organisation will be operating under the name the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce (NPCC).

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news and events

e g n a r O ll 017 a 2 B


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news and events

We thank the sponsors of the Orange Ball for helping us organising our flagship event. In our next Bulletin you can read a full report on the evening. Main Sponsor:


Media Partners:

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news and events

NPCC opens in Gdańsk and Peter Horsten becomes local chairman The Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce is opening a new chapter in Gdańsk in September. The local chairperson of the chapter will be the entrepreneur, cofounder & Managing Director of Goyello, Peter Horsten. Goyello is a software development company based in Gdańsk, Koszalin and the Netherlands.

In his leisure time, he happily takes advantage of the beautiful countryside surrounding Gdańsk and he also trains for triathlons on a daily basis.

A sociologist and electrotechnical engineer, Mr. Horsten is married and a father of 3 sons. He has been living with his family in Gdańsk for 10 years and he believes it is extremely important to contribute to the Pomeranian (business) environment.

He is a successful entrepreneur and a wellknown person in the region and his high profile will certainly help to expand the network in the region, which will be beneficial for all members of the NPCC,” says Elro van den Burg.

“We are delighted that Peter Horsten is willing to support the chamber in the Gdańsk area.

Summer Business Drink

Main sponsor Dehora Consultancy promotes our Bulletin

On 6th June, we organised a Business Drink in the beer garden of the Hilton Warsaw Hotel. Fortunately, the weather was good, which helped us to enjoy both this special place and also the delicious barbecue food, consisting of hamburgers and shashliks, prepared by the hotel. The 59th edition of our quarterly magazine Bulletin had been freshly printed so it was also handed out to participants. Prior to the Business Drink, we held our Annual General Meeting, during which we voted in a new Board Member of the NPCC. Timea Balajcza - COO of Balajcza Specialized Translations - received the most votes and she will now join the Board of the NPCC for the next three years. The Business Drink started with an introduction by Elro van der Burg – Managing


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Director of the NPCC and Guusje Korthals– Altes, Head of the Economic Department at the Dutch Embassy. During the event we also said farewell to Marianne Sinke – Deputy Head of the Economic Department. She had been at the Embassy for 5 years and has now returned to the Netherlands to continue her career in the Dutch government. The sponsor of the June Business Drink was Déhora Consultancy Group and Managing Consultant Łukasz Chodkowski gave a presentation about the activities of the company and he also gave away 2 orange health watches in the raffle! Our thanks go to the main sponsor, Déhora Consultancy Group, and to the 50 or so members and friends of the Chamber who participated in this Business Drink.

Cofounder & Managing Director of Goyello, Peter Horsten

New headquarters of the NPCC After 5 wonderful years in the Senator Building on Bielańska Street, we have now moved to our new location at Mierosławskiego Street. Although we will miss our previous home, the new office gives us much greater possibilities and this larger space fits perfectly with the ambitions of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce. We invite everybody to visit us at our new premises. From 17th July, our headquarters are located at the following address: Gen. Ludwika Mierosławskiego 23 01-567 Warszawa + 48 22 419 54 44

From left to right: Anna Kozińska, Elro van den Burg, Ilona Wiśniewska and Paulien Hofman


news and events

Foreign Direct Investment Debate in Kraków On 8th June, the third regional debate on the impact of Foreign Direct Investment in the Lesser Poland region took place in Kraków and was attended by over 50 guests representing various business sectors, municipal governments, local organisations and the media. On this occasion, the event was organised by 3 bilateral Chambers of Commerce active in the Kraków region – the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce, the Scandinavian-

Guests are listening to a discussion on FDI climate in Poland

The Dutch lion roaring again!

Polish Chamber of Commerce and the French-Polish Chamber of Commerce – which represent the interests of a diverse group of foreign investors present on the Polish market.

The Netherlands and Denmark were the last two teams standing at the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017. This was an occasion that the Dutch community in Poland could not miss, especially since the women’s team had never previously qualified for the final of a major tournament.

The panel debate was led by Adam Czerniak from Polityka Insight and it was attended by representatives of local authorities and also foreign investors in the region: Rafał Kulczycki – Director at the Department of

The fan zone created by the NPCC members, Poolshoogte and Hol van de Leeuw at Sketch Pub resulted in a large crowd of fans dressed in orange and creating a lively and truly Dutch atmosphere. We believe that this support played its part in helping the Oranje team to a fantastic 4-2 victory, making it an unforgettable evening.

City Development, the Marshal’s Office of Kraków; Robert Maciaszek – Director at the Department of Economic Development, the Marshal’s Office of the Lesser Poland Region; Tomasz Wachnicki – Healthcare Business Director CE and Board Member at Air Liquide Polska; Marek Potoczny – Director of Public Funds and Industrial Projects at Valeo Autosystemy Sp. z o.o. and Jacek Siwiński – General Manager at VELUX Poland.

Farewell to intern Paulien Hofman At the end of July we said farewell to our intern, Paulien Hofman, who had worked for us over the previous 5 months. Paulien had a lot of contact with our Members, helping us organise events, and she was also the main author of recent newsletters. We were impressed by the speed with which she was able to pick up new things and adapt to the Polish environment. Paulien, thank you for all your efforts for the Chamber and we wish you all the best in your future career!

Fans of the Dutch woman’s soccer tournament

Paulien’s duties have been taken over by Magdalena Nowak, the NPCC’s new intern. Welcome to the team!

Paulien Hofman at the new NPCC premises

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news and events

First from right Healthcare vice-Minister Zbigniew Król, Second from left is prof. Mark Van Houndenhoven and second from right is Guido Danen.

Dutch - Polish Health Care Summit a big success

they are far ahead when it comes to prevention and healthcare in the society.”

During a Dutch Polish Health Summit that was held in Warsaw at June 22 and was supported by Philips, the NPCC and the Netherlands Embassy in Warsaw, experts spoke on the aging society in Poland and how to create financial recourses to support them. Coordinated medical care has proven itself in many European countries, including the Netherlands.

“Yes it does, for instance the elimination of asbestos from the environment. We have shut down production, identified where it is still present and, finally, we conducted elimination in exposed places. We have learned from how this is done in the Netherlands and both sides can learn from each other and benefit from this cooperation. There is still a lot of this material in the Netherlands and I know that you have significant problems with utilization. This problem also still exists in Poland, but it is something that we have already got rid of on the large scale.”

Both countries have a different model of patient care. In the Netherlands, a family doctor (huisarts) acts as a coordinator who oversees the whole process of treatment and provides a point of contact for the patient. Public, private and scientific communities work closely together and coordinate medical procedures. “Co-ordination is nowadays a fashionable and important topic in health care, both in Poland and in European countries. In some of them this model is in the implementation stage. Coordinated care is one of the challenges not only to optimize costs in the healthcare system, but also to create a better environment for patients’ recovery, says Michał Kępowicz, External Relations Manager, Philips Poland.


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Among the guests was Vice-Minister of the Ministry of healthcare Zbigniew Król who spoke exclusively to the Bulletin about the Dutch healthcare sector and what Poland can learn from it: “Looking at how the healthcare system functions in Poland you can find many examples that were based and inspired on experiences in the Netherlands. And we want to continue to do so, since the Netherlands stand out in this field. For instance

Is there a specific topic that comes to your mind?

Many participants of the healthcare sector were present at the Dutch Polish Summit

Chamber News

events fromnews our and members

New Transparency in Healthcare prices Bulletin talked to prof. Mark Van Houndenhoven, Chief Executive Officer of the Sint Maartenskliniek, Nijmegen who came with a mission to Poland to create more price transparency in the world of medical devices. Why are you collecting data on the prices of the devices also here in Poland? Prof. Mark Van Houndenhoven: “It is my aim create more transparency about the price of the products and that hospitals have the same information on the products and as a result we can buy products at a better price. That might not always mean the lowest price but at least the best price for the best products we need for our patients.” Because the market at the moment is not completely transparent? “No if you look at the market there is one big secret left in the world that are my passwords for my credit cards and the prices we pay as hospitals for our medical devices. It’s the lack

of transparency that gives the power to the big companies to make the profits and the profits should be for the society and not only for the shareholders of the big pharmaceutical companies.” I understand that you need lots of data to make benchmarks but what would information from Polish hospitals help you? “I think we need the information from all over the world - also from Poland because I think that if we know the systems behind the creation of the price we can improve the knowledge how to make a better and more valuable healthcare. And I believe that they also need our data from the benchmark from the other countries so we can help each other.”

What can people at this conference learn from the Netherlands? “I don’t know if I can learn the people a lot at this conference because I believe that the healthcare workers all over the world do their jobs in their best interest for their patients but what we do in the Netherlands we really see the patient as the partner in providing the care and also the family of the patient. So if elderly person needs a new hip or new knee or new heart valve the family is also the part of the care for that patient. And not only in the hospital but also in the aftercare so I believe that we are the frontrunners in really making the patient our partner. We are very proud about our system but we are still starting to really involve the patient as the partner and I think we do a good job but if you ask the patients in the Netherlands we can still do a better job every day.”

The Netherlands: A healthy example Bulletin talked to Guido Danen of the Task Force Health Care from the Netherlands, one of the speakers at the conference. What is the reason of your visit to Poland? Guido Danen “As we’ve already discussed in the presentation today we are among the best healthcare systems in the world which is something we are proud of. It doesn’t come cheap it costs a lot of money but we see that improving healthcare is something you do together, it’s not something that you do in your country alone we also look at interesting developments occurring other countries like Poland. And conferences such as today give an appropriate space to identify the areas where we can cooperate and maybe can share ideas experiences knowledge to together make our shared healthcare even better.” What can the Netherlands a frontrunner in healthcare, learn from Poland? “Yes we have a good system in the Netherlands we have very good specialists but that does not mean that you should close your eyes and stop

looking around. Because today we are among the best, but we are dealing with an aging population, rising healthcare cost so you have to keep looking around to see where the interesting developments are coming from which can be in US, it can be in Central - East Europe like Poland. We see that here in this country the government spends much less on healthcare. We also see that they have specific areas where they have very high expertise like cardiac surgery – where they have one of the best systems in the world which is very interesting to see.” You are working for the task force Healthcare. What do you do exactly and why do you have to travel abroad for that? “The Task force health care is a public-private platform in the Netherlands for life sciences and healthcare. We are a not-for-profit privately funded foundation that tries to connect the Dutch healthcare system so we are trying to make the partners in the platform talk to each other.

So we connect the government, companies, knowledge institutes, university medical centers, but also NGOs and we help them with their efforts of going abroad. We do some research together, do trade and bring them in contact with the relevant stakeholders abroad.” What is the scale of the interest of Dutch companies in the health- and life science sector to go abroad to countries like Poland? “I would say very big. We are here at this seminar to take a closer look at the Polish healthcare system, but I can already say that there are dozens of organizations in the Netherlands to expand their operations abroad into regions such as Central – Eastern Europe. As an organization we are growing. Last year we worked with 4 people and at this point we are with 11 people. We notice that the healthcare in world is booming. Companies from the Netherlands are very much aware of that and are looking for the opportunities.”

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from our members

Arval Polska receives prestigious awards In June, Arval Polska won two prestigious prizes awarded by the two largest fleet professional magazines on the market. Arval MTR (1 to 24 months) won the Fleet Award 2017 in the category of short/mid-term rental products organised by “Flota” magazine. This is a highly

prestigious prize as it is awarded by experts from the fleet management sector. The prize was announced during a gala ceremony which took place in Warsaw on 26th May 2017. The Arval Polska marketing team will Green fleet awarded during gala of fleet magazine

leverage on that award in the further promotion of MTR on the market. The company’s Greenval insurance package also won in another competition - “Fleet Derby 2017” - organised by “Fleet” magazine.

Arval also won in the category short/midterm rental products

The prize was given in the category for best fleet insurance product. In a period of turbulent changes to insurance prices offered by local Polish insurers, the fact that Arval Polska can benefit from the tailor-made Greenval product is a great advantage.

Raben – Trustworthy brand 2017 Raben has been awarded the title of Trustworthy Brand 2017 by Polish entrepreneurs. The results were based on a survey conducted by Kantar Millward Brown.

Group. "Our special value is our people: an experienced and dedicated team focused on

exchanging experiences and sharing common goals,” he added.

The purpose of the survey was to find out the opinions about companies considered as the best brands present on the Polish market. The survey was sent online to 20,000 companies, with 960 entrepreneurs eventually taking part. The respondents were asked to give a spontaneous answer to the question - which brands in the given category did they trust the most? Only one brand could be identified in each category and in the category of logistics services, Raben Group came out on top. "The trust of our customers has been building up over the years and it needs to be taken care of every day. We have been doing it for over 25 years, as proved by the clients who have been with us for years," said Ewald Raben, CEO of Raben


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Ewald Raben of the Raben Group (middle) together with the publisher and the research director of Kantar Millward Brown.


A .... rental car? There are certain areas in our life where we simply expect convenience. We are ready to pay even hard cash for that comfort. Our money will reach the provider who is able to meet our expectations and guarantee peace of mind. At the end of the day our life comprises of moments, and these should be as good as possible. This is as simple as that. And, as business, just as life, doesn’t tolerate a vacuum. Over time each one of its elements, every market niche, each area, regardless of its size becomes saturated by manufacturers or service providers. So in order to remain competitive, to be able to go head to head with the competition and avoid being pulled out of the market, but make money and grow, we have to remember to supply our customers with superior products and services. Often at a low price dictated by the market. What then to invest in? How to manage growth and how to continually improve? And most importantly, how to remain profitable and avoid that the unexpected costs will not eat all that which we’ve worked so hard for. So, if you think about the cars. Have you ever thought about renting one and be able to to change it for a new one every year, or within two, three or four years? Did you ever wish that matters associated with its servicing, insurance, breakdowns, tyres, usage until the end of its lifetime, but also all the unexpected and sometimes messy tasks related to maintaining the car entail, are managed by someone else? Did you ever sit down and actually calculate how much it costs you to maintain (purchase, servicing, insurance, tyres, etc.) this tool? Yes, tool, as it is only a tool. An important tool, but not more than a tool. It is also part of your image, your business card, which customers see and which is part of their decision making process. For you, the revenue is what counts, which costs are deducted and makes up the profit you’ve worked so hard for. And the more success

you have in convincing customers to choose YOUR approach to the services you offer, the higher your revenues will be. Ask yourself this question: Why would a customer choose me over someone else? They have a better car, and not just a car. You’ll say there is no competition on your turf. Well..... are you sure it won’t suddenly grow up? Life, just like business, is a never ending struggle. It is also the ability to make the right choices. And no one ever says let’s not worry about the money. Artur Sudenis, in charge of the „Car4Drive” programme at Planet Car Lease Polska Let’s consider a solution where you do not have to put down an initial payment, where you do not take out a loan, where you must follow a protracted credit approval procedure and importantly, where you do not have to wait for ages for your chosen car to be manufactured. Instead you can benefit by taking advantage of the tailored „Car4Drive” programme, where you must only select the car, duration

of the contract and annual mileage. The contract can be signed just 48h after you indicate your interest. Then all you have to do is collect your new tool at a pre-arranged time and place. The monthly „rent” includes financing, car insurance, full servicing, roadside assistance and a set of winter tyres together with a tyre replacement and storage service. Entirely hassle free. You simply enjoy yet another competitive advantage.

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Rafał Benecki Chief Economist at ING Bank Śląski

Polish economy bounces back We talked to Rafał Benecki, Chief Economist at ING Bank Śląski, who had a positive outlook for the Polish economy. “We see that companies are still choosing Poland as a good destination. This clearly shows the confidence in the job market in Poland.” Could you paint the big picture of the Polish economy for us at this moment? “The Polish economy has rebounded from its low point in the 3rd quarter of 2016. That was the period when consumption was strong but investment was not, and GDP growth stood at 2.5%. This was caused by weak investments due to the gap between two EU investment periods. The government has been able to underwrite many new projects for a total of 180 billion zlotys. Although this money comes with a delay, we can already see the first money flowing in at this moment. In addition to the EU funds, a very important driver of this economic growth is the strong level of consumption. This is helped by the good situation on the labour market which has improved consumer confidence, while the 500+ child benefit programme has also supported the growth in consumption. And then finally GDP growth has been supported by the good situation in the Eurozone, not only in Germany but also in other EU countries.” And how does this break down in GDP figures? “The weakest point was the 3rd quarter of 2016, with 2.4% GDP growth. We then saw a small improvement to 2.5% in the last quarter of 2016 and a sharp rise to 4% at the beginning of 2017. At this moment, we don’t have the figures for the second quarter yet, but we expect close to 3.7% and close to 4% for Q4.” Can you tell us more about the unemployment rate and how you expect this to develop? “In the entire economy, unemployment decreased to close to 7%, which is really low. However, the situation is quite different in many regions around Poland. In the major cities, companies are hiring Ukrainians or they are competing for employees by providing not only good salaries but also special training and granting other benefits rather than just wages.


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There are other regions, less developed ones, where unemployment is higher. Overall, there is a tension on the labour market. The percentage of companies who are complaining about the labour shortage is higher than it was before the global financial crisis. Wages are just starting to accelerate, but this dynamic is still quite subdued...” Also in big cities? “Also in big cities. There are some sectors where wages have already started to accelerate, mainly in the retail trade, such as supermarkets and so on, but in other sectors like the construction sector we aren’t seeing much change. So, we think that wages should accelerate by an average of 6%-6.5% in the entire economy before the end of this year. They should grow on average by 6.5% next year as well. There is a big question mark over why wages are not rising that fast now. The answer to this – first of all – is the supply of the Ukrainian workforce. This is up to 1 million people who have moved from Ukraine to Poland and they are filling the gap on the Polish labour market which appeared after Polish employees moved to Western Europe. That is not the whole picture, however, because Ukrainians mainly take basic jobs, but there are also examples of people coming to Poland from Spain or Italy because of the good labour market here.” What about the foreign direct investment related to unemployment? Is there already a reaction to this situation? “The picture is not that black and white. There are other countries in the region that are suffering more tension on the labour market, such as the Czech Republic for example, which is dominated by the automotive sector and where we can see that wages are rising quite fast and inflation is higher. So the Czech Republic is maybe 1-2 years ahead. But at the same time, we see that companies are still choosing Poland as a good destination. For example, Mercedes has opened a factory close to Wrocław. We also see that after Brexit some top financial institutions are moving their back offices, accounting services and IT services to Warsaw, such as J.P. Morgan for example, which is opening an office for 2500 people in Warsaw. This clearly shows the confidence in the job market in Poland.” How about child benefits, which are a driver for consumption. There were concerns that the government wouldn’t be able to afford them. How does that look now? “Fortunately for the Polish budget and for this government, the attempt to increase the level of tax collection and limit VAT fraud has proven

very successful – it brought in 10 billion zlotys in the first half of this year just from increased tax collection alone and it’s not finished yet. So, the government has been able to secure the child benefit funding and still hold quite a safe budget position. At the moment, we are worried that there will be attempts to spend more money before the next elections given the very successful increase in tax collection rates but that is more of a worry than a fact so far. This year, the entire budget deficit should be close to 2% of GDP, which is below the EU threshold of 3%, and next year the deficit should be close to 2%-2.5% of GDP. So things are under control but, as economists, we are expecting more prudency. With all these improvements in revenue, the government could even target the balance deficit, just to prepare for the economic slowdown which is a natural element of any market economy and which we expect in three or four years’ time.” And which new benefits are we expecting this government to make? “For example, the extension of the 500+ benefit for pensioners. Not only for children but for pensioners. That is the project that has been mentioned by the Ministry of Labour. The Minister is currently estimating how generous the new benefit can be so we are worried that this may be an attempt to spend more before the next election.” While we are on the subject, can you tell us more on how the 500+ has been used by families? How are they spending this money? “The first reaction of households after the child benefit was launched was to relieve themselves of their debts. That’s why in the first two quarters consumer credit actually slowed down. Households lead consumer credit to expire and they repaid the credit with the new money. Then we saw that people started to spend more and that’s why in the 1st quarter of this year consumption accelerated to 4.7%, which is very dynamic. We understand that the situation on the labour market is positive for employees, plus they receive this child benefit which was actually paid with a delay because of the paperwork, so people feel more confident, they spend more and are more likely to take on new credits. And we are actually seeing a boom on the real estate market. Wealthier households are buying flats or houses as an alternative

to saving, because the interest rates on saving accounts are quite low because the central bank rates are also quite low, for the Polish environment.” What can you see as regards FDI coming into Poland? “In terms of FDI, we don’t actually see any signs of it slowing down due to the political tension in Poland. In nominal terms, it looks stable and money continues to flow in. If we look in relative terms, Poland’s share in the total investment coming in to the EU is a little bit lower. This is something that we see across the entire region. Other than that, we don’t see any impact on FDI. My understanding is that the foreign investors that have known the Polish economy for years still think that the political risk is not high enough to prevent them from expanding their business. They remember the last 10-15 years as a big success story. Even with some political risk, they are deciding to invest and stay here because the prospects are good, while other countries, emerging markets in this time zone, are not that attractive. In Russia we see higher sanctions, and the Middle East is a very complex situation. Among the countries in this region, Poland still looks like quite decent with its domestic market with good prospects and, most importantly, it is an economy where household wealth is rising. People will spend more and probably buy new assets like flats too. We see the households catching up with the foreign households in the west and that’s a very promising market to be in.” We have discussed a lot the bright picture from the economic point of view, and some remarks regarding plans to increase government spending. Are there any more concerns? “Politics is a concern. This government is so focused on its domestic policy, while slightly neglecting the external cost of this internal policy. The conflict around the Białowieża forest, for example, is something which generates an excessive external cost, but the government is probably not totally in control of all the actions that are being undertaken. And again, the Białowieża forest is a good example of something which could have been managed much better. As a result, the perception of the Polish political situation is much worse than the reality, especially if you take into consideration the macroeconomic conditions as well.”

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News and Activities from the Embassy of the Netherlands What flowers and plants can do The ‘Green is Life’ and ‘Flower Expo Poland’ fairs are taking place in Warsaw in September, with the participation this year of

almost 50 Dutch companies which are interested in Poland due to the rapidly-growing market of ornamental plants and flowers. Poland is currently the 5th most important flower market for the Netherlands. To highlight the enduring demand for flowers in Poland, the Embassy organised a green corner during the ‘Otwarta Ząbkowska’ festival in Warsaw, where every weekend throughout the summer holidays people had the opportunity to enjoy both the attractions of the festival on this famous street and also the green area created by the Embassy and fair organisers. As it is scientifically proven that greenery stimulates productivity, a green corner will also be organised in Centrum Kreatywności Targowa, where the green atmosphere will help to inspire entrepreneurs in their new creations and innovative thoughts.

Flowers and plants design in Warsaw trendsetting? Last year, Polish and Dutch stakeholders came together to create a “Dutch Garden” in Łazienki Królewskie. Not only did it contribute significantly to the promotion of the Dutch flower sector in Poland, but it also gained a lot of attention abroad – and in June a second Dutch Garden, inspired by the one in Łazienki Królewskie, was opened in Disneyland Paris!

Circular Economy: business opportunities for the future At the end of July, a group of Polish decision-makers (representatives of ministries and knowledge institutes) visited the Netherlands to become better acquainted with Dutch policy-making in the field of the Circular Economy (CE). The aim of a circular economy is to have an economy without waste. Instead of always using new raw materials for production, it is focused on re-using, re-cycling and up-cycling old materials. It’s an approach which offers new business opportunities. Participants on the study trip also visited Dutch companies using the CE approach. In the second half of 2017, the Dutch Embassy will be organising follow-up events to foster Dutch-Polish business relations in the field of the circular economy and innovation.

Visit of Health Care Task Force to Warsaw At the end of June, two experts from the Health Care Task Force participated in a Health Care Summit and visited several hospitals, institutions and the local and national government to discuss possibilities for cooperation between the Dutch and Polish health care sectors. At the end of September, a group of 12 representatives from the Polish health care sector will visit the Netherlands to meet with the government, hospitals and businesses to further invest in co-operation.


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Cultural calendar June - August All through the year, all around Poland, there are cultural events taking place with a connection to the Netherlands: concerts, book presentations, film screenings, stage performances and exhibitions. They take place in large concert halls and museums as well as in small clubs or at the Embassy. Many of them are open to the public; although entry is sometimes restricted, for instance, only for students or by invitation. The cultural connections between Poland and the Netherlands are flourishing. With over 100 events a year, they not only contribute to

the image of the Netherlands in Poland, but they also give us an opportunity to ‘Stay in touch with the rest of the Dutch’. The Embassy collects information about these events which it then publishes on its Facebook page a couple of days beforehand. However, you may well like to hear about them a bit earlier, for personal as well as professional reasons. Here then, in cooperation with the Embassy, we present a selection of the events coming up over the next few months.

15.09 to 17.09 – Wrocław Harmen de Hoop at TIFF festival Harmen de Hoop is a Dutch artist known for his anonymous and illegal interventions in public space. They are small, yet very direct actions that react to the manner in which urban space is used and the regulations that have been laid down for those who use it.

for a residency in Wrocław in July this year and photographs of his work will be shown during the TIFF Photo Festival in Studio BWA in Wrocław.

With his interventions, he breaches the systems and puts forward another, often humane, perspective. Harmen de Hoop was invited

http://harmendehoop.com www.bwa.wroc.pl

07.10 – 16.10 – Warsaw Film Festival Established in 1985, the Warsaw Film Festival in 2009 joined the elite group of events recognised by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations as an international film festival – just like the festivals in Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Montreal and Locarno. Film festival-goers are usually among the first to discover the latest and most interesting trends in world cinema and the WFF is no exception, as it will offer audiences an early opportunity to enjoy the delights of independent American cinema as well as Asian, Latin American, Iranian, Russian and Romanian cinema. Not forgetting, of course, these 4 Dutch (co-)productions: Greetings from Kropsdam by Joren Molter: In the small village of Kropsdam, an oppressive, misguided community starts harassing quiet farmer Lammert, after wrongly accusing him of helping to build a wind turbine in their town.

Blessed Benefit by Mahmoud al Massad – a Jordanian filmmaker living in the Netherlands. A Good Day to Die – Harold Monfils, an independent filmmaker born in Portugal with a Dutch passport, made a film about the life of British conflict photographer Jason P. Howe, who spent 12 years on the front lines of four wars - in Colombia, Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan. Night of 1000 Hours by Virgil Widrich This Dutch co-production is about ambitious Philip, who takes over the running of the family business from his father. One night, he finds himself confronted by the mysterious reappearance of… his dead ancestors. For the full programme: http://wff.pl

17.10 Wojtek Justyna - Warsaw Funk on the bottom, jazz on the top. This sums up the intriguing fusion of fresh jazz sounds and funky grooves created by Dutchbased group the Wojtek Justyna Tree… Oh!? Polish frontman and guitarist Wojtek Justyna has a rich talent and imagination for composing pieces which lighten up your soul and help bring out the positive in you. In addition, Justyna has a versatile style of guitar playing that ranges from jazz to rock and blues.

Wojtek Justyna will perform in the 12on14 Jazz Club - a place where jazz-lovers can meet every day and hear the original repertoire of some of the greatest exponents of improvised music from Poland, Europe and around the world. www.wojtekjustyna.com http://12on14club.com/

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Cultural calendar June - August 20.10 and 21.10 Dialog-Wrocław Theatre Festival Kings of War by Toneelgroep Amsterdam This year sees the 9th edition of the Dialog-Wrocław International Theatre Festival, an event which can be considered one of Poland’s most significant cultural events.

For his portrayal of Richard III, Hans Kesting received the Louis d’Or award in 2016. The play was also selected for the National Dutch Theatre Festival that same year.

It will take place between 14-21 October under the title: ‘Onward, but where to?’ and ticket sales will begin on September 5th so be quick to snap up your tickets for one of the best theatre companies from the Netherlands: Toneelgroep Amsterdam.

The jury’s report read: ‘Performed with crystal-clear directing, breathtaking scenography and with perfect musical accompaniment, Toneelgroep Amsterdam demonstrates Shakespeare’s immortality on the 400th anniversary of his death.’

The 4-hour-long performance of Kings of War combines Henry V, Henry VI and Richard III in a single, explosive play about leadership.


25 November to 17 December – Opole World Press Photo Exhibition The World Press Photo Foundation is a major force in developing and promoting the work of visual journalists, with a range of activities and initiatives that span the globe. It was formed in 1955, when a group of Dutch photographers organised a contest to display their work to their international colleagues. That annual contest has since grown into one of the most prestigious awards in photojournalism and multimedia storytelling,

and the exhibition it produces is seen by four million people worldwide each year. The 2017 exhibition will be shown in Opole in Galeria Sztuki Wspolczesnej




Moving Moments issue 60


Column Anna Schmidt Chief Executive Officer Career Partners International Poland

Are you taking ownership of your career? Summer is ending and the second half of the year is here. I’m observing that many of my clients, organizations of all types and sizes, are preparing to summarize their 2017 goals. Everything seems to intensify: there is a focus on increasing revenues, improving efficiencies and reducing costs. As you evaluate your organization’s strategy, how does this reflect on your 2017 career goals and resolutions? Organization’s plans could bring about promotion opportunities for you, or any number of other outcomes, some of which may not align with your overall direction. It is a fact: most managers spend weeks and months planning their companies’ budgets, marketing plans or next year strategies. Most managers spend more time planning their vacations than their careers. Most managers spend more time picking their next company car than evaluating their professional paths. We think that once we get our “dream job”, everything will fall into place – our boards will give us the assignments to get ahead and help us grow, and our companies will send us for training to learn the skills we need to succeed. But in today’s market, we are the owners of our careers. Just like an entrepreneur, we need to focus on what opportunities are available, what skills and experiences we need to succeed, and then have a robust plan to achieve our goals. As a forward-thinking executive, read the questions below and then take a minute to examine whether you are taking ownership of your career. 1. Have you evaluated your career and created a career plan in the last 12 months?

2. Have you recognised 5 skills you are developing this year? 3. Are you aware of your personal brand? 4. Do you have a personal board of directors (coach, mentor, connector, challenger, champion) to support you in your career? 5. Have you identified (or are you currently working on) a stretch assignment? 6. Have you taken the chance to self-assess your likes/dislikes, values, and needs, strengths and weaknesses, skills, interests and preferences? 7. Have you examined the business environment to determine what’s changing and how those changes will impact your career? 8. Have you asked for feedback from superiors, peers and direct reports in the last year? 9. Are you aware of the skills required to get the job you want and do you have a solid plan in mind to acquire them? 10. Are you deliberate in what you get involved in, saying ‘Yes’ to the things that move you towards your goals and ‘No’ to the things that don’t? How was it working through those simple questions? Did they help you to obtain any significant information about yourself? Maybe it can be a start to help you identify the elements of success and your preferences to help you make the most of your talents? Will you consider developing a career strategy and plan? Developing a career plan and assessing it systematically can provide you with vital information about how you will respond to change and what you will consider, either with your current organisation or externally. One essential lesson is that we do not have to wait for a change to affect us, but we can take control. This mindset shift can make all the difference in the world. Nobody knows you better than you! You are the person with responsibility for your own livelihood and what happens in your career. Owning and driving your career leads to career resilience.

This column is written à titre personnel and does not necessarily reflect the views of the NPCC board or its members.

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New members of

the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce


Human to Business

Wemeco is a partnership and long-term cooperation-oriented production company that specialises in the production of structural components and (sub-) assemblies made of steel, stainless steel and aluminium, according to the customer’s specifications. We work according to the QRM methodology (Quick Response Manufacturing) in order to guarantee high quality and short throughput times. Depending on specific requirements, the services we offer also include: - surface treatment (galvanisation, nickel plating, powder-coating or wet painting of steel; pickling and passivation of stainless steel; and anodising or painting of aluminium) - assembly of various mechanical, electrical, pneumatic and hydraulic components. Wemeco unburdens your organisation by taking care of the whole supply chain. - logistics (storage and delivery of your products to any country in the world) Wemeco has a very strong position in the European market. We work in a multi-cultural and multi-lingual environment and our staff is fluent in English, German, Dutch and Polish. Wemeco has partners in many countries, such as the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Austria, France, Belgium and Finland. Wemeco is located in the Polish town of Kudowa-Zdrój, several kilometres from the Czech border, and our manufacturing complex comprises facilities with a total surface area of approx. 6.000 m2. Wemeco ul. Główna 65, 57-350 Kudowa Zdrój 48 74 866 70 00 info@wemeco.com, www.wemeco.com

Bringing human to business together. We are HR consultants advising in: • Executive Search • Individual and Team Coaching • Balance of Competences • Development Workshops Team values and management styles are key to helping a company successfully face market challenges; therefore, we promote the development of attitudes and skills that foster self-management and engagement: • Management by Values • Team Intelligence • Diversity Management • Leadership • Change Engineering Our core strength is a versatile team with hands-on experience in business and HR consulting, who share a common passion for continuous development. Everything we do in our work is consistent with Human to Business’s fundamental values: motivating partnership, efficiency and the joy of co-creation. What we bring to our business relationships with our clients is the ability to listen to their needs, understand their challenges, share our experience and adopt an individual approach. Human to Business – a professional partner in the development of leaders, inspiring innovative solutions. We think today about the competences of tomorrow and we implement digital solutions supporting strategic HR and business projects. Synthetron is an example of a reliable on-line discussion method which helps utilize the potential of team intelligence in corporate decision-making. We implement projects for domestic and multi-national companies. Our working languages are Polish, French and English. Human to Business Mokotowska 49A lok. 2, 00-542 Warszawa 48 22 621 00 22 biuro@h2b.com.pl, www.h2b.com.pl/en

BRIEF-ME We are an advertising agency which can provide you and your business with: • an effective marketing strategy • beautiful graphics • content (for websites, promotional materials) • advertising gadgets with your logo • useful conference materials • printing (from business cards to books) At Brief-me, we try not to talk too much about us because it is a


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simple story about people with passion and a mission. We would rather listen to what others have to say. Let’s meet and talk about what we can do for you and the brand you’re working on. BRIEF-ME 48 607 214 608 halo@brief-me.pl www.brief-me.pl

New members of

the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce

Typhon Typhon was a god from Greek mythology, ‘earth-born’ and one of the few to challenge Zeus in a battle for supremacy of the cosmos. The founding of Typhon B.V. symbolises this same courage in a highly competitive market. To win this challenge, we not only consider our partners and employees but also the image that we, as a company, reflect to the rest of the country. To express the importance of this, we have obtained not only the Stichting Normering Arbeid (SNA) hallmark but we are also a recognised training company. In terms of our operations, we firmly believe in our all-in-one approach. We can handle all aspects of human resources on our own account. This includes everything from recruitment to placement and, of course, employee transportation. In the near future, we also hope to be able to arrange housing for foreign workers as well. To ensure that all this work goes smoothly, we have assembled a team that knows the industry inside-out and is able to provide tailored advice to our customers. But it doesn’t end there, because we start where others stop. The character of Typhon gives us the potential to challenge the market leaders. Typhon B.V. Paasheuvelweg 39 1105 BG Amsterdam 31 (0) 85 7500 424 info@typhonbv.nl http://typhonbv.nl/

Business Support Solution SA Business Support Solution SA is a Polish outsourcing company providing financial & accounting services. The mission of BSS is a BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP based on trust and the highest standards. Our main strength is our complex offer which enables us to meet the high expectations of our customers, as well as support their business plans at every stage of their growth. BSS has over 300 employees, including high-class specialists in finance, tax and payroll and business processes, who have ACCA, auditor, tax advisor, Green Belt or Ministry of Finance certification for providing accounting services. We provide services to more than 260 clients in Poland and abroad. BSS clients include publicly-listed companies (on the Warsaw Stock Exchange and New Connect). Our scope of services: • Accounting, tax management and reporting services, •P reparing consolidated financial statements and management reports • Personnel and payroll administration • Auditing services • Tax services • Support in financial liquidity management • Other business support services Business Support Solution SA Pojezierska 90A 91-341 Łódź 48 42 200 7000 bss@bssce.com www.bssce.com

VM Trading Automation and technology is developing rapidly in the food manufacturing industry. VM Trading Sp. z o.o. offers on the Polish market an extended range of packaging equipment, vacuum packing machines and industrial washers. With the help of our experienced engineering department, we are able to offer customised solutions and engineering to our customers. It’s our mission to bring you highly reliable equipment with all the services you expect from your equipment supplier: full warranty, qualified support and local spare parts.

Our customers are always ‘’key’’ in our business. We strive for full customer satisfaction at all times. We are very happy with the trust we receive from the market and we will always push ourselves to keep supplying the ultimate solution to our clients in combination with perfect service. VM Trading Nowa 6, Stara Iwiczna 05-500 Piaseczno 48 22 427 54 81 biuro@vmtrading.pl www.vmtrading.pl

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„Price is what you pay,

value is what you get”

Twan Verhoeven, new MD of TB Trucks and Trailer Service for the past 6 months, explains to Bulletin why the company has invested 5 million euro in a new body paint shop in Wolica. You have been working in Poland for seven months now. What are your biggest surprises here? “First of all I was very pleasantly surprised on the beauty and diversity of Warsaw where I live now. There is a lot to discover, and I’ve met a lot hospitable people. There are three things I would like to add to that. Firstly, I have been surprised by the level of English spoken in Poland, even by the younger generation, as it has sometimes been a challenge for me to make myself understood. Also, the way of doing business in Poland is different to what I was used to. In Poland, people negotiate until the very last moment whereas within our way of doing business when we have reached a deal, we stick to it. The third thing that has surprised me is that everybody in Poland tries to sell me a price and nobody is trying to sell me a value, which for me is remarkable.” Your remarks will be very familiar for many of our readers. How do you solve these issues, for instance when it comes to the language? “Well, I have become a master in non-verbal communication. Some 70 percent of all our communication is non-verbal. So I can already understand many things without talking but by looking at people and observing their behaviour. What helps me is that I use drawings to explain the point I want to get across. And like many people who


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have started out in Poland, I am working on my own Polish skills with a language teacher.” TB Truck & Trailer Service is a company that has made a large investment in Poland over the past year. Can you tell us a bit more about that? “The investment which the Bastianen family, the owners of TB Truck & Trailer Service, has made this year is to establish a new body paint shop in Wolica. This was an investment of over 5 million euro and it will help us to enhance our services. So you can buy a truck, trailer or bus from us, you can maintain it with us and we can do mechanical repairs, body repairs and paint it for you. The only thing that our customers need to remember is one phone number, as we are able to offer the full range of services for their truck. This is called a “one-stopshop”. The repairs done in our mechanical workshop and body paint shop are up to factory standards with original parts and warranty on the repair. Therefore, we can assure our customers maximum uptime of the vehicle and, in the event of body repair, no drop in the residual value of the vehicle.” Can you tell us more about the services you offer in Wolica? “First of all, we have constructed a completely new building for the body paint shop, as TB wanted it to meet the highest international standards. We currently have quite a lot of buses that we repair or respray, but we also work on trailers and we put new side walls into frigo trailers. So, as you can see, we offer a full range of services. We can also straighten the chassis but we make sure it keeps the same strength as before. It is not difficult to bend the chassis by heating it, but then you are changing the molecular structure and you

will make it weaker. We have our own technology without heating for straightening. In order to make this equipment work, we had to make special preparations in the floor of our new body paint shop, which was a costly investment too.” “Also, we have ensured that the building meets the highest environmental standards. We have a paint booth with a special filtering system which, as a result, gives out no emissions of particles or dust, only hot air. We are also licensed to perform truck safety and roadworthiness tests for Polish roads. Our Technical Check Centre meets international standards and we are now waiting for the more stringent implementation of government regulations.” You have made the investment based and calculated on the future and how the transport market in Poland will develop. Can you elaborate a little more on the truck market in Poland and how you see the developments? “In Poland, the annual market of new trucks is 25,000, which is double the new truck market in the Netherlands. But if you look at the density of truck dealers and repair/paint shops, it is much higher in the Netherlands than in Poland. So, we envisage a growing demand for our business. Another trend which you can’t stop is that more and more transport companies have to rely on external service providers for their truck maintenance. In Poland, each transport company used to have its own maintenance department. That is something which is a legacy from the past. However, those departments no longer have the knowledge to repair the trucks because it has become too complicated. It is the same as with a mobile phone. You can try to repair it yourself but either you won’t manage it or your costs will be much higher. In order to make this work, our customers need to review their business model and focus on their core business, whether it is transportation, spedition or warehousing, and not on repairing the truck. They have to professionalise their operation and offer more services to their clients than just driving from A to B. Then they have to outsource the maintenance to a specialist, which is where we come in. We have an average parts stock worth around 14 million zlotys to make sure that parts availability is immediate and you don’t have to wait for delivery. We will sell you mobility, but also a fixed cost price per kilometer, and with our new body paint shop we are now a one-stop-shop.” How fast do you see these changes developing since the branch partly competes on price and not on quality and additional services? “We saw a swift change in the transport business in the Netherlands over a decade ago. International transport has gone and it has been taken over by international competition from, for example, Polish companies. However, Dutch transport companies are still in business. They have adapted and they are now offering total care for their customers. And that is what has kept them alive. In Poland, we have a similar trend with cheap drivers coming from other countries. The difference in labour costs between truck drivers from western Europe and Poland will decrease year on year. Transport companies need to develop additional values. They need to do more than drive from A to B, because otherwise they will only compete on price and that will take them nowhere.” But there is also a demand from the market for better quality. “That’s true. First of all, more and more companies don’t want their products to be transported anymore by companies with the cheapest

drivers, because that says something about their moral standards and the quality of their product. And many manufacturers have just-intime production and keep stock to a minimum. For these processes, you have to have well-organised and disciplined logistics and a truck which is in good mechanical condition, otherwise it will break down and you’ll be late. And that is what will change in Poland for sure. Bigger companies have already adapted their processes because most of their customers originate from Western Europe and that’s the approach they expect. The smaller transport companies will follow for sure. Secondly, I hope that the pool of vehicles used for national transportation will be rejuvenated. Most of the vehicles used for local and national transportation in Poland are actually very old. These old vehicles are very polluting as their emissions are far from meeting current EU standards. Hopefully, the Polish government will start motivating companies with new legislation and by banning highpolluting vehicles from city centres, for instance.” You told me you make a lot of drawings. Is this also something that you use to explain things to your staff? “Indeed I do. I know it is difficult to put it across in your magazine Bulletin, but to give you an idea I have drawn a column that represents the total cost of ownership over the lifetime of one truck. If you look at the total costs, the biggest cost for the transport company is fuel. The second biggest cost is labour and this varies per country. Then you have depreciation, maintenance, insurance and the purchase price. The purchase price is at best 10% of your cost column. So, the topic that clients always want to talk about is not as relevant as many people think, because it’s fuel which is the biggest cost. We sell DAFs and they are very good in terms of fuel consumption. If your truck uses 1 litre less per 100 km, this can save you up to 7500 euros over five years, per truck! You have to focus on the total cost of ownership, and the purchase price of the truck is only a minor part of this.” What does this say about Polish companies? “Companies in Poland are professionalising their operations. Most transport companies in Poland were started up by truck drivers buying used trucks. Those were “emotional buyers” that stick to a brand. The second generation of transport company managers went to university and these are “rational buyers”. They look at the figures. Emotion doesn’t tell them anything. And our product fits very well with those buyers.” How is DAF doing in the market in Poland? “DAF is the market leader in Poland. At this moment in time, DAF has over 20% market share. It is remarkable to see, looking at the lower spectrum of the market with brands which have a much lower purchase price, that they are nowhere near being the market leader. The reason for this is that although they have the cheapest trucks, the don’t have the cheapest Total Cost of Ownership. What is also very important is that DAF has a very strong network in Europe. With this network, we can assure our customers a very short downtime. If something goes wrong, there are dealers nearby with a good stock level of parts for a quick repair. This is also part of the value that we offer and why clients choose TB.” “This year, TB is celebrating 10 years in Poland. TB started its operations here in Wolica in 2007, and it has since expanded around the country with workshops in Rzgów (Łódź), Wyszków, Siedlce and Biała Podlaska. TB stands for Van Tilburg-Bastianen, the family name of the founders. But today we use the abbreviation TB for Together Better. And that is exactly what we want to be for our customers.”

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Column Staf Beems Entrepreneur and owner of Silesia Consulting

Eutopia I am sitting on my terrace reading the article which I wrote last summer when I was in Międzyzdroje. I wrote that I was happy that I was not on a terrace in Paris, Nice or Munich. Time goes fast and now that is more than a year ago. I was not on Las Ramblas in Barcelona, nor can I name all the other places; but the conclusion is that nothing has changed since then. I will not mention the politicians’ names anymore as they are the nobodies of Europe, or better to say, of the world. We are faced with Brexit. We are also faced with a Polish government which uses democratic rules to do what they think is right for Poland. Coming back to the Brexit issue, I do not understand the crocodile tears. My father used to work for a British company and he taught us two things: 1. If you can avoid it, do not work for a British company, and 2. Do not work for a family company. Avoiding a British company is easier than not working for a family company. I must confess that I did both. What I experienced while working for a British company was that they had very different ideas about managing a company. It was shocking. It was always about cash, efficiency and company cars, but seldom about real business. My chairman refused to travel in my car because it had a diesel engine. „A CEO never drives a diesel,” was his explanation. All the arguments about what a good example it would be for the sales reps and that it was cheaper were not important for him. I do not blame the British mentality in general. They cannot even help the fact that they are British. Let them enjoy their fish and chips in a newspaper. Let them enjoy their tabloids. During the time that they were in the European Union, they kept on claiming exemptions for the UK, but never ever did they accept a general policy. That should have been a wake-up call for all politicians that a united Europe is an illusion. Free trade was of course an excellent idea, as was the Euro, but on better conditions, but open borders and free labour for everybody in Europe was a bridge too far and we see now that it does not and never will work. What has Portugal got to do with Finland, Holland with Poland, Romania with Belgium and so on? Not to mention the plans for Ukraine and Serbia, to name just a couple of the new candidate countries. It has never been properly discussed that every country should exchange their own identity

for the monster of the United States of Europe. Therefore, I understand Brexit but either the EU or the UK should have understood that we are living in a different world which we cannot bring together. The dream of a United Europe is challenging but not for us simple citizens. Politicians in the European Parliament, members of the European Council and all the civil servants in Brussels have very appetizing sandwiches (and much more besides: a tax-free salary, tax-free car, excellent pension, etc). But the crucial question has never been answered - is Europe now better off? Timmermans, it’s always him, mentioned lately that we have had no more wars. In case you have a short memory, he is correct, but are we supposed to just forget about former Yugoslavia, Ukraine and the problems with IS? I saw him last week in the stadium when the Dutch women’s football team won the European Football Championship. The sucker. It’s true that he talks a lot in many different languages but does he ever say anything of any importance? Maybe he could start a discussion about whether we should still have men’s and women’s football, or should it now be gender football? I am married with a Polish wife, like more of my readers perhaps. I live and work in Poland but I see that we are not the same; we had a different education, different parents, we lived in a different world and we sometimes argue with each other over something that we later decide was not worth the „fight”. Yes, because we are different. She does not like liquorice and I do not like flaczki, to give one example. Therefore, let the UK go and as soon as possible. But how will Brussels, with all the expensive lawyers, specialists and consultants, conduct the exit talks and over how many years? Guess what, they will spend lots of „our” money. A Frenchman - you remember that France is still not following the European rules - will lead the negotiations and Verhofstadt - not long ago demonstrating in Kiev - is one of his assistants. First do everything wrong and later you can make money solving a problem which you created in the first place, with your eyes and ears wide open. Brussels continues to condemn the Polish government but the Polish voters chose this government! Would we in Holland accept comments from other countries regarding our laws concerning abortion, euthanasia, adoption and/or marriage of persons of the same sex. I do not think so. My realistic conclusion is that a United Europe is an illusion. I did not go to Międzyzdroje and I am not sitting on the terrace there. I’m sitting on my own terrace and I hope that somebody will realise that Europe has to change. But I am still optimistic. Let Brexit be the start of something big. 1. Create a slimmed-down Brussels. No initiatives, only caretaking. 2. Stop the meetings in Strasbourg. 3. Reduce Brussels by (to start with) 50% of the present staff. 4. Impose one language as the „European language”. 5. Do not comment on issues you do not like but continue to discuss issues of common interest. 6. Stop all negotiations with candidate countries. If that happens, Brexit could be a blessing in disguise. The old man has spoken.

This column is written à titre personnel and does not necessarily reflect the views of the NPCC board or its members.


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Column Huub Droogh Huub Droogh is an urbanist and president of RDH Architekci Urbaniści in Poznań

A need for management The Eastern European cocktail of a decreasing number of inhabitants, suburbanization, an aging society and the emigration of younger generations has hit Poland unnecessarily hard due to its weak urban planning practice. Despite now having had more than 20 years of experience, most Polish cities and municipalities still have major difficulties managing a consistent process of planning within the conditions of a free market economy. Urban development and revitalization projects are often initiated and driven by incidents, instead of being part of a well-thought-out vision and strategy about the future of the city. Due to depopulation and suburbanization, a lot of mediumsized cities in Poland are losing their importance as centres of education, employment and culture. The improvement in Poland’s hard infrastructure over the last decade has made big cities more accessible for the inhabitants of villages and countryside. This has hit smaller cities. In recent history, these cities had an important function as centres of regional administration, commercial services and education but a growing number of young people prefer the educational environment of a big city. It makes it difficult for regional schools and universities in smaller cities to maintain their position. The fast-growing offer of internet services also has a direct effect on employment at local centres for business services. In the long term, this will even affect employment in local public administrations. It is a downward spiral. The decreasing number of inhabitants leads to lower income from local taxation, which results in less city investment. The economies of small cities are vulnerable. Will those cities stay attractive enough to provide local companies with the proper workforce? Will those cities generate enough entrepreneurial and intellectual power to contribute to necessary economic transformations, for instance towards a more innovative and circular economy? Depopulation, an aging society and the disappearance of city institutions are serious threats for which answers need to be prepared. However, due to the short-term planning horizon of politicians, the process of city planning is often one of hasty

improvisation. It lacks a healthy balance between analysis, conception, finance and communication, and is often dictated by administrative procedures rather than content. The result is the production of lots of unnecessary paperwork and a waste of the intellectual capital involved. Taking into account the huge financial consequences that bad city planning can have, it could lead to some cities going bankrupt in the coming decades. It is fashionable among Polish inhabitants and entrepreneurs to satirise the incompetence of local politicians and civil servants in creating the right conditions for city development, while their colleagues in Western Europe always seem to be more successful. But criticism is easy. How can we create the conditions necessary to implement and execute improvements? Local politicians lack a professional administration to advise and support them, while local administrations lack the professional structure to attract and develop young talent entering the labour market. It’s a vicious circle. Local politicians are forced into making decisions without having an overview of the long-term social and financial consequences, and local administrations hide behind the walls of procedures to protect their professional interests. We have to realise that managing a city is far more complex than managing a company. Companies can recruit welleducated professionals from the multitude of business schools and MBAs. But cities? Where can they find the properly-trained staff to manage complex city development processes? Urban management covers a wide range of issues such as urban design, spatial planning, social and cultural development and the local economy. It varies from the development and management of public space to regional strategies. It has to focus on both private and public realms and, it should not be forgotten, it also has to organise and manage the public and political debate. Professional education in the field of urban development in Poland is mainly focused on research or design. There is no training available to prepare local politicians and their staff to fulfil their duties in a proper way. This is a gap in the education system for which future Polish taxpayers will pay a high price… A modest start towards a solution Due to the above, RDH Urban, together with the Dutch NHTV in Breda and Collegium Da Vinci, a private university in Poznań, has developed a new bachelor’s degree course in Poland on Urban Management. The curriculum is based on the Dutch educational model of Applied Sciences and combines theory with practice from the very first day of the course. The course is in English and guided by experienced international professionals. Study trips as well as internships are part of the curriculum. Graduates can complete their education with a supplementary Master’s degree course or start work as a qualified urban manager.: WWW.CDV.PL

This column is written à titre personnel and does not necessarily reflect the views of the NPCC board or its members.

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Poland continues to be very friendly for businesses This summer, Poland experienced a judiciary crisis with the proposed adoption of three laws that would have abolished the tripartite division of powers and independence of the courts in Poland. All three laws were rushed through parliament by the ruling PiS party and finally adopted in mid-July. Legislative procedure was broken on multiple occasions throughout the process and, more importantly, several provisions were not in accordance with the Polish Constitution. As a result, mass protests erupted in Warsaw and other big Polish cities and President Duda refused to sign two out of the three bills. We talked to Adam Czerniak, Chief Economist at Polityka Insight, about the impact of the crisis on the economy and on companies. We are about to talk about the judiciary crisis that we have here in Poland. What is the impact of this situation in Poland? Could you give us a bit of background? What will really change in Poland with those three laws? Adam Czerniak, Chief Economist at Polityka Insight: “First of all, it is very important to stress that only one of the three bills that were presented to the President was actually signed; the other two were returned to parliament, where two-thirds of votes will be required to reject the President’s veto. The current ruling party, PiS, does not have enough members of parliament to reject the President’s veto so they will have to rewrite two of those bills. The President promised to present drafts of those two pieces of legislation and he is currently undertaking extensive consultations with judges, academics and lawyers. In September, the President will present the rewritten drafts of those two bills and he will present them to parliament. The one bill that was signed by the President gives the Minister of Justice the power to change the people in charge of the common courts. It means that the Minister of Justice - Zbigniew Ziobro will have more power over the ruling and functioning of the Polish judicial system, which to some extent will diminish the possibility of having independent courts in relation to the government.


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As a result, the Minister of Justice can now exert more influence on the decisions of the courts, not through individual judges, of course, but through the system of putting pressure on the courts and assessing who will judge which case. These are larger responsibilities and we don’t know the extent to which these rights will be applied by the Ministry of Justice.” When will we know the extent to which the Ministry will use its new powers? “We will know that in the autumn, so we will see to what extent those court presidents will be removed by Zbigniew Ziobro and who will be appointed in their place, which of them will be political appointments and which of them will be independent.” Are you saying that there will be a difference between theory and practice? “Indeed. There are new laws, but now we have to see how those possibilities will be used. The opposition claims that Zbigniew Ziobro will use these powers excessively but, at this moment in time, I still an unknown in this equation.” What will change in the situation of a foreign company that comes into conflict with the Polish government or a stateowned company? “There is a possible risk for foreign investors in Poland. However, please remember that these changes have been made under the supervision of Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of the Law and Justice party, and his main goal is purely political. They will be most likely used for prosecutions against political opponents, like Donald Tusk but not against foreign business. Maybe only some media or financial companies like banks and cash unions will be affected. However, in typical day-to-day business situations, I don’t expect the Ministry of Justice to be particularly interested in influencing court decisions.”

The presentation of the three new laws and the complaints and protests against them received extensive coverage in the foreign media. What will be the impact of that on FDI? “First of all, those foreign direct investors that are already present in Poland are doing their job and they are still happy about the high economic growth in Poland, about the good labour quality, and about the fact that Poland is a member of the European Union, which gives them the opportunity to export goods from Poland to other EU countries without any customs. So they are doing business, reinvesting in Poland and extending their business here, and I do not expect that those changes will influence them here in Poland. Much more important for them, for instance, are changes to the law regarding the ban of working hours on Sundays. As for those investors that are not present here yet, they may be influenced by the picture of Poland presented in the media. Those investors look much more closely at the relations with the government and how they would be treated if they invested in Poland, so of course they are much more cautious than those who are already present in Poland. But I don’t expect that the change in the rule of law that has already been introduced, and others which may possibly be introduced in the future, will be pivotal to their decision-making. The most important thing that foreign investors look at when they make their decisions are economic factors.” Do you have any recent FDI data which you can benchmark to previous data in order to draw some conclusions on this topic? “We do already have some data from 2016, and also some basic preliminary data for 2017, and it looks like the foreign direct investment is flowing into Poland at the same pace as before. Foreign Direct Investors are still interested in Poland and what’s very interesting is that we have new groups of foreign direct

investors that are interested in this country, especially from outside the European Union. Japan, for instance, is currently in second place among those new countries that are interested in developing new FDI projects here. So the negative impact on the data is not seen now, but we should remember that decisions about foreign direct investments, and especially the hard data that shows the actual inflow and not just the interests of investors, are affected by a delay of one, two or three years because that is the investment horizon in a country from the date when you invest up to the moment when the money actually flows into the country. So we have to wait to see the real impact, but I do not expect any major changes in the pace of FDI inflow connected to the recent decisions of the government.“ There is an interesting theory that the perception and attractiveness of Poland abroad is much worse compared to how it is actually performing economically. “I do agree with this theory. However, I would like to shed some light on it from a different angle. I distinguish between economic decisions, economic actions and the political side of it. On the political side, we are being bashed by the European Commission, by the opposition, by international organisations but then, from the other side, the economy is doing very well and the decisions that are being made by the Ministry of Finance are not proving harmful for business. In fact, they are very positive, for instance the results from plugging the tax gap have been much better than we expected, so Morawiecki is doing a really good job and these changes in economic policy are not harming the economy. The political side is something completely different. Business can operate under different conditions when the business environment and its institutional framework is business-friendly. And that is still the case here, Poland continues to be very friendly for businesses.

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Henriette Timmermans, owner of the Axell group and Marc Fremouw, CEO of Axell Group

Axell Logistics

present in Poland for 20 years 2017 is a momentous year for Axell Logistics as the company is celebrating its 20th anniversary in Poland. Axell Logistics, together with Axell Employment and Axell Financial, is part of Axell Group - a group of companies specialising in delivering both employment and logistics services in the Netherlands and Poland. History “Since the start of our family-owned business in 1933, Axell Group has focused on building long-term relationships with both our employees and customers. These relationships are based on the principle that we can and should add value together. This was a good starting point for our restructuring programme which covered all of the group’s companies both in the Netherlands and Poland,” says Marc Fremouw, CEO of Axell Group. After the restructuring, they were ready to approach the market with a completely new identity for Timmermans BV and Axell Uitzendbureau in the Netherlands, and for Axell Polska, Axell Holandia and Ponetex in Poland. Different names and different companies, but all with one main goal: to offer their customers the most creative and flexible solutions to support their logistics and production processes by delivering both people and services. What better way to do this than by simplifying and unifying the names, thus making the overall appearance more recognisable? As a result, the new brand names - Axell Group, Axell Logistics, Axell Employment and Axell Financial - were born. Marc Fremouw continues: “With this restructuring, we can offer more comprehensive solutions, built around the various disciplines we are involved in: temporary employment, in-house services, pay-rolling, value-added logistics, warehousing, transport and accounting. The rebranding was like the icing on the cake.”


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The Netherlands-Poland specialist “With our knowledge of both the Netherlands and Poland, guaranteed by our network of specialists, we can offer every customer the specific solutions they require. Strong and experienced management, a professional team of logistics engineers, new IT systems, refurbished facilities and new offices are just some of the results of the restructuring that are clearly visible. We will continue to develop our role as the Netherlands-Poland specialist in logistics and employment, amongst others by expanding our warehouse footprint and transport network, investing in our IT infrastructure and expanding our recruitment and training capabilities,” he added. Axell Logistics in Poland “Twenty years ago, we started Ponetex in Poland. Something which began as a small logistics company with Dutch roots has turned into an international organisation with 8 warehouses in the biggest logistics hotspots in Poland and the Netherlands, which have a total capacity of over 127,500 sqm. We’re very proud of this development and it will definitely continue in the future,” says Henriëtte Timmermans, owner of Axell Group. Axell Logistics (formerly Ponetex) was founded by Jan Timmermans, Henriëtte’s late husband, following a request for help from the Dutch mayor of Diessen, a town with close ties to Rakoniewice (a small town near Poznań, Poland). Something that began as just sending relief items in the form of food and clothing has led to the establishment of a number of warehouses around Poland. Anniversary Henriëtte: “To mark our 20th anniversary in Poland, we have organised a party for all our Logistics employees in the country to celebrate and show our appreciation for their dedication. We will also be publishing a special anniversary magazine sharing our history and development with both our employees and our customers. We are really looking forward to celebrating this milestone with our colleagues and customers and continuing to add value together for at least another 20 years!”

Column Remco van der Kroft Advocaat (Dutch licensed lawyer) and partner of Olczak-Klimek Van der Kroft Węgiełek

Climate change It has been a hot July in Poland. The weather may not have been what one might have hoped for but we had some very heated debates in the Polish Parliament and on the streets of all major Polish cities. The debate was all about three laws providing for a profound reform of the Polish justice system. The first law on the system of common courts gives the Minister of Justice/Prosecutor General the right to dismiss presidents of any level of court in Poland. One does not have to be a psychic to see how such power could be abused. After all, court presidents also have to feed their families and pay the mortgage. The second law deals with the National Court Council (Krajowa Rada Sądownictwa, or KRS for short, not to be confused with Krajowy Rejestr Spółek Handlowych, or KRS for short), the body which appoints judges. In the proposed law, the right to appoint members of the council would be passed over to Parliament. The third law, on the Supreme Court, would see the immediate dismissal of all Supreme Court judges and the right to (re) appoint them granted to the Minister of Justice/Prosecutor General. After the Constitutional Court was brought under control of the government roughly a year and a half ago, the Supreme Court started to be too vocal in its criticism of certain laws being proposed by the governing party. Despite all the protests inside Poland, and the criticism from the European Commission, and even the United States State Department, all three laws were passed by the lower house, the Sejm, and by the Senate just in time for the summer break. In a final attempt to avoid the further politicisation of the Polish justice system, tens of thousands of people took to the streets and the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce decided

to write a letter to the President underlining the fact that an independent judiciary is the basis of a good investment climate. The American Chamber of Commerce and the Swiss Chamber of Commerce did the same. As a Chamber, we try to stay out of politics in general, so you will not hear us talk about the Nobel prize-winner Ciesław Miłosz and Joseph Conrad being deleted from the set book list to be read by Polish secondary school pupils, or even about Europe’s only primeval forest, the Białowieża forest, being cut down for profit. However, when the proposed laws may directly affect the business interests of our members, we feel that we have to let the politicians know that Dutch investors are not oblivious to the changes being proposed. In the past, we wrote letters to the previous government about the reforms of the agricultural laws which were having a negative effect on the interests of Dutch farmers, and we have also written to the current government about the law putting a halt to wind energy (within the framework of the IGCC), and to the Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Affairs about the banking and retail taxes and about their views on international investors in Poland. Does the NPCC not see the need for reform of the Polish justice system? Of course, we do: courts in Poland are often extremely slow, with some judges tending to favour local businessmen, and the afore-mentioned KRS (the one that registers companies) is a nightmare to deal with. This has become much worse recently and the NPCC personally confronted Deputy Prime Minister Morawiecki with this issue at a breakfast organised by the IGCC (International Group of Chambers of Commerce) on 17 May this year. At the same time, one should not forget that compared to countries like Italy and Spain, Polish courts are the embodiment of efficiency. Putting the judiciary under (in)direct political control is never the solution and it will ultimately make it impossible to win any court cases against the Polish state, state-owned companies or private companies owned by the supporters of any sitting government. Where our previous pleas to Polish governments did not lead to any positive results, this time round the President did actually veto the second and third laws described above. For the time being, we can take pride in the thought that maybe, just maybe, our letter had something to do with that. Vigilance is required, though, as these laws will probably come back in some form or another.

This column is written à titre personnel and does not necessarily reflect the views of the NPCC board or its members.

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