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The Warsaw Voice » National Voice » September 2, 2011
Special National Section: Korea in Poland
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Korean Business and Investment in Poland
September 2, 2011   
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Despite the geographical distance between the two countries, Poland and the Republic of Korea have built strong economic ties through trade and private investment.

Starting from 1991, Korean investment in Poland rapidly increased during the 1990s. It experienced a slowdown later due to an Asian financial crisis and its fallout, but investment projects by Korean companies picked up after Poland joined the European Union in 2004. Last year total Korean investment in Poland reached $1.26 billion.

Poland is now one of the most important business and investment partners for Korea, with a notable status as the biggest investment destination for Korean companies in Central and Eastern Europe and the fifth largest in the EU.

Korea is one of the top 20 foreign investors in Poland, contributing to the country’s economic development in many ways. As of September 2010, the total number of Korean businesses operating in Poland stood at 128, including major conglomerates like the consumer electronics giants LG and Samsung and the internationally known car maker Hyundai. The main investment sites for Korean companies in Poland include an LG cluster in Wroc³aw, Samsung’s center in Wronki, and a complex of five electronics companies in M³awa. They have created a total of over 20,000 jobs.

Most Korean investments have gone into hi-tech industries. Over 90 percent of them are in manufacturing sectors such as electronics, chemicals, and automobiles and car parts. This creates various spillover effects, in addition to direct economic contribution, including the transfer of technology and managerial know-how. Samsung’s recent investment in R&D is expected to bring more direct and indirect benefits to the development of high value-added industries in Poland.

The advantages that Korean investment brings about in the Polish economy are also significant in terms of international trade. The total amount of annual exports by the six largest Korean investors is around $4 billion, and they account for over 80 percent of Poland’s total television-set exports, according to recent statistics. For example, in 2009, LG Electronics produced 10 million TV sets, and half of them were exported to other European countries as Polish exports. Furthermore, the LG plants in Wroc³aw and M³awa are the fifth and sixth largest exporters in the Polish economy respectively.

Trade between Korea and Poland reached $4.6 billion in 2010, and is expected to grow even more rapidly under a free trade agreement between the EU and Korea. Accordingly, Korean private investment in Poland will also be growing further, reinforcing Korean-Polish economic ties.
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