Poland is Korea’s 10th most important investment target in Europe and altogether Korean investments in Poland in 2016 were worth US$40 million. In 2016, there were 14 new Korean investments in Poland. Poland is considered to be one of the leading Central European forces in attracting Korean investors. From among Asian countries, Korea is the first investor in Poland for 2016 and 2017.” So said newly appointed Ambassador Piotr Ostaszewski of Poland in Seoul in an exclusive interview he had recently with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news media outlets established 33 years ago in 1985.
Ambassador Ostaszewski said that the the total value of Korean investments in Poland was about US$1.4 billion and is still growing. There are 159 Korean companies currently operating in Poland (including supplementary companies to jaebol business conglomerates). Excerpts from the inrterview with Ambassador Ostaszewski follow:
Question: Nowadays, economic cooperation between Korea and the major economic players around the world is considered to be among the most important targets in Korea. What is the present status between Korea and Poland in this respect?
Answer: Poland is Korea’s 10th most important investment target in Europe and altogether Korean investments in Poland in 2016 were worth US$40 million. In 2016, there were 14 new Korean investments in Poland. Poland is considered to be one of the leading Central European forces in attracting Korean investors. From among Asian, countries Korea is the first investor in Poland for 2016 and 2017.
Noteworthy is that among the top 7 most important chaebols, 4 are operating in Poland such as LG (like LG Electronics in Mlawa, LG Phillips in Kobierzyce, LG Chem near Wroclaw in Biskupice), Samsung Electronics (R&D in Warszawa, Lod, Poznan, Krakow and factory in Wronki near Poznan), SK (whose factory is located near Wloclawek and Dzier--oniow) and Daewoo Electronics Corporation.
Nearly 90% of Korean investment is allocated in industry and new technologies--modern electronics and household articles. Regarding the profile of their activities the most important companies are:
-Samsung Electronics--wholesale of information and communication equipment,
-LG Innotek Co, ltd., manufacture of electronic components and boards,
-LG Electronics Inc., manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products,
-LG Chem., Ltd., manufacture of electronic components and boards, (which announced a decision to invest in Poland (by 2020) US$387 million which is focused on the electric car battery production. According to the LG Chem forecasts by 2020, the total production will be worth of US$6.4 billion.
-Daewoo Electronics Corporation--manufacture of consumer electronics,
-SKC Chemicals--telecommunications, manufacture of chemicals and chemical products, electric power generation, transmition and distribution,
-SL Corporation--manufacture of electric lightning equipment,
-Daewon Kang Up Co. Ltd., manufacture of parts and accessories for motor vehicles,
-Dongyang Electronics--manufacture of electronic components and boards,
-Mando Corporation--manufacture of part sand accessories of motor vehicles,
-Heesung Electronics Co., Ltd., manufacture and electronic components and boards,
-HUMAX Co., Ltd., manufacture of consumer electronics and many others to whom I would like to apologize for not mentioning them but the list would be too long for just an interview.
Regarding Polish investment in Korea, the total value is estimated around 5.5 million USD, among which the most important companies are: Selena (pharmaceutics and chemical goods), Towimor (shipbuilding industry/onboard and offshore equipment), Bioton (pharmaceuticals).
Q: What is the present volume of bilateral trade, its outlook in the next 12 months?
A: In 2016 Poland was on 8th position as Korean trade partner in European Union.
The trade turnover between Poland and South Korea amounted to 3.9 million USD and was marginally(slightly) increased than in 2015. The export of Polish products to the Republic of Korea, at the time, increased by 82 million USD, in other word by 16.2%, reaching 506.9 million USD. The import, as well, increased by 66.5 million USD, which means by 2%. As a result of the trade exchange between Poland and the Republic of Korea, the deficit decreased from approximately -2.9 million USD in 2015 to-2.8 million USD in fall 2016/2017.
The status and value of trade exchange between Poland and the Republic of Korea is a derivative of the industrial structure and export structure of both economies. The strong orientation of Korea in export of the highly processed products (electronics, cars, household appliances and RTV), also in the European Union market, is the one of the highly negative factors to the trade balance for Poland. The Republic of Korea belongs to the country group with a high positive balance in foreign trade for many years. Another factor is Korea’s significant industrial investment in Poland over the past years, generating large supply import that is indispensable for production.
Q: What are the areas in your country where you might want Korean companies to invest and what are the areas where you wish your businessmen to invest in Korea?
A: Korean investment--future perspectives
Motor vehicles/car industry--especially bearing in mind the proximity of Korean Hyundai/KIA investment in Slovakia which might attract investment specializing in motor vehicles components production, noteworthy is the cooperation in this field with German companies which seems to be of vital importance for electric car industry;
ICT sector--especially in the field of R&D and service, which paves the way to the research and development projects cooperation between Polish and Korean teams/units especially in advanced technology sectors;
More household articles components production--since Poland has become one of the biggest exporter of these products;
Aviation--investment and technological cooperation of both countries with Lockheed Martin might be an incentive for closer cooperation and Korean investment in Poland;
Renewable energy--especially bearing in mind that Korea is perceived to become the real leader in this field in the nearest future;
Participation in the infrastructure development in Poland, High-speed railways, highways/motorways infrastructure and civil aviation infrastructure;
Energetic security--nuclear power plant;
The defence industry--development of the bilateral relations;
Polish investment in Korea--current and possible areas of cooperation/investment--we must remember about the strong Korean protectionist policy (NTB) which makes investment very hard and:
Green energy--possible cooperation with Korean companies and investment;
FinTech--possible cooperation with Korean companies;
Computer games industry--possible cooperation and investment;
ICT and electromobility--possible cooperation;
Yachting--possible cooperation and investment;
Smart city--possible cooperation;
Optical industry--possible wider investment and cooperation;
Agricultural products--organic food, widening areas of cooperation, dairy farming, lifting bans on Polish beef and pork;
Cosmetics--widening cooperation and possible investment;
Q: What are your competitive products and/or services attractive to Korea and what are the Korean products and services that your country might wish to import?
A: Polish products/services attracted to Korea:
Agricultural products like aronia, organic food;
Cosmetics like Ziaja, Inglot, Irena Eris;
Polish beverages like Polish beer and cider;
Polish yacht industry;
Rehabilitation products--Poland is well known for modern technologies applied in this sector and especially private initiative is very dynamic in export and inventions;
Polish the highest quality down--used especially for down jackets production or down comfortes;
Polish pottery like Boleslaw iec which is extremely well known and liked by Korean customers;
Aviation service--Polish Airlines LOT - expected 7 slots/week since Korean investment to grow and more businessmen attracted by the direct flights--giving them more possibility since time is money so as to have a possibility to catch the plane every day a week;
Tourism--as service--more developed for Korean tourists which might be of reciprocal benefit in growing number of tourist exchange--programmes needed;
Korean products/services attracted to Poland:
Agriculture/food--Korean food is getting more and more popular since there are quite a few Korean restaurants in Poland, especially Kim Chi is well known;
ICT and modern technology are of vital importance--Poland expects it to develop in the coming year;
Innovations--the problem is how to create the exchange and cooperation within this field--nevertheless Korea is very well known of it and Poland is opened for proposals;
Korean high-speed railway and construction industry;
Poland would welcome more Korean participation in the development of Polish infrastructure with modern technologies and techniques;
Q: Please introduce your Head of Government in detail, including major achievements.
A: 2015 November--2017 December--the prime minister Mrs. Beata Szydlo
Since December 2017--the prime minister Mr. Mateusz Morawiecki
Mrs. Beata Szydlo became prime minister after the currently ruling party (Law and Order, Prawo i Spawiedliwosc, PiS) had won parliamentary elections in autumn 2015. Mr. Mateusz Morawiecki was a member of Mrs Szydlo? government as a minister of development later to take the ministry of finance and running both ministries simultaneously.
Since he has been the prime minister for relatively short time, I think the best way is to describe the achievements of the government of Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc covering the period 2015-2017.
Prime Minister Beata Szydlo (born 1963): graduated from Etnography at the Jegiellonian University, 1997 post-diploma studies in management in culture at the Warsaw School of Economics, major of a town Brzeszcz, active in local government, in Polish parliament since 2005, in 2015 in charge of the manager of the electoral headquarters of Andrzej Duda in the presidential elections, seems successfully since Mr. Andrzej Duda (very active during presidential campaign) won elections and became the President of the Republic of Poland.
Mateusz Morawiecki, current prime minister (since December 11, 2017) born 1968: graduated from Department of History at the University of Wroclaw, later at the Wroclaw Politechnics and Central Connecticut State University, 1995--MBA at Academy of Economics in Wroclaw, post-diploma studies in European Law and economic integration economy at the Hamburg University, since 1991 in business, responsible marketing and finances in consulting companies, 1995 internship in Deutsche Bundesbank, 1998 deputy director in the Committee of European Integration, member of the ministerial team in negotiations of Polish accession to the European Union, member of board of directors among others the Industrial Development Agency. Since 1998 employed by the Bank Zachodni, and since 2001 member of board of directors of the Bank Zachodni, WBK, since 2007 the president of the board of directors of the Bank Zachodni WBK. November 2015 deputy prime minister and minister of development in the Beata Szydlo? government, since September 2016 additionally minister of finance. In September 2016 the president of the Economic Committee of the Council of Ministers. Since December 11, 2017 the prime minister and the minister of development and finance. Major architect of the Polish economic success--hammered out the Strategy for Responsible Development.
Achievements of the government since November 2015:
- Judicial system reforms
- VAT tax revenues reform
- Strategy for the Responsible Development
- Support for the refugees--financial support programme focused on the places affected by warfare, war disasters and refugee camps in the Middle East (like Lebanon)
- Modernization of police and security forces
- Modernization of Polish Army
- NATO military bases in Poland--important evidence Poland has become a real partner for NATO and the USA
- Active Eastern policy
- New diplomatic missions like in Manila, the Philippines
- Poland? strong position in the region of Central Europe
- Social programmes like the 500 plus for poor families
- The lowest unemployment rate since 1989 (when the period of transition was launched) currently approx.. 6.5%
- Introduction of the minimum wage/hour
- Reform of education system
- Innovations and new system of financing the academic sector
- Energy security and new investments in the sector of energy
- National Housing Programme
Q: As Your Excellency is new in Korea, please introduce yourself in detail, including your career, family and hobbies.
A: I am profoundly honoured to represent my country Poland in Korea--the country which is so far but getting closer and closer, the country I have known for almost 10 years coming here very often and watching fast changes. This is true Korean and Polish history has many similarities, but is also true the present time seems to pave the way for such similarities as well--both economies are doing very well, both find the way for closer cooperation and both understand each other better and better.
This time is of particular importance since 2018 is the 100th anniversary of regaining of independence by Poland and 2019 the 30th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations between Poland and Korea--nothing could be more precious ambassador’s heart than having his mission in such time and having a possibility for looking forward for brighter and more cooperative future.
In Korea: new as having the honour to represent my country the Republic of Poland, nevertheless I had a wonderful opportunity to visit Korea many times before, actually since 2008. I had the honour to participate in international scholars programme organized by the Kyungpook National University, Daegu and visit Seoul National University participating in seminar on innovations organized by Prof. Juseong Hwang. I visited Korea as a Vice-Rector of the Warsaw School of Economics.
My career: Graduated from History Department, Warsaw University, 1990, after that employed by the American Studies Centre at Warsaw University, 1990-2000, 1998, Ph.D. in the US Foreign Policy in Asia, 2004, habilitation in the field of International Relations (The War in Vietnam), then lecturer at the Kent State University, Ohio, since 2000 at the Warsaw School of Economics, chair of the Department of Political Studies at the Collegium of Socio-Economics, since 2016 Collegium of Global Economy, 2012-2016 vice-rector, Warsaw School of Economics, 2013--full professorship, the title granted by the President of the Republic of Poland, since 2017 Ambassador of Poland to the Republic of Korea;
Foreign trips and lectures: Republic of Korea, Taiwan, India, USA (Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Centre, Cold War History Project, and the University of Virginia), Great Britain (Oxford University), Germany (Nordhausen, Fahhohschule);
Books published (in Polish): Cambodia (the Khmer Rouge road to power); The War in Vietnam, 1945-1975; the War in Laos, 1945-1975; International Conflicts, International Relations (textbook); China in International Relations (ed.), Quick glance--let’s talk about the most popular historical paintings (from Troyan Horse to Napalm by Leon Golub);
Major articles (in English): Iceland, political implications of the financial crisis of 2008 and the road to changes in the economic policy in the model of democracy; Kim Jong-un and the Northeast security, US-Taiwan and US-Poland, non-confrontational asymmetry, German Democratic Republic and North Korea--a comparative study (Is German pattern of unification applicable onto the Korean Peninsula?); Brexit and bilateral British-Korean relations.
Translations of books into Polish: In sickness and in power by Lord Owen, Strategies of containment by John Lewis Gaddis, The History of the USA by Maldwyn Jones, Diocletian and the Roman recovery by Stephen Williams (to be published in 2008, the Story of English (to be published in 2008).
Hobby: Korea as area studies, Karate Shorin-ryu (just for health), Rock music, Literature, European painting, International Relations
Family: Wife--Barbara, daughter Karolina (currently student of Geology).