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The Warsaw Voice » Other » March 5, 2008
EURO 2012 - REGIONS
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Rzeszów: a Distinct Brand
March 5, 2008   
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German company MTU Aero Engines has announced that it will build a factory in Jasionka, near Rzeszów in southeastern Poland, this spring. The project will cost 70 million euros and provide jobs for 400. The company, which is an international leader in the development, manufacture and repair of aircraft engines, will start production in Jasionka next year.

"We decided to construct a factory in Jasionka because of the local Special Economic Zone, a well-developed industrial base of companies associated with the Aviation Valley [industrial cluster], and a large pool of qualified staff," said project manager Richard Maier. He added that the new MTU plant would be located next to Jasionka airfield.

BorgWarner, a global giant in the automotive parts sector, plans to open a turbocompressor factory within the Scientific and Technological Park in Jasionka. The project will be worth an estimated zl.50 million. Initially the plant will offer 50 jobs, growing to 300 by 2012.

BorgWarner chose the location from among 50 sites across Europe. The final stage of the contest was between Rzeszów and Kosice in Slovakia.

BorgWarner, a major supplier of power transmission systems, has factories in a dozen or so countries around the world. The arguments in favor of locating the new turbocompressor factory near Rzeszów included the availability of developed land in a scientific and technological park lying within an economic zone offering substantial tax breaks, the short distance to Ukraine, relatively cheap land and a qualified work force.

Monika Szymańska, head of Rzeszów's municipal investor service center, says, "We felt no doubt that the Industrial Development Agency (ARP) would give its consent for BorgWarner to invest in the Rzeszów Special Economic Zone. It was the effect of many years of hard work to get this investor to come here."

Last fall the Euro-Park Mielec Special Economic Zone was expanded to include areas near Rzeszów's airport in Jasionka. "This is the perfect place to invest. The plot is close to the city, there are many university-level institutions nearby and young engineers educated at the Rzeszów University of Technology," says Mariusz Błędowski, director of the Euro-Park Mielec Special Economic Zone.

Aviation capital
When global giant Pratt & Whitney entered WSK PZL Rzeszów aviation plant a few years ago, it was the start of the sector's rapid development in the region. The Rzeszów plant assembles engines for F-16 aircraft. The Aviation Valley industrial cluster already includes several dozen companies, and Rzeszów has become the unquestioned capital of Poland's aircraft industry.

Modern aircraft, IT, chemical, furniture and building material industries are sectors that have long defined the profile of Rzeszów and the Podkarpacie region's economy. The region's tradition also includes the glassmaking industry. Glassmaker Kro¶nieńskie Huty Szkła was one of the first five Polish companies floated on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Today there are about 30 smaller firms in the region of Krosno and Jasło that make glass products.

The leading company of the southeastern Podkarpacie region has for years been tire manufacturer Firma Oponiarska Dębica, one of the first to be privatized. It fell into the capable hands of U.S. company Goodyear, the tire maker. Thanks to investment, it has become one of Europe's largest manufacturers of tires for passenger cars and trucks, exporting its products to countries around the world. The success of Dębica tires is largely due to the company's long-time president, Zdzisław Chabowski.

"I am convinced that the A4 freeway to the border with Ukraine will be ready by 2012," says Rzeszów Mayor Tadeusz Ferenc. "The airport is our window on the world. Rzeszów could become a major airport in this part of Europe and we have to take advantage of this opportunity."

One economic phenomenon
One economic phenomenon in the region is Transsystem in Wola Dalsza near Łańcut, a company specializing in the production and assembly of metal elements for car factory process lines. It cooperates with the world's largest automotive companies, building factories all over Europe, in Russia, the United States and China.

Another success story is Asseco, a leader in information technology. Company President Adam Góral is a leading authority in this field.

The Rzeszów authorities are counting on the region's economy being stimulated by the strong market of neighboring Ukraine. In terms of political and cultural links, cooperation with Ukraine is going very well. But trade is not faring so well. However, if Ukraine starts rapidly developing, then Rzeszów and the whole Podkarpacie region are sure to benefit, because the shortest road from Ukraine to Western Europe leads through Rzeszów.

"An influx of EU funds will change the province's image," says province marshal Zygmunt Cholewiński. "Just from the Regional Operational Program up to 2013, the province will have 1.3 billion euros to use. Another 500 million euros will come from the program to develop Poland's eastern regions."

Rzeszów's local government and other local governments in the Podkarpacie region have already proved they know how to make good use of EU money. In a few years this will be a province of modern industry.
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