Polish-Korean economic cooperation

Publication date: October 19, 2023  

South Korea is overtaking Italy and Switzerland in investments in Poland.

South Korea has jumped into the top ten largest direct investors in Poland – according to new data from the National Bank of Poland. At the end of last year the involvement of Korean companies amounted to PLN 30.5 billion. During the year it increased by almost PLN 12 billion.

Korea’s strong position is due to investments such as the electric car battery factory located near Wrocław. The sales of batteries have recently become one of the main drivers of growth in all Polish exports.

Koreans are currently a more important investor for Poland than even Italians, Swiss, Danes, Swedes or Americans. All these countries were overtaken by Korea last year in terms of the size of their involvement in our country.

Poland may be South Korea’s “gateway” to entering the markets of European Union countries. Bank Pekao wants to participate in financing this process. For this purpose the Bank created a special unit for financing trade and foreign investments.

Over 600 Korean companies have already invested in Poland, and over 60 Polish companies operate on the Korean market. Out of the ten largest investments in terms of the volume of capital invested in Poland in 2000-2022, six come from South Korea. In 2022, trade between Poland and Korea reached USD 9 billion.

Korean-Polish cooperation in the area of trade, investment and supply chains was the topic of the panel that took place during the Korean-Polish Forum as part of this year’s edition of the Krynica Forum.

EV batteries, batteries for the mobility and IT industries, as well as energy storage systems that can revolutionize the entire renewable energy sector (today, the main barrier to the rapid development of renewable energy sources is the inability to store large amounts of unstable energy from photovoltaic panels or windmills) – are the core Korean investments in Poland. Every year, Korean batteries from Lower Silesia supply power to, among others: 700 thousand new electric cars.

Another activity is that one of the Korean companies will build a factory for steel products made of coated sheets in Bytyń.

Poland has been strongly tightening cooperation with South Korea in recent years, primarily in the arms and energy field. Last year, the Ministry of National Defense signed three large arms contracts with the Koreans for the purchase of K9 howitzers, new FA-50 aircraft and K2 tanks. In turn, PGE, the Korean concern KNHP and ZE PAK, signed at the end of last year in Seoul, a letter of intent regarding the construction of a joint nuclear power plant in Pątnów, Greater Poland. Polish-Korean cooperation in this area is intended to complement the government’s nuclear energy program.

On July 14, 2023 an agreement on cooperation in the field of trade and investment promotion, in particular trade exchange, investment promotion and industrial cooperation, was signed in Warsaw by the Minister of Development and Technology and the Korean Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Chang-Yang Lee.

Korean manufacturer of components for lithium-ion batteries, will invest nearly PLN 150 million in Skarbimierz (Opole Voivodeship). The company’s plant will be built in the Wałbrzych Special Economic Zone “INVEST-PARK” (WSSE). The investment project was handled from the beginning by the Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH).

One of Korean investors intends to invest approximately PLN 148 million in the Opole region and create approximately 100 jobs. In the WSEZ, the company will produce secondary conductive agent for lithium-ion batteries. Its recipients will mainly be Korean producers of batteries for electric vehicles from the province of Lower Silesia and Silesia. Production will start in December 2023.

There is also launched one of the largest chemical investments in recent years in Europe. The Polish government entrusted it to the Koreans. The polymers will produce polypropylene, a material that can be used to build car components (e.g. bumpers), in construction (e.g. for carpets or bathroom elements), as well as in the chemical, textile and pharmaceutical industries.

Another important area of cooperation will be the projects related to the reconstruction of Ukraine. There has been signed a historic 5-year memorandum of cooperation between Poland and South Korea in the reconstruction of Ukraine.

The cost of rebuilding the entire Ukrainian transport and energy infrastructure is estimated at USD 140 billion. The largest costs are related to the reconstruction of destroyed residential buildings (USD 50.4 billion), transport (USD 35.7 billion), trade (USD 10.9 billion), energy (USD 10.6 billion), highways and roads (26, USD 4 billion), as well as power equipment for railways and stations (USD 23.3 billion).

KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI on 4-15 October 2023 visited Seoul, South Korea, participating in the international conference. Personal presence in Seoul of the representatives of KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI provided an opportunity of many meetings with Korean business and legal environment of business and trade. Our lawyers have vast experience in securing the interests of foreign investors in Poland.

The representatives of Korean business are highly welcome to our Warsaw office, near the headquarters of KOTRA (Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency).

We also invite you to read more detailed information about the visit of KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI in Seul, South Korea in October 2023: