26 June 2017
Poland Looks to Provide China with Chickens' Feet and a Euro Gateway
East European nation hopes to resume mainland poultry exports and find key role within the Belt and Road Initiative.
Polish poultry producers are hoping to resume exports to China by the end of this month. Poultry imports from Poland to the mainland were banned in December last year following outbreaks of bird flu on farms in the west and south of the country.
Technically, imports cannot resume until three months after the last reported case of the avian influenza strain in the country. Poland has, apparently, been free of infection since 15 March this year.
Discussions as to the resumption of such exports were held in Hong Kong in early May. Leading the talks were representatives of Poland's National Poultry Council (KRD), with a number of leading mainland poultry distributors in attendance.
A recent rise in Poland's poultry production levels has seen the country keen to secure new export destinations, with China regarded as one of the most promising of the international markets. Overall, sales to the mainland are particularly valued, given that certain poultry items – most notably chickens' feet – have a ready market in China, while being virtually unsalable elsewhere.
According to the KRD, should exports resume, the total value of the Poland-China poultry trade could exceed US$560 million a year by 2020. Immediately prior to the ban, Polish poultry exports to the mainland were valued at about $84 million annually.
According to the KRD, Poland is emerging as one of the EU's key poultry-production centres. At present, it produces about 2.5 million tonnes of poultry a year, 40% of which is exported. Approximately 80% of all such exports currently go to other EU member nations.
In other moves, the Polish government has high hopes of playing a significant role in China's Belt and Road Initiative. In particular, it is hoping that the mooted Central Polish Airport (CPA) project could form an integral element of China's plans to enhance its European trading routes.
In addition to air-cargo transport, the CPA initiative would also see the construction of fast rail links, integrated transport corridors, dedicated economic zones and a comprehensive upgraded to the region's energy infrastructure. In light of its potential significance to the overall BRI programme, Poland is believed to be seeking funding from the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank in order to help make the planned CPA a more affordable reality.
At present, Poland, which is pitching itself as China's gateway to Europe, has been keen to nurture its trading relationships with the mainland. In particular, it has been promoting opportunities relating to a number of niche investments, including yachts and designer furniture, while also looking to secure joint opportunities with regard to environmental technologies, medical and mining equipment, cosmetics and the IT sector.
Anna Dowgiallo, Warsaw Consultant