US trade secretary seeks more business with Poland

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Even as the U.S. and European Union seek a major free trade deal, Poland and the U.S. should intensify their commercial ties in areas ranging from construction to energy security, U.S. Secretary for Commerce Penny Pritzker said Monday.

Pritzker told a meeting of Polish and U.S. businessmen that bilateral business is below its potential. Poland is currently only America's 54th largest trading partner, even though its economy ranks among the world's top 25. U.S. companies have invested some $30 billion in Poland since the early 1990s.

"We know that we are missing an opportunity to work much closer together," Pritzker told a meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce. "It is in our mutual best interest to have stronger economic ties between our countries, our businesses and our people."

Traveling to Ukraine, Poland and Turkey with the CEOs of leading U.S. companies like Lockheed-Martin or Xerox, Pritzker is to make a report for President Barack Obama from this "economic diplomacy" mission.

She named infrastructure, green building, technology and transport, defense, energy security and IT as "areas of opportunity."

Poland is keen to boost its developing economy through cooperation in innovative technologies, but also in the food and farming products sector. As a member of the European Union, Poland is part of negotiations on a free trade agreement with the U.S. Those talks could take months, if not years, to be completed, however.

Pritzker arrived from Ukraine, where she discussed steps that the government should take to develop business with the U.S. She said Ukraine should aim to attract foreign companies by making the economy more efficient and reducing corruption, among other things.

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