Poland's special economic zones (SEZs) have been popular to investors with operating permits issued in the first half of this year equalling the total number issued last year, according to local press published on Thursday.
"The first half of 2014 was the best six months for the zones. We have declarations of investments worth 7 billion U. S. dollars over the next few years," deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Janusz Piechocinski told reporters on Thursday.
Investors have declared that they will create a total of 20,500 new jobs.
In the first six months of the year, SEZ management companies issued 438 permits - 170 percent of the volume of permits issued in the whole of 2013, according to economy ministry data.
"It was an excellent move to extend the functioning of 14 SEZs until 2026, which has substantially increased the influx of investments to those zones because a great many companies, both Polish and foreign, decided they would have enough time to take advantage of tax breaks," said Slawomir Majman, president of the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIiIZ).
Under earlier legislation, the zones were to operate until 2020, but this was extended last year to 2026.
Public aid rules that came into force on July 1 were also a boost. The taxes that SEZ investors do not pay are considered a form of public aid, and this has been limited for most regions of Poland, the only exceptions being four eastern provinces.
"We are maintaining a crucial element - expansion of Polish industry's potential, since it is Poland's ambition to increase industry's GDP share from 22 to at least 25 percent," Piechocinski pointed out.
"(We want to attract) technology investors who will create jobs not only in basic assembly and who will be guided not just by the large domestic market, but investors who will export. The most important stage of development that the Polish economy is entering right now is the research and development stage," Piechocinski added.