Poland wants more investment from South Korea: Fin Min

Poland sees South Korea as its major economic partner and wants to further boost bilateral ties beyond e-mobility to make a strong rebound from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tadeusz Kościński, the Polish Finance Minister told Korean News Agency Yonhap.

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“I consider South Korea as one of the most important economic partners for Poland in Asia," Mr Kościński said in a recent interview.

Since forging a strategic partnership in 2013, Korean firms have been investing heavily in Poland in various areas, including electric vehicle batteries, electronics, engineering, auto parts and the chemical industry.

South Korea is now the largest Asian investor in Poland, with the cumulative value of Korean foreign direct investment in the European country reaching USD 2.2 bn as of 2019, according to the data from the National Bank of Poland.

Mr Kościński said he expects “fruitful collaboration” in the e-mobility and cybersecurity sectors, as well as a number of other areas, encouraging more Korean companies to further invest in Poland.

The largest investment is LG Chem Ltd.'s EV battery plant, which started production in 2018 near the southwestern city of Wroclaw, making Poland the largest lithium-ion battery exporter in Europe.

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The Korean company has invested about KRW 4 tln (USD 3.5 bn) in the Polish facility as of 2020 and plans to additionally spend 820 billion won by next year, the financial report of its wholly owned subsidiary LG Energy Solution showed.

LG's large-scale battery investment attracted other Korean companies and subcontractors and created new jobs in Poland.

In February, the two countries signed an agreement to enhance cooperation for Poland's Solidarity Transport Hub (STH). South Korea is also eyeing opportunities in Poland’s nuclear energy sector, as the European nation is seeking to reduce its dependence on coal.The Polish nuclear power program aims to build six reactors in two locations by 2043, with the first reactor expected to begin operation in 2033.

“Investments that strengthen the economic ecosystem with highly advanced technologies are important for every country, for Poland too, and I am sure that Korean companies deliver the best in this respect,” Mr Kościński said. “That is why we would like to encourage them to further invest in Poland, especially now when we all need resources to stimulate development and economic growth weakened by the pandemic,” he added.