This year there is a 60 anniversary of diplomatic and trade relations between Poland and India. The Polish Indian Forum discussing relations between both countries was held on the 20th of January in Warsaw at the Polish Chamber of Commerce. Representatives of Chambers of both countries have confirmed low level of trade and investments up to now. The Polish Ministry of Economy announces every year the “priority countries” in their promotion activities. This year India is among other 10 countries on the priority list, so there is a hope that the situation will change for better.
Why is India a good trade partner?
Indian market is huge and its potential is growing – population of 1,3 billion of people, 26 million of children born every year and Indian society getting richer and possessing large disposable income along with a third largest economic by GDP, there are good preconditions for economic development and power.
If is so good, why the trade exchange between both countries are at such low level?
In was quite funny, when during the session with Polish entrepreneurs investing in India and Indian entrepreneurs investing in POLAND, the answers for the question: which barriers and problems do you experience in cooperation with the host country, the same arguments were quoted. So Poles complain about infrastructure in India (low quality of roads, electricity not available all time, visa problems, burocracy and bribery.
What do Indian entrepreneurs complain about investing and working in Poland? Low quality of roads (they compere Polish roads with those of Western Europe, visa problems, burocracy and bribery. And that Polish clerks do not speak English. So the list of barriers looks very similar, but on the Polish side is additionaly low level of knowledge of English.
There is only one advantage of the fact that on the list are the same factors – when they are common for both countries, we know how to cope with them, we are more resilient for them and can find creative solutions.
When Polish companies chose India to invest and not for example China, it is because of the fact that Indian are speaking English and there is no problem to communicate.
The Forum’s headline was India – “Poland the Community of Values” and common values have been named as quality factors of boosting our trade exchange and investments.
So what are common values that are important for Poles and Indians?
In both countries family plays a big role – a status of mother and elderly family members is very high, children obey parents, family’s gatherings for different occasions are common. These similarities concern private aspects of role of a family; in public life there are quite different exemplification of it. In India valuing family means that a lot of companies are run by families, whereas there is not such a case in Poland. But in both countries relations play important role.
High motivation, pragmatism and creativity are other common values mentioned during the Forum. Both countries are highly motivated, they want to develop and achieve good standard of living to catch up this of more developed countries. When we combine both virtues – pragmatism and creativity – as Poles and Indians do, the pragmatic creativity will appear, and this is the way we can describe both Poles and Indians. This virtue is developed as a result of scarcity of resources (time, commodities, money, possibilities etc.) and sometimes was a method of survival.
During the Polish Indian Forum some recommendations for Poles doing business in India was formulated.
- Learn Indian business culture
- Have a local partner
- Do not expect short term profits
- Be prepare for different scenarios and be flexible
- Be patient, safe your face and of your partner
- Be aware that Indian are thinking English way but doing Indian way
- Do not expect anything, be prepare for everything
In India, before you start business, you need to build good relations with prospecting Indian partner. When you take into consideration Indian long-term orientation, building relation is a long time process that is why India is not good country for quick businesses. On the contrary, Poles with their short-term orientation are ready to do business quicker.
I remember my first visit in India, when I accompanied my Australian friends visited an Indian solar innovating company, where we have spent 3 hours talking about everything but business. Everything means really everything – poetry, Vedic knowledge, history of II World War, Ghandi and yoga. It was a delight for me as interculuralist, as yoga teacher and India fun, but I can imagine that a person not knowing the Indian culture and not having deep interested in in, could get impatient. But maybe it is a first exercise of being patient and trial whether you can do business in or with Indians?
I passed the exam and I am about to leave for third time India, this time for Mumbai and Karnataka.