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  • Foto del escritorThe Corporate Reviews

Dominik Wagner

Board Member at AHK Polska


Could you please describe, from your point of view, the current business scenario in Europe?

The current business landscape in Europe is characterized by a complex interplay of various factors, each shaping the economic trajectory in significant ways. Primarily, the region is still navigating the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has accelerated digital transformation and reshaped conventional work models towards more flexible, remote-oriented structures.

Crucially, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has cast a long shadow over Europe. This conflict has not only caused a humanitarian crisis but also significantly disrupted trade routes, energy supplies, and political alliances. The economic sanctions imposed on Russia and the countermeasures have further intensified the uncertainty, leading to inflationary pressures and supply chain disruptions.

These developments have heightened concerns about a potential economic stagnation or even a recession in Europe. The energy crisis, in particular, has posed a significant challenge for businesses, especially in energy-intensive industries, prompting a reevaluation of energy dependence and a hastened transition towards renewable sources.

Moreover, the situation in Israel and its geopolitical implications cannot be overlooked. The ongoing crisis in Israel has ramifications for the wider region and impacts trade, investment, and diplomatic relations, contributing to the overall climate of uncertainty.

Additionally, the emphasis on sustainability and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) criteria is reshaping business strategies. European companies are increasingly focusing on sustainable practices, not only in response to regulatory demands but also to align with changing consumer preferences.

In conclusion, the European business environment, though facing challenges like economic stagnation fears and geopolitical tensions, shows resilience and adaptability. There's a concerted effort towards digital innovation, sustainable development, and economic diversification, which positions Europe to continue being a significant player on the global economic stage.

How does that scenario affect companies in Germany? What are the biggest challenges that they are facing? 

The current European scenario, shaped by various geopolitical and economic factors, has a profound impact on companies in Germany. One of the most immediate effects is the disruption in supply chains, exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Germany, with its strong manufacturing and export-oriented economy, is particularly vulnerable to these disruptions. Companies are facing challenges in securing raw materials and components, leading to increased costs and production delays.

Furthermore, the energy crisis, accentuated by the dependency on Russian gas, poses a significant challenge. German companies, especially in energy-intensive sectors like manufacturing and chemicals, are grappling with soaring energy costs. This has compelled businesses to reassess their energy strategies, accelerating the transition towards renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures.

The economic landscape is also affected by the looming threat of economic stagnation or recession. Consumer sentiment in Germany is cautious, influenced by inflationary pressures and uncertainties in the global market. This has led to a decline in consumer spending, impacting sectors such as retail and services.

In addition, German companies are navigating the complexities of heightened regulatory and compliance requirements, particularly in the context of ESG standards. The shift towards sustainable practices is not just a regulatory mandate but also a market-driven necessity, as consumers and investors increasingly favor environmentally and socially responsible businesses.

Moreover, the digital transformation, hastened by the pandemic, continues to be a double-edged sword. While it offers opportunities for innovation and new business models, it also presents challenges in terms of cybersecurity, data protection, and the need for upskilling the workforce.

In conclusion, German companies are facing a multifaceted set of challenges, including supply chain disruptions, energy crises, economic uncertainties, regulatory complexities, and the need for digital transformation. Navigating these challenges requires adaptability, strategic foresight, and a commitment to innovation and sustainability, which are key to maintaining Germany's status as a leading economic powerhouse.

What would you say are the types and focus of companies that are currently increasing their positions in the European economy? 

In the evolving European economic landscape, certain types of companies are distinctly enhancing their positions. This trend is driven by the current economic scenario, technological advancements, and shifting consumer behaviors.

Technology and Digital Innovation Companies: This sector is at the forefront, especially those involved in digital transformation, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity. The pandemic has accelerated the digital shift, and companies providing digital solutions, from e-commerce platforms to remote work technologies, are experiencing significant growth.

Sustainable and Green Technology Firms: With the increasing focus on sustainability and the European Green Deal, companies specializing in renewable energy, electric vehicles, and sustainable manufacturing processes are gaining prominence. This also includes businesses involved in the circular economy, which are redefining traditional business models with a focus on resource efficiency and waste reduction.

Biotechnology and Healthcare Companies: The healthcare sector has gained unprecedented attention due to the pandemic. Companies involved in pharmaceuticals, medical technology, and healthcare services, especially those driving innovation in vaccine development, telemedicine, and personalized medicine, are expanding their influence.

Financial Technology (Fintech) and Financial Services: The fintech sector is revolutionizing traditional banking and financial services. Companies offering digital payment solutions, blockchain technology, and financial management tools are increasingly significant in the finance sector.

E-Commerce and Online Retailers: The shift towards online shopping has been accelerated by the pandemic, benefiting e-commerce businesses and companies that support online retail logistics, including delivery and supply chain management solutions.

Agri-tech and Food Innovation Companies: With a growing focus on sustainable agriculture and food security, companies in agri-tech are innovating in areas like precision farming, food processing technology, and sustainable food production.

In summary, companies that are increasing their positions in the European economy are those that align with the current trends of digital transformation, sustainability, healthcare innovation, financial technology, online retail, and agricultural technology. These sectors are not only responding to immediate challenges but are also shaping the future economic landscape of Europe.

Could you tell us about your position in the AHK Polska and the main focus of the organisation? 

My association with the AHK Polska (German-Polish Chamber of Commerce) has been a significant and enriching part of my professional journey. My connection with the AHK Polska dates back to 2008. This was the year I spent part of my legal training with the Chamber, which provided me with invaluable insights into the intricacies of international commerce and legal practices. Subsequently, I served as an arbitrator at the Chamber’s arbitration centre for six years. This experience has been instrumental in deepening my understanding of the economic relationship between Germany and Poland.

In this year, I was elected to the Board of the AHK Polska by the General Assembly, a role that I consider both an honor and a responsibility. The Chamber is the largest bilateral economic chamber in Poland, with over 1100 German and Polish member companies. This diverse membership base reflects the vibrant and multifaceted nature of German-Polish economic relations.

The main focus of the AHK Polska is to foster and strengthen economic ties between Germany and Poland. We aim to facilitate trade and investment opportunities for our member companies and provide them with essential market information, legal guidance, and networking platforms. Our activities include organizing trade fairs, business conferences, and training programs, all designed to enhance bilateral business relations and support companies in navigating the complexities of the German and Polish markets.

Moreover, the Chamber plays a crucial role in advocating for the interests of German and Polish businesses at both the national and European levels, ensuring that the business community’s voice is heard in policy-making processes.

In conclusion, my position in the AHK Polska allows me to contribute significantly to the thriving economic partnership between Germany and Poland. The Chamber’s commitment to promoting bilateral trade, addressing business challenges, and advocating for favorable economic policies continues to drive the success and growth of our member companies in both countries.

Given that, how important would you say the relationships between Germany and Poland are for their economies? 

The economic relationship between Germany and Poland is of paramount importance for both countries, representing a cornerstone of their respective economic strategies and growth. Germany is not only Poland's largest trading partner but also by far the biggest foreign investor in the Polish economy. Conversely, Poland is a significant market for German products and services and plays a crucial role in the German supply chain as a nearshoring destination.

The bilateral trade volume between Germany and Poland has been consistently growing, underscoring the interdependence of our economies. German companies have a substantial presence in Poland (more than 6,000 German companies have already expanded to Poland), spanning various sectors such as manufacturing, automotive, and technology. Similarly, Polish companies are increasingly active in the German market, bringing competitive products and services.

Poland’s strategic location and its strong manufacturing base have made it an integral part of the German supply chain. Many German companies rely on Polish suppliers for components and finished goods, benefitting from Poland's competitive costs and skilled workforce.

The robust trade and investment ties between our countries significantly contribute to economic growth and employment in both nations. The collaboration in sectors like renewable energy, digital technology, and infrastructure development has a multiplier effect on job creation and economic dynamism.

The relationship also fosters innovation and technology transfer. German investment in Poland often comes with advanced technologies and management practices, which in turn enhance the competitiveness of Polish industries.

On a broader scale, the strong German-Polish economic ties contribute to the economic cohesion and stability of the European Union. As key EU members, both countries play a vital role in shaping EU policies and strategies, particularly in the context of the single market and regional development.

In summary, the relationship between Germany and Poland is not only crucial for the economies of the two countries but also has a significant impact on the broader European economic landscape. This partnership, built on a foundation of mutual trade, investment, and shared interests, continues to evolve, adapting to global economic trends and challenges.

What are your perspectives for the German and Polish economy for 2024? How do you think that AHK Polska will play a role in that? 

Looking ahead to 2024, the economic landscape for Germany and Poland presents a blend of challenges and opportunities, shaped by global dynamics and regional developments. The anticipated recovery and growth in both economies are expected to be driven by continued digital transformation, a focus on sustainability, and the adaptation to geopolitical changes, including the impact of the Russian-Ukraine conflict.

The upcoming political shift in Poland with the formation of a liberal government under Donald Tusk as Prime Minister is a pivotal development. This change promises to invigorate bilateral relations, particularly in trade and investment, and positions Poland to assert a more confident and mature role on the European stage. The new government's pro-European and liberal economic policies are expected to align closely with Germany's economic agenda, enhancing cooperation and fostering innovative collaborations in sectors like renewable energy, digital technology, and infrastructure.

In this dynamic context, the role of the AHK Polska is more critical than ever. The organization will continue to facilitate trade and investment between Germany and Poland, support businesses in navigating the evolving economic environment, and advocate for favorable business conditions. A landmark event in this journey will be the Europe Conference in Warsaw in October 2024, hosted by the AHK Polska for the first time. This prestigious event will bring together representatives from all German Chambers of Commerce Abroad across Europe, providing a unique platform for setting future economic agendas, promoting networking, and showcasing the strength of European economic collaboration.

This conference will not only reinforce the importance of German-Polish economic ties but also highlight the significant role of AHK Polska in shaping the economic discourse in Europe. It represents an opportunity to strengthen economic cooperation, drive innovation, and shape policies that will benefit the economies of both Germany and Poland, as well as the broader European community.

Finally, what are your thoughts on the role that governments and their authorities should play in promoting economic growth and development?

The role of governments and their authorities in promoting economic growth and development is multifaceted and crucial. Governments have the unique capability to create the macroeconomic environment in which businesses operate, and their policies can significantly influence the pace and quality of economic development.

One of the primary roles of governments is to establish a regulatory framework that fosters entrepreneurship and business growth. This includes ensuring a stable legal and economic environment, protecting property rights, and enforcing contracts. A transparent and efficient regulatory system encourages both domestic and foreign investments.

Governments should prioritize investments in infrastructure and technology. Well-developed infrastructure, including transportation, telecommunications, and energy, is fundamental to economic efficiency and competitiveness. Investing in digital infrastructure and supporting technological innovation are also critical for economic modernization and development.

Investment in education and skill development is essential to ensure a workforce that is adaptable and equipped for the demands of a rapidly changing economy. Governments should focus on creating education systems that can produce skilled labor, particularly in areas relevant to future economic growth like digital skills, sustainability, and innovation.

Economic policies should be oriented towards sustainable and inclusive growth. This means integrating environmental and social considerations into economic planning and ensuring that the benefits of growth are widely shared across all segments of society.

Governments play a key role in supporting research and development (R&D) activities, either directly or through incentives. This can drive innovation, enhance productivity, and create new market opportunities.

Governments should work towards facilitating international trade and cooperation. Reducing trade barriers, engaging in diplomatic relationships to foster trade agreements, and participating in international economic forums are vital for global economic integration.

Governments must also be adept at managing economic crises and building resilience. This includes having policies and mechanisms in place to respond to economic shocks and ensure a swift recovery.

In conclusion, governments and their authorities play a pivotal role in creating the conditions for economic growth and development. Their policies and actions can effectively shape the economic landscape, influencing the trajectory of both national and global economies.


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