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[Herald Interview] Poland-Korea partnership crucial for Ukraine rebuild

Dec. 20, 2022 - 15:40 By Sanjay Kumar
Polish Minister of Finance Magdalena Rzeczkowska speaks in an interview with The Korea Herald at Plaza Hotel in Jung-gu, Seoul.( (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)

Polish Finance Minister Magdalena Rzeczkowska said it is important to provide financial assistance to Ukraine by establishing platforms that bring international financial institutions, governments and private investors together, and South Korea could be part of such efforts.

"Ukraine needs help for now," said Rzeczkowska in an interview with The Korea Herald, urging Polish and Korean companies to activate partnerships for rebuilding Ukraine and to utilize Poland’s investment climate and rules before the war stops.

"The estimated cost of modernization and reconstruction is $750 billion," according to Rzeczkowska.

Rzeczkowska anticipated that amount could increase with more Russian attacks on energy infrastructure in Ukraine.

"It's the right moment now to think about the future and cooperation," said Rzeczkowska, referring to ramifications of the war on the international community, including energy crises and supply disruptions.

She suggested that Korea use Polish companies’ legal and regulatory know-how to facilitate businesses in Ukraine.

Rzeczkowska visited Seoul on the sidelines of Poland-Korea framework agreements signed with the Defense Ministry, where she met her Korean counterpart, Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho, as well as Bank of Korea Gov. Rhee Chang-yong and Korea Development Bank Chairman Kang Seog-hoon.

According to Rzeczkowska, Poland purchasing military equipment from Korea is a significant step toward broadening bilateral cooperation, as the deal also involves manufacturing products in Poland, allowing Seoul an opportunity to reach out to other countries in the region in terms of defense exports.

She highlighted the Korean experience of innovative projects and the need to collaborate with Poland for energy transition projects in green energy, digitalization, the automotive sector and supplies of products produced in Poland.

Polish Minister of Finance Magdalena Rzeczkowska speaks in an interview with The Korea Herald at Plaza Hotel in Jung-gu, Seoul.( (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)

Rzeczkowska also stressed the geopolitical and infrastructural significance of the Solidarity Transport Hub project to serve as the main hub for transportation of goods and products connecting the Baltic States, other European markets and Asia.

Asked why Poland is an effective gateway to enter European markets, she said geographical location, EU membership, seaports and transportation hubs, an outstanding labor market, infrastructure connecting the south with the north and west, projects to improve infrastructure, the single market to shorten value chains and delivery of goods to other European markets all present potential.

"It's on (China's) 'Belt and Road Initiative' — a railway hub for goods coming to the European Union for the eastern border of Poland," she noted, alluding to a solidarity transport hub that facilitates greater trade between Poland and Europe, the West and the rest of the world.

During her visit to Seoul, Rzeczkowska also invited Korean companies to promote tax incentives in Poland and to seek collaboration in designing the hydrogen economy.