31 (126) 2017
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Brexit, taxes and gas: hot topics at this year's Krynica Forum

By Russell Towlson, trade director, BPCC
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Each year, the ski resort of Krynica Zdrój plays host to an economic summit, the Economic Forum, where politicians and business leaders from across the CEE region come together to discuss im-portant economic and political matters.

The first such forum took part in 1992, so, like the BPCC, this event is also celebrating its silver jubilee.

This year I was fortunate enough to attend the Krynica forum for the first time, as guest of BPCC patron, Sage. I was impressed by the scale of the event which was well organised and equally well attended. I took part in a panel discussing the government's proposed tax changes, digitisation of tax returns for SMEs, and corporate income tax were the key points. Undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Finance, Paweł Gruza, who has responsibility for taxes, was also on the panel, making it particularly well-informed.

On the same evening, I attended a dinner hosted by Shell. This was a very cordial affair attended by senior business figures, a former Polish prime minister, and BPCC board member and chairman of the Council of British Chambers of Commerce in Europe (COBCOE), David Thomas. The discus-sion was lively and light-hearted with more serious exchanges around the possible opportunities in liquid natural gas, with Piotr Dziwok the country chairman of Shell companies in Poland placing his company's flag firmly in the ground as a major player which is very keen to increase its involvement in this growing sector where its market share is lower than it should be.

The following morning I attended a panel discussion about the likely impact of Brexit on the finan-cial markets. Just before the panel, I was talking to David Thomas who was taking part in it. David confided that he was a little worried that the attendance might be low as a result of the previous night's traditional parties and indeed at this point, the audience was thin on the ground. Yet the word 'Brexit' proved a powerful draw, and audience numbers suddenly swelled as the debate start-ed.

Within a few minutes, there wasn't a seat in the house. Brexit is a hot topic and everyone I met a Krynica, our conversation eventually turned to the 'B' word. To summarise – the general view of the majority of panellists was that London would remain a global financial capital after Brexit because of its huge strengths and capital resources and its ability to attract capital.

I enjoyed the Krynica experience immensely and hope to attend again and I would certainly rec-ommend those who have never attended to go at least once.

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