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The Manufaktura Stone Pottery Factory in Bolesławiec, Poland, is blossoming thanks to the EU’s Free Trade Agreement with South Korea. The company, which produces world-renowned pottery, has grown at lightning speed, boosting revenues and expanding its workforce from 10 to 213 in response to surging demand from South Korea.
When the agreement came into force in 2011, orders sky-rocketed. Duties were lifted, trade became easier, and Manufaktura’s products became much more competitive on the South Korean market. One third of Manufaktura’s products are now exported to South Korea.
Manufaktura is not the only pottery factory in Bolesławiec to benefit. The town, famous for deposits of white-burning clays unique to the region, is home to numerous businesses creating high quality clays.
Town council spokeswoman Agnieszka Gergont believes that the trade agreement with South Korea is also playing an important role in Bolesławiec’s development. Thanks to the economic boom, the town boasts a record low unemployment rate – down from 27 percent ten years ago to 4.8 percent today.
Bolesławiec now has a growing appetite for trade with other Asian economies. “We’re waiting for the trade agreement with Japan,” says Manufaktura CEO Paweł Zwierz. The EU FTA with Japan, currently being negotiated, would lift duties, facilitate trade, and make it easier for Boleslawiec and other companies to access a big new market.
In the five years since it has been in operation, the EU’s trade agreement with South Korea has resulted in a big increase in bilateral trade. EU exports to its Asian partner have grown particularly strongly, topping €43 billion in 2014.