Poland expects to bolster economic cooperation with China as bilateral trade is going in a positive direction under the framework of Belt and Road Initiative, an official said.

Sino-Polish trade grew by 13.3 percent to reach US$33.47 billion in 2018. Polish exports to China amounted to US$2.5 billion, up 8.7 percent while imports from China grew 13.7 percent to reach US$30.97 billion, maintaining the country’s position as Poland’s second-largest source of imports following Germany, data from the statistics bureau of Poland showed.

Located in Central Europe, Poland borders seven countries including Germany, Russia and the Czech Republic, and is known as a portal linking European Union markets.

Poland was one of the first countries to sign an memorandum of understanding with China about the BRI in 2015. The country sees economic cooperation with China as being of great potential, especially in air, maritime and land transportation, said Artur Gradziuk, counselor and head of the economic section of the Polish embassy in Beijing.

Its geographical advantage has played a bigger role in boosting China-Europe trade as more business opportunities have been generated under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and the “16+1 Cooperation” a platform created in April 2012 by China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries.

“As (the) Chinese government is enhancing transportation and logistics cooperation with Europe, Poland is prepared to provide more transportation, warehouse and logistics services,” Gradziuk said.

One positive outcome of the BRI is that more China-Europe freight trains, also known as the China Railway Express, pass through Poland to reach other European countries, and this has significantly improved the efficiency of cross-border trade.

Large ships are regularly loaded in the two major Polish ports of Gdansk and Gdynia, which account for 95 percent of maritime cargo transportation in the country, with up to 21,000 standard containers for transport to Asia, including Chinese ports in Shanghai, Qingdao, Ningbo and Shenzhen every week, said Slawomir Berbec, Director of the Pomorskie Voivodeship China Office.

Chinese computers, mobile phones, textiles, sports equipment and toys are exported to Poland and other European countries. Polish copper, mechanical equipment, electronics products, cosmetics, furniture and agricultural products serve Chinese customers.

The trade between China and Europe is backed by a network with Poland functioning as a transportation hub.