While visiting Atlanta April 6, Andrzej Olechowski, Poland’s former minister of finance and foreign affairs and a prime contender in his country’s next presidential election, encouraged Georgia’s small- and mid-sized firms to consider his country’s low costs as a starting point for doing business in Europe.

          The service sector is booming, he told GlobalFax at a conference on Europe hosted by the Southern Center for International Studies (SCIS) at Oglethorpe University, and Poland is interested in attracting investment from several industries, including the technology sector and financial services. 

          Governmental corruption, admitted Dr. Olechowski during the conference, is still a problem in Poland, further aggravated in recent years by the large amounts of foreign investment pouring into the country.

However, he emphasized that Poland’s entry into the European Union (EU), tentatively slated for 2005, would out-weigh the negatives for U.S. companies focused on establishing relationships within the EU.

          Whit Zabinski, president of the Polish-American Chamber, affirmed Dr. Olechowski’s comments, suggesting that large multinationals with established presences in Poland such as — Coca-Cola, Cox Enterprises, General Electric and Philip Morris – have paved the way for small- and mid-sized companies looking to expand into the region.

          Dr. Olechowski served as Poland’s minister of finance in 1992, and as minister of foreign affairs from 1993 to 1995.  He ran for president as an independent candidate in 2000 and came in second behind the current president, Aleksander Kwasniewski.  Today, Dr. Olechowski serves as the chairman of the Citizen’s Platform, a growing political party in Poland.  For more information about Dr. Olechowski’s speech, contact the Southern Center at www.southerncenter.org

          To reach the chamber, call (404) 724-4500 or visit www.pacc-south.com