Poland has launched a new programme to further strengthen its bilateral cooperation with India. The programme known as the ‘West Bengal Project’ was launched in Warsaw on April 6, 2018, and seeks to facilitate greater collaboration between the two countries in the mining sector.
The West Bengal Project is the first-of-its-kind programme, launched by the Government of the Republic of Poland, to offer a full range of comprehensive solutions aimed specifically at a particular sector of a foreign partner’s economy.
On the Polish side, the project seeks to partner several governmental and private sector institutions and business enterprises which can provide the whole range of tailor-made solutions specifically for the mining and energy sectors of West Bengal.
Key partners of the project include the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Entrepreneurship & Technology, the Polish Development Fund (PFR), JSW S.A. – the largest producer of coking coal in Poland, PeBeKa – a leader in mining and infrastructure development projects, and the Indo-Polish Chamber of Commerce & Industry (IPCCI).
The launch of the West Bengal Project follows on the heels of the recently concluded Bengal Global Business Summit, which took place in Kolkata in January 2018. During the summit, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the Ministry of Energy of Poland and the government of West Bengal to increase cooperation in the mining and energy sectors.
Poland is a global leader in the mining industry, and has a proven history in providing technologically advanced and cutting-edge solutions for the mining sector.
Given the Indian government’s plans to increase domestic coal production to 1 billion tons by 2020, Poland sees this as an ideal opportunity to provide its Indian partners the expertise of Polish businesses and institutions, which have been actively present in the sector for decades.
The proposed solutions offered by Polish enterprises include not only increasing mining output and productivity, but also encompass solutions relating to environmental sustainability and safety, dry coal beneficiation, clean coal technologies, energy generation, efficient transportation and other related areas.
A key component of the project is to initiate transfers of technology related to the coal mining industry – specifically, in relation to the exploration of new coal deposits, the construction of new coal mines, maintenance and stability of surrounding infrastructure, etc.
Other avenues of cooperation relate to the development of port infrastructure and the generation of renewable sources of energy. The West Bengal Project also seeks to use its expertise to act as a springboard for other Polish business enterprises to offer their products, services and solutions across all sectors of the Indian economy.
In order to broaden this commitment, a high level delegation from the state of West Bengal will participate as special guests at the 10th European Economic Congress in Katowice, Poland this month. The Congress is the largest annual business gathering devoted to the Central European region. This year a special panel shall be convened during the Congress dedicated to exploring opportunities for bilateral cooperation with India.
In recent years, there has been a significant rise in bilateral trade between India and Poland. According to official statistics, the total bilateral trade turnover between India and Poland in 2017 was USD 3.16 billion, which represented a rise of 14% from the preceding year. Poland accounted for USD 2.424 billion of India’s exports in 2017, whereas India accounted for USD 736 million of Poland’s total exports.
Furthermore, according to data from the National Bank of Poland (NBP), the total size of Polish investments in India at the end of 2016 stood at USD 235.6 million. Conversely, Indian investments in Poland during this same period were estimated at USD 60.2 million.
Some of the largest Polish investors in Poland include: Can-Pack S.A., a leader in the FMCG packaging industry; TZMO, a Polish producer of sanitary textiles and hygiene products; Polmor, engaged in the manufacture of steel components and accessories; Maflow, a producer of parts and components for automobile air-conditioning systems; and Seco-Warwick, a manufacturer of machinery for the metallurgical industry.
In addition to this, several other Polish companies are also represented in the Indian market. These include: VTS, a manufacturer of HVAC systems; Famur, a major producer of underground mining machinery and equipment; Ekolog, a provider of effluent and waste-water treatment solutions; and Cenzin, a major manufacturer of defence sector equipment.
The products and services of several other well-known Polish companies, such as, Komandor, a furniture manufacturer; Rafako, a producer of boilers for thermal power plants; Radwag, a manufacturer of electronic weighing systems; and INGLOT, a producer of cosmetics products, are also present in the Indian market.
On the other hand, a large number of Indian companies have opened their facilities in the Polish market. These include several major IT companies, such as, TCS, Wipro, Infosys, HCL Technologies, MphasiS and Zensar Technologies; the Sharda Group, a producer of textiles and fabrics; Escorts, a manufacturer of agricultural equipment and machinery; Videocon, a manufacturer of video-surveillance equipment; Eurobatt, a manufacturer of batteries; Essel Propack, a producer of packaging materials; Rishabh Instruments, a manufacturer of lighting systems; and UFLEX, a major producer of plastic packaging materials.
By far the biggest component of Poland’s export to India is coking coal. In 2017, Poland exported USD 187 million worth of coking coal to India, which represented a 114% year-on-year rise in value terms from the preceding year. Given the need for India to diversify its supplies of coking coal and the growth expected to be seen in the Indian steel sector, it is highly probable that Polish exports of coking coal to India will continue to growsignificantly over the course of the coming years.
Other significant components of Poland’s exports to India in 2017 included synthetic materials, valued at USD 46 million; turbines and related machinery, valued at USD 44 million; and items of unwrought silver, estimated at USD 32 million.
Conversely, the single-largest component of India’s exports to Poland in 2017 was organic chemicals, valued at USD 663 million, followed by iron and steel products, estimated at USD 176 million.
There exist significant avenues for cooperation between India and Poland in the mining sector. Poland is a global leader in the mining industry and has developed cutting-edge technologies for the underground mining industry. Given the need for India to dramatically increase its coal production, Poland is actively engaged in providing Indian coal mining companies solutions related to the transfer of technologies, know-how and machinery related to underground coal mining, coal beneficiation, clean coal technologies, solutions to halt land subsidence, demethanation of coal deposits, etc.
During the 1960-70s, Polish companies provided technical expertise in the development and exploitation of underground coal mines to their Indian counterparts. With the expertise of Polish companies, India companies will be in a position to achieve their domestic coal production target of 1 billion tons per annum.
Poland is a well-known leader in the food processing sector. It is one of the largest dairy producers in the European Union, and is also one of the largest producers and exporters of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Polish companies have the potential to offer their Indian counterparts with state-of-the-art equipment and machinery for the setting up of production lines for processed fruits and vegetables, global best practice technologies in poultry farming and the animal husbandry sector, equipment for packaging of processed foods and integrated cold chain storage infrastructure, which could radically cut down on food wastage in India.