A recent extensive report by Bloomberg has shed light on the pivotal role played by Poland, alongside Morocco, Mexico, Indonesia, and Vietnam, in the global supply chain reshuffling resulting from tensions between the USA and China.
Described as essential “connectors” in the fragmented world economy, these five countries have emerged as significant economic links amid the competitive blocks formed by major global players. Bloomberg’s analysis reveals that in 2022, these nations collectively generated $4 trillion in economic production, surpassing India and nearly matching the economic output of Germany and Japan combined.
Despite their diverse historical and geographical backgrounds, these countries share a common goal: to reap economic benefits by positioning themselves as vital intermediaries between the USA and China or between China, Europe, and other Asian economies. Their geographic locations and trading capabilities have turned them into “key intermediaries” for the contemporary world, as emphasized by Bloomberg. Notably, these nations have attracted over 10% (or $550 billion) of all foreign direct investments, also known as greenfield investments, made globally since 2017, despite representing only 4% of the world’s GDP.
Among these nations, Poland stands out as a global powerhouse in the production of batteries for electric vehicles, as emphasized by Bloomberg. The report highlights Poland’s established connections with the European automotive industry, with giants like Volkswagen AG and Mercedes-Benz Group AG establishing factories in the country to manufacture electric vehicles. Although foreign investments have surged in recent years, a significant portion of the $125.1 billion in greenfield investments that Poland attracted since 2017 originated from other countries.
According to Bloomberg, Poland is second only to China in global battery production rankings. This achievement is credited to companies operating in the Polish market, including LG Chem Ltd., Northvolt AB, SK Innovation Co., and Umicore SA. The report reveals that lithium-ion batteries produced in Poland amounted to 38 billion Polish zlotys ($8.9 billion) in the previous year, constituting 2.4% of the country’s total exports. Additionally, there has been a significant increase in the import of raw materials, such as graphite, from China, reaching $38.32 billion (a 112% increase since 2017).
Bloomberg acknowledges the potential concerns related to Poland’s dependence on Chinese raw material imports but underscores the immediate economic boost provided by new factories. For instance, the LG Energy Solution Ltd. lithium-ion battery plant in Wrocław, described as the largest of its kind in Europe, currently employs over 7,000 people. After a €500 million expansion set to conclude in 2025, the factory will produce cells to power 1 million vehicles.
The report also mentions the plant in Nysa, a joint venture between Belgian company Umicore and Volkswagen, where a €1.7 billion investment will produce cathode materials, a crucial component of batteries. In close proximity, Mercedes is constructing an electric vehicle factory costing over €1 billion.
In analyzing the examples of Poland and the other four “connectors,” the authors of the Bloomberg report refute claims about the end of globalization, stating that goods and capital continue to move across borders on a larger scale than ever before.
As the global economic landscape evolves, Poland’s position as a key player in the electric vehicle industry and its role as a significant link in the global supply chain emphasize the country’s importance on the world stage, as recognized by Bloomberg’s in-depth analysis.