Local Time: Print

DOING BUSINESS IN POLAND

Country Commercial Guide 2013


Prepared by

U.S. Commercial Service

and U.S. Embassy Warsaw

June 2013

International Copyright ©2013,

U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service and U.S. Department of State, 2010

All rights reserved outside the United States of America.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Doing Business in Poland 6

Market Overview 6

Market Challenges 7

Market Opportunities 8

Market Entry Strategy 9

Market Fact Sheet Link 9

Chapter 2: Political and Economic Environment 10

Chapter 3: Selling U.S. Products and Services 11

Using an Agent or Distributor 11

Establishing an Office 13

Franchising 14

Direct Marketing 15

Joint Ventures/Licensing 17

Selling to the Government 18

Distribution and Sales Channels 19

Selling Factors/Techniques 20

Electronic Commerce 22

Trade Promotion and Advertising 24

Pricing 28

Sales Service/Customer Support 28

Protecting Your Intellectual Property 30

Due Diligence 33

Local Professional Services 33

Web Resources 34


Chapter 4: Leading Sectors for U.S. Export and Investment 38

Aviation and Airport Sector 39

Cosmetics Sector 43

Defense Industry 47

Electrical Power Systems 53

Green Building Products 58

Information Technology 62

Medical Equipment 65

Renewable Energy 70

Waste Management 75

Agricultural Sectors 78

Chapter 5: Trade Regulations, Customs and Standards 83

Import Tariffs 83

Trade Barriers 83

Import Requirements and Documentation 84

U.S. Export Controls 90

Temporary Entry 91

Labeling and Marking Requirements 91

Prohibited and Restricted Imports 92

Customs Regulations and Contact Information 92

Standards 93

Overview 93

Standards Organizations 94

Conformity Assessment 96

Product Certification 96

Accreditation 98

Publication of Technical Regulations 98

Labeling and Marking 98

Contacts 99

Trade Agreements 100

Web Resources 101

Chapter 6: Investment Climate 105

Openness to Foreign Investment 105

Conversion and Transfer Policies 111

Expropriation and Compensation 113

Dispute Settlement 113

Performance Requirements and Incentives 115

Right to Private Ownership and Establishment 118

Protection of Property Rights 118

Transparency of Regulatory System 124

Efficient Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment 127

Competition from State Owned Enterprises 130

Corporate Social Responsibility 131

Political Violence 132

Corruption 132

Bilateral Investment Agreements 138

OPIC and Other Investment Insurance Programs 139

Labor 140

Foreign-Trade Zones/Free Ports 142

Foreign Direct Investment Statistics 143

Web Resources 146

Chapter 7: Trade and Project Financing 149

How Do I Get Paid (Methods of Payment) 149

How Does the Banking System Operate 149

Foreign-Exchange Controls 150

U.S. Banks and Local Correspondent Banks 150

Project Financing 152

Web Resources 154

Chapter 8: Business Travel 156

Business Customs 156

Travel Advisory 157

Visa Requirements 157

Telecommunications 158

Transportation 158

Language 159

Health 159

Local Time, Business Hours, and Holidays 160

Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings 160

Web Resources 160

Chapter 9: Contacts, Market Research and Trade Events 162

Contacts 162

Market Research 169

Trade Events 169

Chapter 10: Guide to Our Services 170

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Chapter 1: Doing Business in Poland

Market Overview Return to top

Poland has emerged as an important and dynamic market since the country began its transition to democracy and a market-driven economy in 1989. With 38 million people, Poland is the largest market among the former Eastern bloc countries of Central Europe and shares borders with both “new” EU and “old” EU-15 countries. Poland became a member of the European Union (EU) in 2004 and held the presidency of the EU for the last 6 months of 2011. Poland’s adoption of EU legislation has led to wide-ranging reforms in economic regulation and reduced government intervention in the private sector. Reforms in areas such as financial markets, company and competition law, accounting, and intellectual property rights have improved the environment for private business and boosted economic growth. Poland is now the sixth-largest economy in the EU. Poland’s plans to eventually adopt the Euro currency will further accelerate the country’s integration with the EU. Poland is an active member of NATO, upgrading its armed forces and participating in joint peacekeeping activities in the region and elsewhere, including Afghanistan.

The United States and Poland enjoy a very close bilateral relationship, which has fostered strategic and commercial cooperation. U.S. companies are active in Poland and have invested heavily since the late 1980s, when the country began its transition from communism to democracy and a market-driven economy. Abundant opportunities remain for U.S. firms in Poland. In addition to its large and growing domestic market, the country also affords direct access to the EU and markets to the east. Poles continue to demonstrate a strong affinity for the United States and its products.

While the rest of Europe struggled with the global financial crisis, Poland’s accumulated GDP growth from 2008-2012 was 18 percent. Poland has been called a “green island” in a sea of red. Economists expect Poland’s GDP growth to slow in 2013 and 2014 as a result of the European debt crisis and Poland’s own fiscal consolidation efforts. However, expansion is still expected to be over 1% in 2013. Poland’s growth was in part due to the sizable resources from the EU structural and cohesion funds. Poland is the main beneficiary of these funds, receiving€68.7 billion between 2007-2013. Funding for 2014-2020 is reportedly to be used to drive continued infrastructure projects, to develop Poland’s energy industry, and to stimulate innovation.

In 2012, the U.S. sold $3.4 billion worth of merchandise in Poland, up 6.6% from 2011.

U.S. firms interested in Poland can expect moderately increasing domestic demand and a general affinity for U.S. products. U.S. firms can increase their competitiveness by establishing a local presence, committing to strong after-sales service and support, and offering pricing and financial terms consistent with customer needs. U.S. exporters are encouraged to offer creative pricing and financing packages in order to win business from Polish buyers.

The Polish public holds very positive attitudes toward foreign investment. U.S. investors represent a wide range of industry sectors including automotive, aerospace, information technologies- hardware and software, food products, transportation, pharmaceuticals, paper production, appliances and financial services. Poland has also emerged as a favorable location for business processing centers including call centers, shared services centers and research and development operations. U.S. companies have invested significantly in Poland in recent years. With its well-regarded workforce, proximity to major markets, and political stability, it is an excellent choice for American firms wishing to expand their export markets.

Market Challenges Return to top

Although Poland’s per capita GDP increased from 50 to 59% of the EU average in the last three years, the country remains one of the EU’s less developed countries with limited individual purchasing capacity and domestic consumption. Poland has made great strides toward improving the commercial climate, but investors point to an inefficient commercial court system, a rigid labor code, bureaucratic red tape, and a burdensome tax system as challenges for foreign companies.

Poland has made some progress in reducing bureaucratic obstacles to business. Its ranking in the latest World Bank Ease of Business Index was number 55, down seven spots (lower is better) in the last year which was down eight from the previous. In the 2012 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, Poland maintained its rank of 41st out of 174 countries (again lower is better).

Although many infrastructure projects are underway, Poland still has much work to do in order to modernize its road, railway, and air transportation network. Weak transportation infrastructure increases the cost of doing business for U.S. businesses by limiting ready access to all of the markets within Poland and diminishes the country’s potential as a regional distribution hub.

Market Opportunities Return to top

Poland’s membership in the EU offers access to billions of Euros in structural and cohesion funds to support infrastructure development, environmental protection, and environmental remediation projects. It is expected that future funds will be used for infrastructure development in the area of environmental protection, as Poland is under immense financial pressure to comply with EU environmental standards. In order to meet EU emissions targets, Poland is focusing on the use of renewable sources of energy such as wind, biomass and biogas. Clean coal, coal plant upgrades, and waste-to-energy systems are also being explored to improve the countries energy mix. Polish cities will have to develop new waste stream models, including waste to energy, as landfills across the country have to be closed and remediated by EU directive.

In this environment, the need for premium office space and the expansion of the retail sector present opportunities for engineering and green-building services, particularly those built as ‘zero emission’ buildings and to LEED standards.

While much work has been done, extensive effort and investment is still required to upgrade and modernize Poland’s transportation infrastructure. Projects such as the expansion of the Metro line in Warsaw, the upgrading of the North-South railway system between Gdansk and Warsaw, and the modernization, and expansion of regional airports will continue for the next few years.

All of this has created strong opportunities for American businesses in renewable energy technologies, green building, waste management, and power generation. These top prospects will be covered in depth later in this report.

Two other areas in the energy sector that offer particularly strong sales opportunities are nuclear power and shale gas. The Polish government plans to complete its first nuclear power plant by 2024. This massive undertaking has created opportunities for reactor technology, engineering services, legal/regulatory services, and training services. Assuming Poland’s shale gas deposits transition into a production phase, this will produce a dramatic increase in the need for gas drilling rigs, gas field equipment, and services.

Other important sectors that will be discussed are airport equipment and services, consumer goods, such as cosmetics, where an American label is still a symbol of prestige and high quality, computer and information technologies, and defense and medical industries. All of these sectors continue to perform well and show signs of growth.

While the U.S. share of Poland’s import market remains small at approximately 3%, U.S. exporters have found considerable success targeting competitive niches, using effective market entry strategies, and diligently following up with marketing and sales support.

Market Entry Strategy Return to top

The Polish market is characterized by wide population dispersion with 25% of Poles living in rural areas and urban dwellers spread among a number of population centers, including Warsaw and Lodz in the center of the country, Krakow in the south, Wroclaw and Poznan in the west, Gdansk and Szczecin in the north, and Lublin in the southeast.

Urban consumers generally have greater purchasing power than their rural counterparts. Personal contact with the customer is critical and final purchasing decisions typically require a face-to-face meeting. Success in this market typically requires an in-country presence, such as an agent, distributor, or representative office.

While the number of English speakers in Poland is rising, particularly in urban areas, communication in Polish is recommended in order to elicit prompt responses to offers and inquiries and to facilitate negotiations. Poland’s communication network is relatively well developed and email communications and website offerings are an increasingly effective means of reaching local buyers.

Pricing remains the most critical factor in positioning a product or service for sale in Poland. Access to capital is difficult for most Polish firms, and business transactions are typically self-financed. U.S. firms that can arrange financing will have a competitive edge. The effects of the global financial crisis have underlined the need for U.S. exporters to develop a creative strategy for financing exports. Using Ex-Im Bank programs is a recommended option. In addition, currency fluctuations may continue in 2012, challenging even the most well-planned export strategy. Careful crafting of terms of sale, including creative packaging of currency and pricing terms, will help the U.S. exporter gain a long-term advantage in the current Polish market.

The U.S. Embassy in Poland, led by the Commercial Service team in Warsaw, stands ready to assist U.S. firms in achieving success in the Polish market. We encourage you to contact us and explore the best way to partner together as you commence or expand your business activities here.

Market Fact Sheet Link Return to top

Poland - Market Fact Sheet Link

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Chapter 2: Political and Economic Environment

For background information on the political and economic environment of the country, please click on the link below to the U.S. Department of State Background Notes.

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/index.htm

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Chapter 3: Selling U.S. Products and Services

Using an Agent or Distributor Return to top

Polish trade partners most often serve their U.S. counterparts as distributors. They import goods, clearing them through customs and then offer them on the local market. Their network of contacts in the industry is highly leveraged when offering products on the market. One of the most common tools for distributors to use is the internet, where goods are advertised and, increasingly, also sold through e-commerce.

Signing an agent agreement with a Polish entity allows the agent to act as a representative for the foreign company in Poland. Agents have the authority to manage the company’s activities in the country and often also act as distributors. In most cases, product and marketing training must be provided to new distributors. There are no local laws imposing rules specifically for Polish importers. Distributor and agent agreements may take any form mutually beneficial to the parties involved.

A good starting point for finding a distributor or an agent is to review websites of local companies. There is also Kompass database (http://www.kompass.com ), with information on a large number of local businesses. Visiting a trade show in Poland is also a good occasion to review local businesses and to meet with potential partners. Catalogs of trade events usually include a brief description of each exhibitor, also in English.

Of course, we highly recommend utilizing the services of the U.S. Commercial Service, such as the International Partner Search (IPS) and/or our signature Gold Key Service (GKS) if you are inexperienced in the market. Our specialists have deep and broad knowledge of many market sectors and can help save U.S. business representatives’ time and money finding and screening (International Company Profile) potential distributors or agents.

Companies wishing to use distribution, franchising, and agency arrangements need to ensure that the agreements they put into place are in accordance with European Union (EU) and Member State national laws. Council Directive 86/653/EEC establishes certain minimum standards of protection for self-employed commercial agents who sell or purchase goods on behalf of their principals. In essence, the Directive establishes the rights and obligations of the principal and its agents; the agent’s remuneration; and the conclusion and termination of an agency contract, including the notice to be given and indemnity or compensation to be paid to the agent. As an EU member Poland, adheres to EU-wide business directives and requires local market compliance.

U.S. companies should be particularly aware that the Directive states that parties may not derogate certain requirements. Accordingly, the inclusion of a clause specifying an alternate body of law to be applied in the event of a dispute will likely be ruled invalid by European courts.

Key Link:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31986L0653:EN:HTML

The European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition enforces legislation concerned with the effects on competition in the internal market of "vertical agreements." U.S. small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs) are exempt from these regulations because their agreements would likely qualify as "agreements of minor importance," meaning they are considered incapable of affecting competition at the EU level but useful for cooperation between SMEs. Generally speaking, companies with fewer than 250 employees and an annual turnover of less than €50 million are considered small- and medium-sized undertakings. The EU has additionally indicated that agreements that affect less than 10% of a particular market are generally exempted as well (Commission Notice 2001/C 368/07).

Key Link:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/en/oj/2001/c_368/c_36820011222en00130015.pdf

The EU also looks to combat payment delays. The new Directive 2011/7/EU, which replaced the current law in March 2013, covers all commercial transactions within the EU, whether in the public or private sector, primarily dealing with the consequences of late payment. Transactions with consumers, however, do not fall within the scope of this Directive. Directive 2011/7/EU entitles a seller who does not receive payment for goods and/or services within 30 days of the payment deadline to collect interest (at a rate of 8% above the European Central Bank rate) as well as €40 as compensation for recovery of costs. For business-to-business transactions a 60 day period may be negotiated subject to conditions. The seller may also retain the title to goods until payment is completed and may claim full compensation for all recovery costs.

Key Link:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:048:0001:0010:EN:PDF

Companies’ agents and distributors can take advantage of the European Ombudsman when victim of inefficient management by an EU institution or body. Complaints can be made to the European Ombudsman only by businesses and other bodies with registered offices in the EU. The Ombudsman can act upon these complaints by investigating cases in which EU institutions fail to act in accordance with the law, fail to respect the principles of good administration, or violate fundamental rights. In addition, SOLVIT, a network of national centers, offers online assistance to citizens and businesses who encounter problems with transactions within the borders of the single market.

Key Links:

http://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/home/en/default.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/solvit/site/about/index_en.htm

Establishing an Office Return to top

The type of business entity that U.S. companies choose to establish is often determined by the scope of activities the company plans to undertake in Poland. If a U.S. company wants to sell its products and services in Poland exclusively through its own office, it usually establishes a representative office. If a U.S. company will invest in Poland, there are different legal forms available to carry out business activity. Investors can choose the most suitable one from the following options for their business presence in Poland:

(1) Limited Partnership

http://www.paiz.gov.pl/index/?id=ccb421d5f36c5a412816d494b15ca9f6

(2) Limited Joint-Stock Partnership

http://www.paiz.gov.pl/index/?id=7ec12aa91918c9b6e577c1ae18a0a34b

(3) Limited Liability Companies (Sp. z o.o.)

http://www.paiz.gov.pl/index/?id=27584e8cefba0a67a8d1684d55a2a16a

(4) Joint Stock Companies (S.A.)

http://www.paiz.gov.pl/index/?id=148d411aeffed8a6f6ad4ecd77d1f904

(5) Representative Office

http://www.paiz.gov.pl/index/?id=7d62a275027741d98073d42b8f735c68

(6) Branch Office

http://www.paiz.gov.pl/index/?id=8d8f733a7c2a2ea60df6439a28a2b9a3

Detailed information on forms of doing business in Poland can be found at:

http://www.paiz.gov.pl/index/?id=887a185b1a4080193d5cf63873ac6d70

Modern office equipment like computers and office amenities are easily available and can be leased from a number of reputable Polish and Western firms. The white collar labor pool is abundant and English-speaking assistants with good office skills are relatively easy to find as are employees with Western management and accounting experience. Many executive search firms operate in Poland and offer assistance in finding appropriate staff.

Franchising Return to top

Poland is becoming a mature franchise market in which local entrepreneurs have developed sophisticated concepts. According to the franchising expert, PROFIT system, in 2012 the franchising sector in Poland encompassed 864 franchise networks, 59 more than in 2011 (an increase of 7.5). Polish franchisees are more aware of their choices and are able to verify a good franchise offer. The majority of franchise systems were of Polish origin. The biggest growth was recorded in the gastronomy sector, where 29 new franchise systems were established. Industry experts estimate that about 930 franchise systems will operate on the market in 2013.

The Polish franchise market shows steady growth. In 2012, there were 3,200 new franchise units, bringing the total to 51,209 franchise units (a 7% annual growth). The average investment in a single franchise was about $50,500. The most popular single franchises were valued at $6,500 – $15,500.

During 2012, the position of franchisees strengthened. Strong competition and an increasing number of franchise systems drove franchisers to spend more on recruitment campaigns, organizing meetings for candidates, and investing in advertising. Franchisers are now more likely to support financially their new franchisees through the sharing of investment costs. Generally, they request 20% from the franchisee and guarantee a loan for the remaining amount.

Franchising was especially popular in the area of retail trade, gastronomy, and consulting/business services. Banking services registered a decrease.

American franchisers seeking to test their systems in Poland should be aware of differences in market structure and conditions that should be considered during the strategic planning stage. Franchise networks, which have been successful in the United States, will not automatically succeed in Poland. On the other hand, a name that is well known in the U.S. market and which already operates in several other European countries has a great advantage. However, to meet the needs of the Polish market, U.S. franchisers should be prepared to modify their product mix or implement other changes in their marketing policy in order to boost competitiveness. U.S. franchisers often have difficulty locating willing local investors to provide sufficient capital and develop the franchise. Often, a foreign master franchise is purchased by international investors (especially in the gastronomy sector).

There are no special legal requirements for franchises in Poland. A franchise agreement is regulated by the general provisions of the Polish Civil Code and is affected by competition law, intellectual property regulations, consumer protection and tax law. Sub-franchising is permitted and is not restricted in any way. Poland and the U.S. have signed an agreement of avoidance of double taxation. The franchise fee is subject to a 23% VAT and 19% CIT (on the difference between franchising income and tax-deductible expenses).

For detailed information on franchising, inquiries should be made with the Polish Franchise Organization, http://www.franchise.org.pl

Direct Marketing Return to top

Direct marketing (DM) is an accepted business practice in Poland, as in other EU countries. The DM market is increasing approximately 15% annually in Poland. Polish consumers are accustomed to purchasing via catalog and have become more receptive to shopping on internet platforms. More than 70% of Polish enterprises use direct marketing to sell their products and services. The most frequently used DM formats are email and internet marketing, telemarketing, direct sales, mailing sales (products available in catalogs and internet), TV marketing, and inserts in publications with a response element.

There are no Polish laws or regulations that specifically address DM. In general, Polish law is compatible with legal regulations applied to DM activities throughout the EU. For companies operating in the DM sector, laws to consider are the Law of Personal Data Protection (introduced in August 29, 1997) and the Law of Protection of Consumer Rights, especially regulations referring to “distance sale” (introduced in March 2, 2000). Polish protection of personal data is very rigorous, although recent interpretations in court have been less strict.

The SMB Direct Marketing Association (http://www.smb.pl) established in 1995, has been actively involved in introducing regulations and principles for DM in Poland. SMB promotes development of direct marketing according to existing law and professional ethics. SMB also participates in legislative procedures on legal acts concerning direct marketing.

There is a wide range of EU legislation that impacts the direct marketing sector. Compliance requirements are stiffest for marketing and sales to private consumers. Companies need to focus, in particular, on the clarity and completeness of the information they provide to consumers prior to purchase and on their approaches to collecting and using customer data. The following gives a brief overview of the most important provisions of EU-wide rules on distance-selling and on-line commerce.

Processing Customer Data

The EU has strict laws governing the protection of personal data, including the use of such data in the context of direct marketing activities. For more information on these rules, please see the privacy section above.

Distance Selling Rules

The EU’s Directive on Distance Selling to Consumers (97/7/EC and amendments) sets out a number of obligations for companies doing business at a distance with consumers.

It can read like a set of onerous "do’s" and "don’ts," but in many ways, it represents nothing more than a customer relations good practice guide with legal effect. Direct marketers must provide clear information on the identity of themselves as well as their supplier, full details on prices including delivery costs, and the period for which an offer remains valid – all of this, of course, before a contract is concluded. Customers generally have the right to return goods without any required explanation within seven days, and retain the right to compensation for faulty goods thereafter. Similar in nature is the Doorstep Selling Directive (85/577/EEC) which is designed to protect consumers from sales occurring outside of a normal business premises (e.g., door-to-door sales) and essentially to assure the fairness of resulting contracts.

In 2011, the EU overhauled its consumer protection legislation and merged several existing rules into a single rulebook - “the Consumer Rights Directive”. The provisions of this Directive will apply to contracts concluded after June 13, 2014, and will replace current EU rules on distance selling to consumers and doorstep selling. The Directive contains provisions on core information to be provided by traders prior to the conclusion of consumer contracts, regulates the right of withdrawal, includes rules on the costs for the use of means of payment, and bans pre-ticked boxes. Companies are advised to consult the information available via the hyperlinks, to check the relevant sections of national Country Commercial Guides, and to contact the Commercial Service at the U.S. Mission to the European Union for more specific guidance.

In 2013, the EU adopted rules on Alternative Dispute Resolution which provide consumers the right to turn to quality alternative dispute resolution entities for all types of contractual disputes including purchases made online or offline, domestically or across borders. A specific Online Dispute Resolution Regulation will set up an EU-wide online platform to handle consumer disputes that arise from online transactions. The platform will be operational at the end of 2015.

Key Links:

Consumer Affairs Homepage:

http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/index_en.htm

Consumer Rights:

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/consumer-marketing/rights-contracts/directive/index_en.htm

Distance Selling of Financial Services

Financial services are the subject of a separate directive that came into force in June 2002 (2002/65/EC). This piece of legislation amended three prior existing Directives and is designed to ensure that consumers are appropriately protected with respect to financial transactions taking place where the consumer and the provider are not face-to-face. In addition to prohibiting certain abusive marketing practices, the Directive establishes criteria for the presentation of contract information. Given the special nature of financial markets, specifics are also laid out for contractual withdrawal.

Key Link:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32002L0065:EN:NOT

Direct Marketing over the Internet

The e-commerce Directive (2000/31/EC) imposes certain specific requirements connected to the direct marketing business. Promotional offers must not mislead customers and the terms that must be met to qualify for them have to be easily accessible and clear. The Directive stipulates that marketing e-mails must be identified as such to the recipient and requires that companies targeting customers on-line must regularly consult national opt-out registers where they exist. When an order is placed, the service provider must acknowledge receipt quickly and by electronic means, although the Directive does not attribute any legal effect to the placing of an order or its acknowledgment. This is a matter for national law. Vendors of electronically supplied services (such as software, which the EU considers a service and not a good) must also collect value added tax (see Electronic Commerce section below).

Key Link: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/e-commerce/index_en.htm

Joint Ventures/Licensing Return to top

Joint ventures are frequently utilized in Poland. Many U.S. businesses in Poland are established as joint ventures, with the Polish partner company responsible for sales in the marketplace. Joint ventures are an excellent way to facilitate export sales to the Polish market.

Most joint ventures are established with the American partner contributing needed capital and technology. The Polish partner typically contributes land, distribution channels, trained workers, access to the Polish market, and introductions within the local government and business community that could take a long time to develop for an American company on its own. Increasingly, American firms participating in joint ventures are asked to provide marketing, training, and promotional support for their Polish partners.

The licensing of products, technology, technical data, and services has been less common in Poland, due to concerns about intellectual property protection. Since the country joined the EU, Poland has taken major steps in the areas of intellectual property rights and copyright legislation. Currently more U.S. firms are expected to license their products here. Licensing is particularly prevalent in the industrial manufacturing and consumer goods sectors.

Selling to the Government Return to top

Information on the Office of Public Procurement, public procurement regulations and public tenders is available via the internet:

http://www.uzp.gov.pl/cmsws/page/?F;356

Procurements by the Ministry of Defense are held by the Armaments Inspectorate. Comprehensive information about military procurement laws and regulations is provided on the Armaments Inspectorate website: http://www.iu.wp.mil.pl/strony.artykul.19.0.html

Unlimited tendering is the preferred method. Participation in tenders is open to all those who are legally, technically, and financially able to perform the contract (including foreign companies).

The U.S. Commercial Service strongly urges U.S. firms bidding on Polish government tenders to utilize the Department of Commerce’s advocacy and counseling services to avoid common pitfalls in this complex process.

http://www.export.gov/advocacy/

The EU public procurement market, including EU institutions and member states, totals approximately €1.6 trillion. This market is regulated by three Directives:

  • Directive 2004/18 on Coordination of Procedures for the Award of Public Works, Services and Supplies Contracts;
  • Directive 2004/17 on Coordination of Procedures of Entities Operating in the Utilities Sector, which covers the following sectors: water, energy, transport and postal services; and
  • Directive 2009/81 on Coordination of Procedures for the Award of Certain Works, Supply and Service Contracts by contracting authorities in the fields of defense and security.

Remedies directives cover legal means for companies who face discriminatory public procurement practices. These directives are implemented in the national procurement legislation of the EU member states.

The U.S. and the EU are signatories of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), which grants access to most public supplies and services and some work contracts published by national procurement authorities of the countries that are parties to the Agreement. In practice, this means that U.S.-based companies are eligible to bid on supplies and services contracts from European public contracting authorities above the agreed thresholds.

However, there are restrictions for U.S. suppliers in the EU utilities sector both in the EU Utilities Directive and in the EU coverage of the GPA. The Utilities Directive allows EU contracting authorities in these sectors to either reject non-EU bids where the proportion of goods originating in non-EU countries exceeds 50% of the total value of the goods constituting the tender, or is entitled to apply a 3% price difference to non-EU bids in order to give preference to the EU bid. These restrictions are applied when no reciprocal access for EU companies in the U.S. market is offered. Those restrictions, however, were waived for the electricity sector.

For more information, please visit the U.S. Commercial Service at the U.S. Mission to the European Union website dedicated to EU public procurement.

Key Link:

http://export.gov/europeanunion/grantstendersandfinancing/eu-fundedprogramsgrants/index.asp

Distribution and Sales Channels Return to top

Regional Nature of Market and Review of Major Regions

Opportunities for doing business in Poland are, like the population, dispersed throughout the country. Twenty-five percent of the population resides in rural areas; urban dwellers are widely spread among a number of population centers.

Poland’s largest cities and their respective populations are:

Warsaw 1,708,000

Kraków 759,000

Łódź 725,000

Wrocław 631,000

Poznań 553,000

Gdańsk 460,000

Szczecin 409,000

Bydgoszcz 363,000

Lublin 348,000

Industrial Goods Distribution

Imports of equipment and technology have remained steady as Polish industry modernizes and restructures to compete with the West. Poles are familiar with technical parameters of U.S. products, even prior to the actual introduction of those products in the marketplace. This reflects on the fact that serious Polish importers do their homework.

With its location in the center of Europe, and being a member state of EU, Poland is often perceived as a good location for a distribution hub in Central and Eastern Europe. Another good reason is that prices in Poland are still lower than in other EU countries.

Many distributors of industrial equipment are specialized and have very specific technical expertise. Because of this, some are better able to represent foreign manufacturers on a national level than most consumer goods distributors. However, exporters should be aware that large industrial enterprises would rather have direct contact with manufacturers when purchasing heavy machinery.

As with the consumer goods sector, importers and other companies that represent foreign companies are becoming more sophisticated and selective. The number and variety of imported goods available on the Polish market play an important role here as well. Polish agents or distributors increasingly look to foreign partners to provide marketing and promotional support, training and financing. Polish trade fairs, which have become more specific in scope, are a good place to look for possible distributors.

It is advisable to consider having one exclusive distributor. Potential channel partners in this sector tend to prefer exclusive arrangements because often they bear the marketing costs of new products and do not want potential competitors to reap the benefits of their promotional activities.

Selling Factors/Techniques Return to top

As stated previously, the Polish market is in most cases regional and this description applies to selling as well. Because unemployment is lower and the average income is higher in Polish cities, urban dwellers generally have more purchasing power than inhabitants of rural areas. The countryside is dotted with single-factory towns, many of which currently suffer from higher unemployment rates.

Currently, most internet websites and emails will serve to introduce a product or service to a Polish company. Communication in Polish is recommended if the seller would like to receive a speedy reply. U.S. companies should ensure that translations from English into Polish are performed only by proficient translators who are fluent in modern business Polish and grammar.

An average Polish customer no longer requires face-to-face contact with a person selling a product. The role of the internet in securing business contacts is growing and can now be considered a valuable selling tool. Over 70% of Polish homes have internet access, with 68% using broadband access. Some 72% of internet users conduct online transactions, while over 20% use on-line banking services.

American companies that are little known outside of the U.S. may need to make a significant effort (often marketing, training, or other promotional activities) to convince the prospective Polish customer of their credibility. Product demonstrations are effective, as Poles tend to be skeptical about claims until they are proven. Sponsored visits to the U.S. company headquarters or manufacturing plant frequently help to convince Polish buyers to purchase a U.S. product.

The decision-making process, especially in large companies or government agencies, can be painfully slow, as every person or section involved in a decision usually must sign off before a decision is made. It usually takes several meetings and many rounds of negotiations before a deal is closed. This means that success in Poland is difficult without an in-country presence, whether that presence is an agent, distributor, or representative office.

Polish customers will want to discuss the technical parameters of the product, explain their needs, and negotiate the price. In addition, the product may not be sold at the first meeting, as the customer will want some time to consider the points discussed and to arrange financing. Initial orders are frequently small due to Poles access to limited amounts of working capital and high rates of interest on credit. Follow-on sales often grow rapidly once effectiveness and profitability are established.

American exporters should be aware of the Polish customer's main problem: access to capital. Most Polish firms are still too small to consider going public or to issue commercial paper. Therefore, most business activities, including payment for imports, are still self-financed. American companies that can arrange for affordable financing for their Polish customers will have an edge over their competitors. The U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) offers a credit insurance program that can help small and medium sized U.S. firms in this regard.

If a prospective customer shows continued effort and interest in dialogue, the potential for a sale is good, even if the time leading up to the conclusion of a contract seems long by U.S. standards. If the proposal is well thought out, the pricing is flexible (or assistance with financing is offered) and promotion, servicing and customer support are part of the package, chances are good that a sale will ultimately be completed. Doing business in Poland is built upon personal relationships and trust. U.S. companies have an advantage in Poland, as the U.S., its people and products, are generally held in high regard.

Electronic Commerce Return to top

There are no barriers to electronic commerce activities in Poland, although American companies should consider the strict requirements of the personal data protection regulations and tax issues which match those of other European Union countries.

For a variety of reasons, including the language barrier and also some limitations set by foreign auction and e-commerce sites, the vast majority of online shopping is done locally in Poland. Just recently, more Poles started to buy outside of the country, as foreign on-line shops started implementing EU e-commerce directives and became friendlier toward foreign buyers.

Even though electronic commerce in Poland has been growing both rapidly and steadily over the last decade and the growth in 2012 alone was 24%, it is still in the early stages of development. E-commerce sales currently constitute only 3.1 percent of the entire retail turnover in the country. In 2011, Poles spent $5.8 billion on-line, and 2012 spending was estimated at $7 billion.

In general, Poles prefer auction services over e-shopping, so almost half of the e-shops channel their sales also through auction websites. The most popular auction site in Poland is Allegro, which has approximately 53% of the market share.

A majority of online shops complement e-commerce sales with the traditional brick and mortar operations. Over 90% of e-shops maintain their profiles on social websites.

The most popular products bought on-line are consumer electronics, cosmetics, books, clothes, airline tickets and tourist services, as well as home and garden equipment. Online grocery sales just boomed last year (over 600% growth) but they are still a minor segment of the market in terms of value.

E-commerce development is facilitated by easy access to the Internet at affordable prices, common usage of banking accounts and credit cards, and, in general, familiarity with internet technologies. Over the past 5 years, the value of transactions paid by credit cards has increased four-fold with every fifth client using online banking services. The use of the internet is also enhanced by the tremendous popularity of social networking sites. Facebook, the most popular, is used by over 71% of internet users. Other popular social websites are nk.pl, chomikuj.pl, and Google+.

Over 70% percent of Polish homes have internet access, with 68% using broadband access. Some 72% of internet users conduct online transactions and approximately over 20% use on-line banking services.

M-commerce is still in an early infancy stage in Poland. The supply is very limited and buyers are yet to become interested in this way of shopping. In 2012, smart phones represented 60-70% of all mobile phone sales and there were over 460,000 tablets sold, indicating a 600% growth rate over 2011. Thus, given that the tools are there, m-commerce is expected to start developing within the next 2 years.

With funding support from the EU, the Polish government continues to invest in broadband internet infrastructure projects, develops e-government services, and internet and computer education programs, which should also benefit the development of e-commerce. Only since January 2011, have Polish fiscal authorities started to officially recognize e-invoices, waving the requirement that companies maintain hard copies.

The Electronic Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC), mentioned in the direct marketing section above, provides rules for online services in the EU. It requires providers to abide by rules in the country where they are established (country of origin). Online providers must respect consumer protection rules such as indicating contact details on their website, clearly identifying advertising, and protecting against spam. The Directive also grants exemptions to liability for intermediaries that transmit illegal content by third parties and for unknowingly hosting content. The European Commission released a work plan in 2012 in order to facilitate cross-border online services and reduce barriers and released a report on implementation of the action plan in 2013.

Key Link: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/e-commerce/directive_en.htm

In July 2003, the EU started applying Value Added Tax (VAT) to sales by non-EU based companies of Electronically Supplied Services (ESS) to EU based non-business customers. U.S. companies that are affected by the rule must collect and submit VAT to EU tax authorities. European Council Directive 2002/38/EC further developed the EU rules for charging Value Added Tax. These rules were indefinitely extended following adoption of Directive 2008/8/EC.

U.S. businesses mainly affected by the 2003 rule change are those that are U.S. based and selling ESS to EU based, non-business customers or those businesses that are EU based and selling ESS to customers outside the EU who no longer need to charge VAT on these transactions. There are a number of compliance options for businesses. The Directive created a special scheme that simplifies registering with each member state. The Directive allows companies to register with a single VAT authority of their choice. Companies have to charge different rates of VAT according to where their customers are located, but VAT reports and returns are submitted to just one authority. The VAT authority responsible for providing the single point of registration service is then responsible for reallocating the collected revenue among the other EU VAT authorities.

Key Link: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/vat/how_vat_works/e-services/index_en.htm

Trade Promotion and Advertising Return to top

General Legislation

Laws against misleading advertisements differ widely from member state to member state within the EU. To respond to this imperfection in the Internal Market, the Commission adopted a directive, in force since October 1986, to establish minimum and objective criteria regarding truth in advertising. The Directive was amended in October 1997 to include comparative advertising. Under the Directive, misleading advertising is defined as any "advertising which in any way, including its presentation, deceives or is likely to deceive the persons to whom it is addressed or whom it reaches and which, by reason of its deceptive nature, is likely to affect their economic behavior or which for those reasons, injures or is likely to injure a competitor." Member states can authorize even more extensive protection under their national laws.

Comparative advertising, subject to certain conditions, is defined as "advertising which explicitly or by implication identifies a competitor or goods or services by a competitor." Member states canrestrict misleading or comparative advertising.

The EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive lays down legislation on broadcasting activities allowed within the EU. Since 2009, the rules allowing for U.S.-style product placement on television and the three-hour/day maximum of advertising have been lifted. However, a 12-minute/hour maximum remains. Child programming will be subject to a code of conduct that will include a limit of junk food advertising to children.

Following the adoption of the 1999 Council Directive on the Sale of Consumer Goods and Associated Guarantees, product specifications, as laid down in advertising, are considered as legally binding on the seller. (For additional information on Council Directive 1999/44/EC on the Sale of Consumer Goods and Associated Guarantees, see the legal warranties and after-sales service section below, though this Directive will be incorporated into the Consumer Rights Directive mentioned above by June 2014.)

The EU adopted Directive 2005/29/EC concerning fair business practices in a further attempt to tighten up consumer protection rules. These rules outlaw several aggressive or deceptive marketing practices such as pyramid schemes, "liquidation sales" when a shop is not closing down, and artificially high prices as the basis for discounts in addition to other potentially misleading advertising practices. Certain rules on advertising to children are also set out.

Key Link: http://ec.europa.eu/comm/consumers/cons_int/safe_shop/fair_bus_pract/index_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/avpolicy/reg/avms/index_en.htm

Medicines

The advertising of medicinal products for human use is regulated by Council Directive

2001/83/EC as amended by Directive 2004/27/EC. Generally speaking, the advertising of medicinal products is forbidden if market authorization has not yet been granted or if

the product in question is a prescription drug. Mentioning therapeutic indications where self-medication is not suitable is not permitted, nor is the distribution of free samples to the general public. The text of the advertisement should be compatible with the characteristics listed on the product label, and should encourage rational use of the product. The advertising of medicinal products destined for professionals should contain essential characteristics of the product as well as its classification. Inducements to prescribe or supply a particular medicinal product are prohibited and the supply of free samples is restricted.

The Commission presented a new proposal for a framework for information to patients on medicines in 2008 which would allow industry to produce non-promotional information about its medicines while complying with strictly defined rules and would be subject to an effective system of control and quality assurance. The debate on the framework however is currently blocked in the member states and therefore, current varying systems at national level are in force.

Key Link:

http://ec.europa.eu/health/human-use/information-to-patient/index_en.htm

Nutrition & Health Claims

On July 1, 2007, a regulation on nutrition and health claims entered into force. Regulation 1924/2006 sets EU-wide conditions for the Use of nutrition claims such as “low fat” or “high in vitamin C” and health claims such as “helps lower cholesterol”. The regulation applies to any food or drink product produced for human consumption that is marketed in the EU. Only foods that fit a certain nutrient profile (below certain salt, sugar and/or fat levels) are allowed to carry claims. Nutrition and health claims are only allowed on food labels if they are included in one of the EU positive lists. Food products carrying claims must comply with the provisions of nutritional labeling Directive 90/496/EC and its amended version Directive 1169/2011 on information to consumers mentioned below.

In December 2012, a list of approved functional health claims went into effect. The list includes generic claims for substances other than botanicals which will be evaluated at a later date. Disease risk reduction claims and claims referring to the health and development of children require an authorization on a case-by-case basis, following the submission of a scientific dossier to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Health claims based on new scientific data will have to be submitted to EFSA for evaluation but a simplified authorization procedure has been established.

The development of nutrient profiles, originally scheduled for January 2009, has been delayed. Nutrition claims can fail one criterion, i.e. if only one nutrient (salt, sugar or fat) exceeds the limit of the profile, a claim can still be made provided the high level of that particular nutrient is clearly marked on the label. For example, a yogurt can make a low-fat claim even if it has high sugar content but only if the label clearly states “high sugar content”. A European Union Register of nutrition claims has been established and is updated regularly. Health claims cannot fail any criteria.

Key Link: http://ec.europa.eu/nuhclaims/

Food Information to Consumers

In 2011, the EU adopted a new regulation on the provision of food information to consumers (1169/2011). The new EU labeling requirements will apply from December 13, 2014, except for the mandatory nutrition declaration, which will apply from December 13, 2016.

Key link: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:304:0018:0063:EN:PDF

Food Supplements

Directive 2002/46/EC harmonizes the rules on labeling of food supplements and introduces specific rules on vitamins and minerals in food supplements. Ingredients other than vitamins and minerals are still regulated by member states.

Regulation 1925/2006, applicable as of July 1, 2007, harmonizes rules on the addition of vitamins and minerals to foods. The regulation lists the vitamins and minerals that may be added to foods. This list was most recently revised in November 2009. A positive list of substances other than vitamins and minerals has not been established yet, although it is being developed. Until then, member state laws will govern the use of these substances.

Key Link: http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/labellingnutrition/supplements/index_en.htm

Tobacco

The EU Tobacco Advertising Directive bans tobacco advertising in printed media, radio, and internet, as well as the sponsorship of cross-border events or activities. Advertising in cinemas and on billboards or merchandising is allowed, though these are banned in many member states. Tobacco advertising on television has been banned in the EU since the early 1990s and is governed by the Audiovisual Media Services Directive. The EU proposed a revision to the Tobacco Products Directive in 2012 with proposals to include bigger, double-sided health pictorial warnings on cigarette packages and plain packaging along with health warnings, tracking systems.

Key link: http://ec.europa.eu/health/tobacco/products/revision/

Local Market Specifics

Trade fair activities in Poland grew rapidly at the beginning of the last decade, from a single major event (the annual June Poznan International Fair) to a full year's schedule of industry and product specific events in major cities around the country. For information on upcoming trade events please see Chapter 9: Trade Events. Some fairs are still proving their worth, while others have lost popularity in recent years and are no longer attracting key Polish and international businesses. Direct U.S. company presence at trade fairs in Poland is minimal, but some U.S. firms exhibit through their European or Polish distributors. U.S. firms exhibiting in larger Western European trade fairs, particularly those in the Commercial Service’s Showcase Europe program, will encounter Polish buyers at those events. The U.S. Commercial Service in Warsaw can help you find distributors interested in representing U.S. products at Polish fairs.

Advertising in Poland is considered important, not only in the consumer product field, but also in developing a company image for all types of goods. Television, which reaches virtually every home in Poland via local channels or satellite, is believed to be the most effective advertising medium in Poland. Products advertised through television commercials show the greatest sales growth among all advertised products. The bulk of advertising revenues go to television. The price of television spots on top rated shows has grown dramatically in the last few years as demand has soared. Radio is another means of advertising with 261 local radio stations as well as 6 national networks in operation: Polskie Radio SA Program 1, Polskie Radio SA Program 2, Polskie Radio SA Program 3, Polskie Radio SA Program 4, RMF FM, and Radio ZET.

There is a ban on cigarette and alcohol (including beer and wine) advertising for broadcasters and on alcohol ads for display and print media. There is also a ban on pharmaceutical advertising, except for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and in professional publications.

Print media advertising is sophisticated and the print media market itself has grown to include a full range of publications. Major newspapers circulate throughout Poland and reach every corner of the country. In addition, special interest magazines, business journals, niche publications, and specialized newspapers have proliferated. Newsweek Polska, a division of Newsweek, will celebrate its 12th anniversary this year and the Polish edition of Forbes magazine, which was launched in January 2005, will celebrate its 8th anniversary this year. Classified advertising is very well developed and effective. Most U.S. companies find print media to be a highly effective means of reaching customers and candidates for jobs.

Major daily newspapers include Rzeczpospolita, Gazeta Wyborcza, Dziennik Polska, Nasz Dziennik, and two tabloids: Fakt and Super Express. Major daily business journals include Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, Parkiet Gazeta Gieldy, Puls Biznesu, and Financial Times. The Polish edition of Businessweek is published on a biweekly basis. There are also two English language weeklies that cater mainly to foreigners in Poland, the Warsaw Business Journal and the Warsaw Voice.

Major international, as well as local, advertising and public relations agencies abound in Poland. For contact information on these journals and firms please contact the U.S. Commercial Service in Warsaw at Office.Warsaw@trade.gov, at telephone number (48) 22 625-4374 or fax number (48) 22 621-6327.

Pricing Return to top

The importance of pricing in Poland cannot be overstated. Pricing is the key to successfully selling U.S. products and services in Poland. Working capital is limited in Poland, even among the larger, more successful Polish companies. Polish businesses generally spend money wisely, after thoughtful and sometimes lengthy consideration. The most commonly expressed reason for failed sales efforts according to potential Polish clients continues to be that “the price is too high.” The risks surrounding an unstable exchange rate between the dollar versus the Polish złoty makes pricing especially difficult. Typically U.S. manufactured goods are compared to similar European-made goods and the lowest cost item wins the day.

Establishing the price of U.S. made products is further complicated by the addition of customs duties, Value Added Tax (VAT), and, in some cases, excise taxes, which may elevate the final retail price of a product dramatically. Flexibility in pricing is important and the initial market penetration to gain product awareness among Polish consumers should be the goal. Successful U.S. exporters work together with their Polish representatives to keep costs, particularly import costs, as low as possible. For example, some companies ship products unassembled to help reduce import duties. Poland’s accession to the EU has given the price advantage to European producers. U.S. made goods are burdened with customs duties, while products imported from EU countries are not. To level the difference, some American businesses have opened distribution and/or manufacturing facilities in Europe.

The Polish market is large and expanding for all types of products, but is also increasingly competitive. U.S. companies that approach the market with a long-term view of creating market share for their products will reap the rewards.

Sales Service/Customer Support Return to top

After price, service is the second greatest concern for Polish customers. A manufacturer in the United States is seen by the Polish distributor and customer alike as being far removed from products exported to Poland. A potential customer may shy away from U.S. products over concerns that distance will lead to ineffective servicing if the product requires repair or maintenance.

Polish customers may walk away rather than purchase a product if they are required to ship it back to the United States for repair or service - even if the U.S. company pays for the shipment. Sending spare parts to Poland is easy to do. Some firms provide service for their exports to Poland through European representatives or firms licensed to repair their products. Even then, some distributors worry that they may not get adequate support.

Ideally, customer service and support should be provided through a trained Polish representative or U.S. affiliate company. The local technical support teams can be considered a part of the U.S. company’s image in the Polish market. Effective, fast, and reliable service contributes greatly to the U.S. manufacturer’s success in Poland. The opposite can also be said about service. Therefore U.S. manufacturers should be ready to provide full assistance to their service personnel in Poland.

U.S. manufacturers with major export accounts in Poland may wish to periodically send a service representative to Poland to work with the local representative and visit customers. As an EU member, Poland adheres to EU-wide business directives and requires local market compliance.

Conscious of the discrepancies among member states in product labeling, language use, legal guarantee, and liability, the redress of which inevitably frustrates consumers in cross-border shopping, the EU institutions have launched a number of initiatives aimed at harmonizing national legislation. Suppliers within and outside the EU should be aware of existing and upcoming legislation affecting sales, service, and customer support.

Product Liability

Under the 1985 Directive on liability of defective products, amended in 1999, the producer is liable for damage caused by a defect in his product. The victim must prove the existence of the defect and a causal link between defect and injury (bodily as well as material). A reduction of liability of the manufacturer is granted in cases of negligence on the part of the victim.

Key link:

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/single-market-goods/product-liability/

Product Safety

The 1992 General Product Safety Directive introduces a general safety requirement at the EU level to ensure that manufacturers only place safe products on the market. It was revised in 2001 to include an obligation on the producer and distributor to notify the Commission in case of a problem with a given product, provisions for its recall, the creation of a European Product Safety Network, and a ban on exports of products to third countries that are not deemed safe in the EU. The legislation is still undergoing review.

Key link: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/safety/prod_legis/index_en.htm

Legal Warranties and After-sales Service

Under the 1999 Directive on the Sale of Consumer Goods and Associated Guarantees, professional sellers are required to provide a minimum two-year warranty on all consumer goods sold to consumers (natural persons acting for purposes outside their trade, businesses or professions), as defined by the Directive. The remedies available to consumers in case of non-compliance are:

  • Repair of the good(s);
  • Replacement of the good(s);
  • A price reduction; or
  • Rescission of the sales contract.

As of June 2014, Directive 1999/44/EC will be incorporated in the new Consumer Rights Directive previously mentioned.

Key link: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/rights/gen_rights_en.htm

Other issues pertaining to consumers’ rights and protection, such as the New Approach Directives, CE marking, quality control and data protection are dealt with in Chapter 5 of this report.

Protecting Your Intellectual Property Return to top

Polish legislation and regulations have been amended several times to bring them into full compliance with the WTO TRIPS Agreement and EU Directives. The Polish government also continues to review and amend other laws and regulations to reflect the development and use of new technologies.

Even though piracy remains a problem, Poland has made great progress in this respect, which resulted in taking Poland off the USTR 301 Watch List in 2010.

The main organizations responsible for IPR and related issues in Poland are the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (http://www.mkidn.gov.pl/pages/the-ministry-of-culture-and-national-heritage.php?lang=EN) and the Polish Patent Office (http://uprp.gov.pl)

Several general principles are important for effective management of intellectual property (“IP”) rights in Poland. First, it is important to have an overall strategy to protect your IP. Second, IP is protected differently in Poland than in the United States. Third, rights must be registered and enforced in Poland under local laws. Your U.S. trademark and patent registrations will not protect you in Poland. There is no such thing as an “international copyright” that will automatically protect an author’s writings throughout the entire world. Protection against unauthorized use in a particular country depends on the national laws of that country. However, most countries do offer copyright protection to foreign works under certain conditions, and these conditions have been greatly simplified by international copyright treaties and conventions.

Registration of patents and trademarks is on a first-in-time, first-in-right basis, so you should consider applying for trademark and patent protection even before selling your products or services in Polish market. It is vital that companies understand that intellectual property is primarily a private right and that the US government generally, cannot enforce rights for private individuals in Poland. It is the responsibility of the rights' holders to register, protect, and enforce their rights where relevant, retaining their own counsel and advisors. Companies may wish to seek advice from local attorneys or IP consultants who are experts in Polish law. The U.S. Commercial Service can provide a list of local lawyers upon request.

The European Union has been working on a unified patent package. The two regulations establishing enhanced cooperation for unitary patent protection and its translation arrangements were adopted in December 2012. The third element, establishing a Unified Patent Court (UPC) was adopted in February 2013 and signed by 24 EU members. Poland has chosen not to sign this agreement.

While the U.S. Government stands ready to assist, there is little we can do if the rights holders have not taken these fundamental steps necessary to securing and enforcing their IP in a timely fashion. Moreover, in many countries, rights holders who delay enforcing their rights on a mistaken belief that the USG can provide a political resolution to a legal problem may find that their rights have been eroded or abrogated due to legal doctrines such as statutes of limitations, laches, estoppel, or unreasonable delay in prosecuting a law suit. In no instance should U.S. Government advice be seen as a substitute for the obligation of a rights holder to promptly pursue its case.

It is always advisable to conduct due diligence on potential partners. Negotiate from the position of your partner and give your partner clear incentives to honor the contract. A good partner is an important ally in protecting IP rights. Consider carefully, however, whether to permit your partner to register your IP rights on your behalf. Doing so may create a risk that your partner will list itself as the IP owner and fail to transfer the rights should the partnership end. Keep an eye on your cost structure and reduce the margins (and the incentive) of would-be bad actors. Projects and sales in Poland require constant attention. Work with legal counsel familiar with EU laws to create a solid contract that includes non-compete clauses, and confidentiality/non-disclosure provisions.

It is also recommended that small and medium-size companies understand the importance of working together with trade associations and organizations to support efforts to protect IP and stop counterfeiting. There are a number of these organizations, both Poland or U.S.-based. These include:

  • The U.S. Chamber and local American Chambers of Commerce
  • National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)
  • International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA)
  • International Trademark Association (INTA)
  • The Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy
  • International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC)
  • Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)
  • Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)
  • Polish Chamber of Commerce (Krajowa Izba Gospodarcza – KIG)

IP Resources

A wealth of information on protecting IP is freely available to U.S. rights holders. Some excellent resources for companies regarding intellectual property include the following:

  • For information about patent, trademark, or copyright issues -- including enforcement issues in the US and other countries -- call the STOP! Hotline: 1-866-999-HALT or register at www.StopFakes.gov.
  • For more information about registering trademarks and patents (both in the U.S. as well as in foreign countries), contact the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) at: 1-800-786-9199.
  • For more information about registering for copyright protection in the US, contact the US Copyright Office at: 1-202-707-5959.
  • For more information about how to evaluate, protect, and enforce intellectual property rights and how these rights may be important for businesses, a free online training program is available at www.stopfakes.gov.
  • For US small and medium-size companies, the Department of Commerce offers a "SME IP Advisory Program" available through the American Bar Association that provides one hour of free IP legal advice for companies with concerns in Brazil, China, Egypt, India, and Russia. For details and to register, visit: http://www.abanet.org/intlaw/intlproj/iprprogram_consultation.html
  • For information on obtaining and enforcing intellectual property rights and market-specific IP Toolkits visit: www.StopFakes.gov This site is linked to the USPTO website for registering trademarks and patents (both in the U.S. as well as in foreign countries), the U.S. Customs & Border Protection website to record registered trademarks and copyrighted works (to assist customs in blocking imports of IP-infringing products) and allows you to register for Webinars on protecting IP.
  • The U.S. Commerce Department has positioned IP attachés in key markets around the world. For contact information, please see: http://www.uspto.gov/ip/global/attache/Attache_Contacts_2012-08.doc

Due Diligence Return to top

The U.S. Commercial Service in Warsaw can provide U.S. companies with affordable, fast background checks on Polish business organizations through our International Company Profile Service. For more information on this service, please click on the following link: http://export.gov/poland/eg_pl_038499.asp or email the U.S. Commercial Service in Warsaw at office.warsaw@trade.gov, or call us at +48 22 625-4374.

Product safety testing and certification is mandatory for the EU market. U.S. manufacturers and sellers of goods have to perform due diligence in accordance with mandatory EU legislation prior to exporting.

Local Professional Services Return to top

The legal environment in Poland continues to evolve at a rapid pace and this is expected to continue. In general, law firms in Poland follow changes closely. Thus, American companies doing business in Poland are strongly urged to obtain legal representation. This is particularly essential when bidding in a tender, forming a joint venture, or untangling a trade dispute. Most major law firms in Poland provide business counseling in addition to legal advice. Some firms are also experienced in helping their contacts find Polish business partners, investments or projects to pursue.

A U.S. exporter new to the Polish market may not initially need specialized legal, accounting, or consulting advice as it pursues potential partners. It can, however, take comfort in knowing that expert advice is abundant and available in Poland through the offices of U.S. and Polish law and consulting firms when problems arise.

U.S. accounting and consulting firms in Poland can also offer legal advice and business counseling. Most of the major international accounting firms have operations in Poland that focus on business formation, tax matters, and employee benefits. Many are also involved in the privatization process in Poland, including advising the Polish government. All can offer practical business counseling and assistance in establishing a representative office or incorporating a business in Poland.

Follow the link below to explore our on-line database of businesses providing professional services to U.S. exporters and investors in Poland.

http://export.gov/poland/businessserviceproviders/eg_pl_026743.asp

Local service providers focusing on EU law, consulting, and business development can be viewed on the website maintained by the Commercial Service at the U.S. Mission to the European Union at: http://export.gov/europeanunion/businessserviceproviders/index.asp.

For information on professional services located within each of the EU member states, please see EU Member State Country Commercial Guides which can be found at the following website EU Member States' Country Commercial Guides.

Web Resources Return to top

EU websites:

Coordination of the laws of the member states relating to self-employed commercial agents (Council Directive 86/653/EEC):

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31986L0653:EN:HTML

Agreements of Minor importance which do not appreciably restrict Competition under Article 81(1) of the Treaty establishing the European Community:

http://eurlex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/en/oj/2001/c_368/c_36820011222en00130015.pdf

Directive on Late Payment:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:048:0001:0010:EN:PDF

European Ombudsman:

http://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/home/en/default.htm

EU’s General Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC):

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:1995:281:0031:0050:EN:PDF

Safe Harbor:

http://export.gov/safeharbor/eu/eg_main_018476.asp

Information on contracts for transferring data outside the EU:

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/document/international-transfers/transfer/index_en.htm

EU Data Protection Homepage :

http://ec.europa.eu/justice_home/fsj/privacy/index_en.htm

Distance Selling Rules:

http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cons_int/safe_shop/dist_sell/index_en.htm

Distance Selling of Financial Services:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2002:271:0016:0024:EN:PDF

E-commerce Directive (2000/31/EC):

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/e-commerce/index_en.htm

VAT on Electronic Service:

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/vat/how_vat_works/e-services/index_en.htm

The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive:

http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/rights /

Information to Patients - Major developments:

http://ec.europa.eu/health/human-use/information-to-patient/legislative-developments_en.htm

Nutrition and health claims made on foods - Regulation 1924/2006

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2007:012:0003:0018:EN:PDF

Regulation on Food Information to Consumers:

Regulation 1169/2011

EU-27 FAIRS EU Country Report on Food and Labeling requirements:

http://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Food%20and%20Agricultural%20Import%20Regulations%20and%20Standards%20-%20Narrative_Brussels%20USEU_EU-27_12-27-2012.pdf

Guidance document on how companies can apply for health claim authorizations:

Summary document from EFSA http://www.efsa.europa.eu/cs/BlobServer/Scientific_Opinion/nda_op_ej530_guidance_summary_en.pdf?ssbinary=true

Health & Nutrition Claims http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/labellingnutrition/claims/index_en.htm

Tobacco

http://ec.europa.eu/health/tobacco/policy/index_en.htm

Product Liability:

http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/consumers/consumer_safety/l32012_en.htm

Product Safety

http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/safety/prod_legis/index_en.htm

Legal Warranties and After-Sales Service:

http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/rights/gen_rights_en.htm

Copyright: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/copyright/documents/documents_en.htm

Harmonization of certain aspects of Copyright and related rights in the Information Society - Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC):

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32001L0029:EN:HTML

Industrial Property

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/indprop/index_en.htm

Trademark

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/indprop/tm/index_en.htm

European Patent Office (EPO)

http://www.european-patent-office.org/

Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM)

http:/oami.europa.eu/

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Madrid

http://www.wipo.int/madrid/en

U.S. websites:

IPR Toolkit: http://www.stopfakes.gov/sites/default/files/europeanunion_toolkit.pdf

EU Public Procurement: http://export.gov/europeanunion/marketresearch/eufundingandgovernmentprocurementsectors/index.asp

Local Professional Services: http://export.gov/europeanunion/businessserviceproviders/index.asp

EU Member State Country Commercial Guides - Market Research Library: http://export.gov/europeanunion/eustandardsandcertification/2010countrycommercialguide/index.asp

Polish Websites:

Representative offices in the territory of Poland:

http://www.paiz.gov.pl/index/?id=7d62a275027741d98073d42b8f735c68

Detailed information on forms of doing business in Poland:

http://www.paiz.gov.pl/index/?id=887a185b1a4080193d5cf63873ac6d70

Return to table of contents

Return to table of contents

Chapter 4: Leading Sectors for U.S. Export and Investment

Commercial Sectors

Agricultural Sectors

All numbers referenced in Chapter 4 use the following rate of Exchange:

2012 USD 1 = 3.18 PLN

2011 USD 1 = 3.1 PLN

2010 USD 1 = 3.07 PLN

2009 USD 1 = 2.9 PLN

Aviation and Airport Sector Return to top

* Statistics for aviation products cannot be included in this report as aviation products are not distinguished from regular products in official reporting.

Overview

The civil aviation sector in Poland continues to undergo many changes concurrent with the country’s accession to the European Union. The liberalization of Poland’s air transportation industry and implementation of the “open skies” agreement as of May 1, 2004, created a new operating environment and vastly increased competition. From 2004-08, the number of passengers served at Polish airports grew rapidly and had the world’s fastest annual growth rate in some years. The growth trend ended with the economic crisis of 2008, but returned in 2011 and continues today.

Growth is gauged by the number of passengers passing through Polish airports. A significant increase was recorded in 2010, when the figure was 20.5 million; in 2011, it reached 21.9 million; and, it continued to increase in 2012 to 24.7 million. Last year saw an increase of 13%, and this trend is expected to continue over the next several years at an average rate 5.5 percent. The Polish Civil Aviation Office predicts that the total number of passengers served by Polish airports will reach 26 million by the end of 2013, almost 40 million in 2020, and 59 million in 2030.

In recent years, the structure of the Polish air sector has changed significantly. First of all, the growth in the number of passengers - mostly attributed to low-cost airlines. And, second, regional airports have noted a much higher passenger growth rate than at the Chopin Airport in the capital city of Warsaw.

Despite the growth, Poland’s national airline, LOT, has been experiencing serious financial problems. For several years, the company delayed its much needed restructuring. As a result, over the last two years, LOT reported annual losses of $50 million. In December 2012, the Polish government introduced significant changes to the management of the airline, announced plans to cut the number of employees by over 25%, and made cuts in the number of connections. At the same time, the government proposed to subsidize the airline with $125 million. This decision was conditionally approved by the EU Commission in May 2013.

LOT is owned by the State Treasury of Poland and LOT employees. The Polish government is reported to have had serious talks with potential investors interested in acquiring LOT shares and plans to privatize the airline by the end of 2013.

LOT is the first European airline to fly new Boeing 787s – the first two aircraft were delivered in late 2012, three more were supposed to be delivered by the end of March 2013. However, the battery issues in Boeing 787 aircraft delayed the deliveries. LOT has been modernizing its fleet not only with B787s but also with other mid-range aircraft, primarily Embraers. EuroLot, a company owned by the State Treasury and LOT, has been renewing its fleet with Bombardier Q400NG aircraft.

Poland's current airport network consists of one central airport (Warsaw Frederic Chopin), one regional central airport (Krakow Balice), 11 regional airports, as well as several small airports, sporting and training airports owned by the Polish Aeroclub, a number of post-Russian military airports, and a few facilities owned by manufacturing enterprises. In 2012, two new regional airports were opened in the towns of Modlin (near Warsaw) and in Lublin. After a few months of operation, the Modlin Airport reported problems with cracked asphalt on its runways and is currently closed for reconstruction. The completion date is not known yet, but some sources say construction will continue until November 2013.

The Civil Aviation Office (www.ulc.gov.pl ) is the primary Polish civil aviation authority, and falls under the authority of the Ministry of Transport, Construction and Maritime Economy.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects Return to top

The development plans for airports typically call for construction/expansion of passenger and cargo terminals, extension of aprons and runways, and installation of Instrumental Landing Systems (ILS). Development plans are provided in further detail at the individual airports’ web sites.

Polish Ministry of Transport, Construction, and Maritime Economy posted a detailed description of projects done in eight major Polish commercial airports. The report can be found on the Ministry’s website:

http://www.en.mi.gov.pl/2-482be1a920074-1794511-p_1.htm - in English

A more recent version from November 2012 can be found at:

http://www.transport.gov.pl/2-482b061c5dcb5-1793436-p_1.htm - in Polish

The biggest and most important buyers of commercial aircraft are LOT Polish Airlines (www.lot.com ) and EuroLot (http://eurolot.com ). There are also small local companies in Poland offering cargo flights and aero-taxi flights, and they could also be sources of opportunities. The current list is available at the Civil Aviation Office web page, under the following link:

http://www.ulc.gov.pl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=265&Itemid=258

PZL Mielec, PZL Swidnik, EADS PZL Okecie, and other smaller aircraft producers would also be potential customers of various types of parts and equipment.

Opportunities Return to top

In the civil aviation sector, the most important trends observed include a growing number of passengers of low-cost airlines and a growing number of passengers in the regional airports versus Chopin Airport in Warsaw.

Poland’s general aviation is also expected to continue to grow in the next ten years to catch up with Western European standards. This will drive increased imports of aircraft (especially in the small and ultra-light category), avionics and instruments, as well as other aviation equipment. This trend will also influence the development of general aviation airfields.

Thanks to a new aviation law introduced in 2003, the process for acquiring a pilot’s license has become much simpler and registration of general aviation aircraft has also been streamlined. This has led to a growing number of people obtaining pilot’s licenses. These pilots are potential buyers of new general aviation aircraft, parts, and navigation aids.

Recent notable developments for small aircraft include the introduction of advanced avionics (including GPS) and composite materials to make small aircraft lighter and faster. Ultralight and homebuilt aircraft have also become increasingly popular for recreational use, since they are much less expensive than certified aircraft.

Web Resources Return to top

Ministry of Economy

Web site: http://www.mg.gov.pl/

American Chamber of Commerce in Poland

Web site: http://www.amcham.com.pl/

Ministry of Infrastructure

Web site: http://www.mi.gov.pl

Civil Aviation Office

Web site: http://www.ulc.gov.pl

Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency

Web site: http://www.paiz.gov.pl

Institute of Aviation

Web site: http://www.ilot.edu.pl

Aviation Valley Association

Web site: http://www.aviationvalley.pl

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)

Web site: http://www.aopa.pl

Polish Aeroclub

Web site: http://www.aeroklubpolski.pl

Commercial Specialist

at the U.S. Commercial Service Warsaw, Poland:

Joanna.Chomicka@trade.gov

Cosmetics Sector Return to top

Overview

Cosmetics Market in Poland (in $ million)

 

2010

2011

2012

Total Market Size

3,058

3,250

3,249 (E)

Total Local Production

4,111

4,338

4,425 (E)

Total Exports

2,443

2,618

2,625

Total Imports

1,390

1,530

1,449

Imports from the U.S.

17,7

26,3

32,4

SOURCES:

Chief Statistical Office of Poland (GUS) - Yearbook 2010, 2011, 2012

www.money.pl

www.nbp.pl

The statistical data includes the following product categories:

  • HS 3303 perfumes and toilet waters,
  • HS 3304 beauty and make-up preparations,
  • HS 3305 hair care products,
  • HS 3306 oral hygiene products,
  • HS 3307 deodorant and shaving preparations.

Despite the economic crisis, the Polish cosmetic market has been growing by 10-15% annually until recently. In 2010, the Polish cosmetic market was worth $3.06 billion, a 10% increase over 2009. However, in 2011, this market was worth $3.25 billion, a 6% increase. And, in 2012, the market maintained this level, despite market conditions.

In 2012, cosmetics imports into Poland were valued at $1.45 billion, only a 1% increase over 2011. The largest suppliers were Germany (33 %), France (14%), Great Britain (10%), and Italy (8%). The remaining major suppliers were the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and China. In 2012, U.S. exports of cosmetics to Poland were $32.4 million (2%), a 22% growth over 2011.

2013 import share by product categories:

HS 3303 perfumes and toilet waters (19% - $293.5 million)

HS 3304 beauty and make-up preparations (37% - $569.1 million)

HS 3305 hair care products (15% - $232.8 million)

HS 3306 oral hygiene products (9% - $140.0 million)

HS 3307 deodorant and shaving preparations (20% - $313.2 million)

Poland’s 2012 cosmetics exports totaled $2.62 billion, a 1% increase over 2011. The top importers of locally produced cosmetics were Russia (16%), Great Britain (13%), Germany (11%), Ukraine (6%) and the Netherlands, Spain, and Italy (5% each).

The estimated total value of local production of cosmetics in 2012 was $4.25 billion, which was a growth of 2% over 2011.

Cosmetic products do not require a CE mark for the EU market. Based on TARIC, the EU official source for tariffs, U.S.-made cosmetics are imported at a duty rate of 0 percent. Excise tax does not apply to cosmetics. VAT is 23 percent.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects Return to top

The greatest sales potential over the next several years is expected in the following areas:

Innovative cosmetic preparations for mature female adult consumers (60+)

Beauty care products for men

Derma-cosmetics

Professional/Spa cosmetics

Organic/Ecological cosmetics

The cosmetics market for the mature adult female is growing fast. For this market segment, properties that address aging and changing skin types are of primary importance when choosing products. There is also an increasing interest for male-oriented products. Polish men, naturally in the younger generation, have become more interested in spending discretionary income on cosmetic products. Derma-cosmetics represent one of the most rapidly developing sectors in Poland which was worth over $550 million in 2012. Facial care cosmetics (anti-aging, cleansing and anti-acne preparations) make up the largest segment of the derma-cosmetics market in Poland.

The market for spa and beauty services is very dynamic in Poland. Local and foreign spa businesses located in specialized spa centers, hotels, and even lately at airports are increasing in popularity. Spa and beauty salons offer a wide range of advanced and innovative face and body, hand and feet treatments, massages, water treatments, dermatologist’s advice and hair dressing services specially designed and suited to the individual’s needs. Salons often combine innovative and traditional approaches, including acupressure, reflexology and various types of massage techniques. Dermatologists solve both cosmetic and strictly dermatological problems and can perform advanced and highly specialized beautifying and curing therapies. Essence face and body treatments and holistic beauty programs are more often chosen by Polish clients. In addition, there is a growing demand for using natural elements of therapy - water, algae, white clay, therapeutic precious and semi-precious stones, and aromatherapy essence. All this creates a growing demand for spa and professional cosmetic product lines.

Polish consumers are more often aware of product additives and synthetic ingredients. Therefore, certified, natural, organic, and ecological products, not tested on animals, are becoming increasingly appealing for Polish customers. Market analysts expect that the market for organic and natural products will grow at 10% annually. Good potential exists for innovative products directed at problem areas.

The sales potential is a direct result of the improvement of the Poles’ financial capabilities and their growing sophistication about appearance. Poles are expected to spend a steadily increasing amount for updating their appearance. Perhaps more in Poland than elsewhere, Poles desire a well-shaped and healthy body, as well as a neat appearance in both their private and professional lives.

Opportunities Return to top

In Poland, there are two markets for cosmetics: the consumer market and the institutional market. The consumer market, which consists of a variety of different groups of people, can be researched based upon certain demographic factors such as sex, income, age, lifestyle and neighborhood. Suppliers must use care in making product adaptations appropriate for specific market niches. The institutional market consists of professional beauty and spa salons. Owners purchase adequate goods from wholesalers and foreign representatives in Poland, or they import themselves. Research indicates the majority of cosmetics used in those salons represent foreign producers.

The key competitive factors for selling cosmetics in Poland are price, quality, brand recognition, and the reputation of the firm and its products. Also important are packaging, advertising, easy application of cosmetics, and effectiveness. In Poland, cosmetics are sold by store consultant staff, even outside of the traditional department store setting. Well-presented information about the products, by highly knowledgeable store associates can positively affect market share and sales potential. Despite the strong position of European suppliers, there are still excellent prospects for American products, which are regarded as of the highest quality.

Cosmetics Regulation

On November 30, 2009, the EU adopted a new regulation on cosmetic products which will apply from July 11, 2013. The new law introduces an EU-wide system for the notification of cosmetic products and a requirement that companies without a physical presence in the EU appoint an EU-based responsible person.

In addition, on March 11, 2013, the EU imposed a ban on the placement on the market of cosmetic products that contain ingredients that have been subject to animal testing. This ban does not apply retroactively but does capture new ingredients. Of note, in March 2013, the Commission published a Communication stating that this ban would not apply to ingredients where safety data was obtained from testing required under other EU legislation that did not have a cosmetic purpose. For more information on animal testing, see: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/sectors/cosmetics/animal-testing

For more general information, see: http://export.gov/europeanunion/accessingeumarketsinkeyindustrysectors/eg_eu_044318.asp

Web Resources Return to top

Major Internet Resources:

The Association of Employers-Exhibitors of Professional Beauty Products, http://www.zpwkp.pl/

Polish Association of Cosmetics and Home Care Product Producers, http://czystepiekno.pl/

Polish Spa & Wellness Association, http://www.spawellness.org.pl

American Chamber of Commerce in Poland, http://www.amcham.com.pl/

Upcoming Trade Shows:

SPA & WELLNESS, May 24-25, 2013, Krakow, http://targi.krakow.pl

Salon AUTUMN (Cosmetics Fair for Professionals) October 12-13, 2013, Poznan http://www.zpwkp.pl/

VENUS (Aesthetic Medicine, Cosmetics, Hairdressing Equipment), November 30 – December 1, 2013, Kielce, http://venus.targikielce.pl/

LOOK (Hairdressing Forum), April 26-27, 2014, Poznan, http://look.mtp.pl/en/

Beauty Vision (Cosmetics Forum), April 6-7, 2014, Poznan, http://beautyvision.mtp.pl/en/

Commercial Specialist

Ewa Bogdanowicz

U.S. Commercial Service Warsaw, Poland:

Ewa.Bogdanowicz@trade.gov

Defense Industry Return to top

Due to sensitive nature of the defense industry sector there is no official statistics available on local production, imports, and exports.  The only data available through public sources is annual amount of defense expenditures which is illustrated in table below. 

Overview

Spending on Defense in Poland

 

2010

2011

2012

Defense Spending

% of GDP

1.95

1.95

1.95

Defense Spending

$ billion

8.38

8.79

9.05

Source: Ministry of Defense (MON) - Annual Budget

Poland's military is continuously undergoing changes - all of which are designed to transform it into a more capable and mobile force compatible with NATO troops. It is forcing change in every area of operation: force structure, staff organizations, training programs, doctrine, security procedures, etc. However, the changes in Poland's military and the reorganization plan for the defense industry must compete with other reforms, which the state budget must also finance.

In 2012, the Polish government allocated 1.95% of GDP, an amount equal to about $9.05 billion (PLN 29.5 billion), for defense expenditures of which $2.16 billion (PLN 7.04 billion) was for technical modernization. The Polish government aims to meet the NATO target of 2% of GDP spending on defense.

The modernization of the Polish army includes the improvement of troop capacity and mobility and air defense systems, as well as the development of a professional army (versus conscription).

On December 11, 2012, the Council of Ministries accepted the governmental programs designed to modernize the Polish Army, entitled the "Technical Modernization Plan," and the Office of General Staff, called “The Polish Army Development Program: 2013-2022.” The Program involves the purchase of military equipment (armored transportation vehicles and military transportation aircraft) and ammunition (armor piercing guided missiles and a ship-to-ship missile system for the Polish Navy). NATO force requirements are also driving equipment-related decisions. It is estimated that about 45 billion USD will be spent on the technical modernization of the Polish Armed Forces in 2013-2022.

Currently, Poland has over 90 active Foreign Military Sales (FMS) cases valued at approximately $4.4 billion. Since 1995, Poland has received over $473 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grants (plus $3.8 billion US-backed loan) to help fund NATO force goals and national procurements requirements. Grant and loan expenditures have focused primarily on F-16 fighter aircraft, C-130 transport aircraft, HMMWVs, tactical radios, Scan Eagle, C4I enhancements (air sovereignty operations center, navigation aids, communications equipment and computers) and support for Perry-Class frigates and SH-2G helicopters.

Funding Levels of Major Security Assistance Programs: (in $ million)

 

FY03

FY04

FY05

FY06

FY07

FY08

FY09

FY10

FY11

FY12

FY13

FY14

FMS

3,550.

190.

6.88

74.3

189.

79.1

90.1

39.1

64.0

15.8

297.*

500.*

FMF Grant

27.9

33.0

20.0

29.7

28.5

27.0

27.0

46.9

34.0

24.1

20.0*

14.0*

FMF Loan

3,800.

1206 Funds

11.4

2.85

14.3

11.2*

7.00*

IMET

2.2

2.3

2.3

2.1

2.1

2.1

2.2

2.2

2.1

2.2

2.0*

2.0*

° To date *Projected

Source: ODC, US Embassy Warsaw

Poland has one of the largest International Military Education and Training (IMET) programs in the United States European Command (EUCOM) and is one of the top 10 worldwide. Poland has already trained a vast number of military and civilian students using IMET, FMS (Foreign Military Sales) and the Regional Defense Counterterrorism Fellowship Program (CTFP). These programs have helped to reform the defense establishments of Poland and have improved Poland’s capacity to conduct peace and stability operations.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects Return to top

Opportunities for American firms exist mainly in investment, technology transfer, and co-production work. Polish defense companies seek cooperation agreements or joint venture opportunities with foreign defense companies that, combined with the relatively lower cost of production in Poland (particularly tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, ships, aircraft, and helicopters), will be attractive to potential customers.

Receptivity to American products is high due to an excellent reputation for high quality products, reliability, and technical assistance. However, technological advantage is not the only factor determining success in the market. American companies should focus on educating end-users and other players in the defense sector. A successful U.S. exporter is expected to support its agent/representative at trade shows, seminars, and conferences.

Polish officials maintain that the most important factor in awarding a contract is price (which is particularly critical in big-ticket purchases), after which other variables such as quality, availability of service and training, and technical assistance for the installation, as well as the start-up operation of the equipment, becomes important. Therefore, superior performance offers from U.S. companies will not always win the deal.

Poland’s defense budget is negotiated annually and the budget parameters are set during these negotiations. The Polish government is required by law to hold tenders for major procurements. Financial value, project complexity, international cooperation, and political sensitivity determine the project category. Poland has an offset policy coordinated by the Department of Offset Programs at the Ministry of Economy. These offset requirements are an important part of defense procurement contracts. Offsets are sensitive political issues that involve regional interests in Poland; therefore, the allocation of offsets is the exclusive responsibility of the Ministry of Economy. Offsets can best be approached through partnerships with local companies.

American companies interested in military procurements in Poland are advised to use various resources to increase the chances of getting their company’s information into vendor’s databases within the military/defense sector. We advise American suppliers of military/defense equipment and services to contact the American Embassy in Warsaw as it pertains to information on defense-related business in Poland and current political issues prior to contacting any Polish government agency. This applies particularly to the Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) and the U.S. Commercial Service.

Defense cooperation is considered the integrated package of security assistance and defense cooperation in armaments activities. The U.S. government security assistance program for the government of Poland is managed by the Office of Defense Cooperation and includes Foreign Military Sales (FMS), Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) and a number of programs under the auspices of defense cooperation in armaments activities.

The U.S. Commercial Service identifies the defense industry as one of its sectors with sizeable American sales potential in Poland. Our office offers a number of commercial export promotion programs and advice on regulation compliance, the market potential for a product or service, agent/representative vetting, and provides advocacy support. Please visit our website http://export.gov/poland/

Opportunities Return to top

The modernization of the Polish army includes the improvement of troop capacity and mobility and air defense systems, as well as the development of a professional army (versus conscription). Poland's military population has already decreased from 450,000 in 1989 to 100,000 at present. Poland's membership in NATO has brought numerous opportunities for U.S. companies in terms of upgrades and adjustment. In addition, Poland became a close U.S. ally in Europe through its support in the international interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, which also called for upgrades and adjustments in terms of developing a more capable and mobile force compatible with NATO troops.

Poland's military is traditionally land force heavy. Currently, the Polish military consists of 100,000 soldiers including 45,870 troops in land forces; 16,547 in the Air Force; 8,063 in the Navy; and 29,520 in other segments, including Reinforcement, Military Police, and the Polish Armed Forces Command.

The Polish Armed Forces "Technical Modernization Plan” involves the purchase of military equipment including:

  • Air defense systems
  • Helicopters (combat support, security, and VIP);
  • Integrated command support and battlefield imaging systems;
  • Unmanned reconnaissance systems and reconnaissance-strike systems;
  • Individual soldier equipment and weapons;
  • Simulators and trainers;
  • Air transport;
  • Modernization of army missile and artillery;
  • Armored transportation carriers;
  • Anti-tank missiles;
  • Combating risks at sea;
  • Trainer aircraft;
  • Modernization of Polish Armored Forces and Transportation Troops

Foreign investors and joint venture partners with local firms can take advantage of government incentives. Many U.S. businesses in Poland take the form of joint ventures with Polish companies and are specifically set up to handle sales in the market. Joint ventures are an excellent way to facilitate export sales to the Polish market. U.S. companies competing on Polish defense contracts are encouraged to look for joint ventures, co-production, and other cooperative opportunities with Polish companies to make their bid offers more attractive. The relatively lower cost of production in Poland has led many foreign defense companies to seek cooperation agreements or joint venture opportunities with Polish defense companies that can produce equipment, which will be attractive to potential customers. Examples of such products include tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, ships, aircraft, and helicopters.

Web Resources Return to top

Participation in trade fairs, conferences, and seminars is a very effective avenue for promotion in the defense/military sector in Poland.

The MSPO International Defense Industry Trade Show held in Kielce (south-east Poland). The upcoming show takes place September 2-5, 2013. The MSPO show organizer is Targi Kielce http://www.targikielce.pl/index.html?k=mspo_en&s=index; Contact person: Ms. Katarzyna Prostak, Deputy Director for Trade Fairs and MSPO Project Director prostak.k@targikielce.pl

Other important exhibitions in this sector are:

RADOM AIR SHOW (http://www.airshow.sp.mil.pl/) held biannually in Radom (south-east Poland). The upcoming show takes place August 24-25, 2013. The organizer of this show is Polish Air Force HQ, Targi Kielce, the city of Radom, and the Polish Aero Club.

BALT-EXPO - International Maritime Exhibition, held biannually in Gdansk (north Poland) http://www.baltexpo.com.pl/. The nearest show will be held September 3-5, 2013. The show organizers is Zarzad Targow Warszawskich SA; E-mail: baltexpo@ztw.pl

BALT-MILITARY-EXPO International Fair for Navy, Border Guards and Police held biannually in Gdansk (north Poland) http://www.baltmilitary.pl/. The upcoming show takes place June 24-26, 2014. The show organizer is Miedzynarodowe Targi Gdanskie S.A.; Contact person: Marek Buczkowski, Project Director; E-mail: military@mtgsa.com.pl

Additional Resources & Contacts:

Ministry of National Defense (MOD)

http://www.mon.gov.pl/index.php?lang=2

Defense Policy Department MOD

http://www.dpz.wp.mil.pl/pl/index.html

dpz@mon.gov.pl

Armaments Inspectorate (MOD Procurement Office) http://www.iu.wp.mil.pl/

Polish Chamber of Defense Industry

http://www.przemysl-obronny.pl/

izba@przemysl-obronny.pl

Institute of Aviation

http://ilot.edu.pl/

ilot@ilot.edu.pl

For more information, please contact:

U.S. Commercial Service

American Embassy Warsaw, Poland

http://export.gov/poland/

Tel: +48 22 625 4374

Fax: +48 22 621 6327

Contact person: Zofia Sobiepanek-Kukuryka, Commercial Specialist

E-mail: zofia.sobiepanek@trade.gov

Electrical Power Systems Return to top

Overview

Export and Import of Electrical Power Systems Equipment (in $ million)

 

2010

2011

2012

Total Exports

898

835

832

Total Imports

711

915

697

Imports from the U.S.

16

33.5

47.5

In USD million

Source of export/import statistics: Global Trade Atlas GTA

Complete local production statistics are not publicly available

The statistical export/import data include the following HS product categories:

8401 Nuclear Reactors and parts

8402 Steam and other vapor generating boilers and parts

8403 Central heating boilers

8404 Auxiliary plant for use with boilers

840681 Steam turbines and other vapor turbines of an output exceeding 40 MW

840682 Steam turbines and other vapor turbines of an output not exc. 40MW

840690 Parts of steam and vapor turbines

840790 Spark-ignition engines, type n.e.s (without position 8407.9050)

84089085 Compressing-ignition internal combustion piston engines (diesel or semi-diesel) exceeding 1000 kW but <5000 kW

84089089 Compressing-ignition internal combustion piston engines (diesel or semi-diesel) exceeding 5000 kW (excl. engines for rail traction or marine)

84089099 Compressing-ignition internal combustion piston engines (diesel or semi-diesel) exceeding 5000 kW (excl. engines for motor vehicle)

8410 Hydraulic turbines, water wheels and regulators therefore; parts thereof;

841182 Gas turbines of a power exceeding 5,000 kw

841199 Parts of gas turbines n.e.s.

84138100 Other pumps for liquids, n.e.s. (turbine pumps)

8502 Electric generating sets and rotary convertors

850434 Electric transformers having a power handling capacity exceeding 500 KVA

85372000 Boards, panels for electric control or distribution of electricity for a voltage exceeding 1,000 V

The production of machinery and equipment for the electrical power industry has been well developed in Poland. Major international power concerns (ABB, Alstom) have made significant equity investments in Poland and developed production capacity of local manufacturing. Alstom, with four factories, is involved in the manufacturing of steam and gas turbines and parts, turbo-generators and switchgears. ABB has six factories and produces power station generators, power system transformers, high, medium, and low voltage electric generator sets and apparatus. Poland has become the key sourcing country for ABB and Alstom and a majority of their Polish production is exported worldwide (90% for Alstom and 50% for ABB). Both companies are very well established in the Polish market and are involved in many new modernization and servicing projects in the power sector. The production of energy boilers is fairly developed in Poland and is performed by three major manufacturers: Rafako (coal, lignite, gas and oil-fired conventional boilers, fluidized bed boilers, heat recovery steam boilers and parts), Foster Wheeler Energia Polska (industrial boilers, mainly circulating fluidized-bed boilers CFB and parts), and Sefako (water-tube and steam boilers, and parts). Many other international power companies have successfully been examining sales opportunities in Poland.

Complete statistical information on the domestic production of power industry equipment is not publicly available. However, export data shows that the value of local production must be considerable. Exports remain consistent at the level of $850 million and the major exported product categories in 2012 were: steam boilers and parts ($314 million), central heating boilers ($253 million), and electric generating sets and rotary convertors ($92 million). The geographical scope of Poland’s export of electrical power systems is diversified and depends on product category, with Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Finland, Romania, and Russia in the lead.

Total import of electrical power systems equipment in 2012 reached $697 million, which was a 23% decrease in comparison with 2011. Poland’s major import products in 2012 were: central heating boilers and parts ($190 million-imported mainly from Germany, Italy, and Netherlands), electric generating sets ($160 million-Spain, Germany, and United States), and turbine pumps ($120 million-Italy, Germany, and China). Total imports from the U.S. were $47.5 million, which was a 40% increase in comparison to 2011. Major products imported from U.S. included parts of gas turbines ($18 million), electric generating sets ($10 million), and spark ignition engines ($9 million). The United States is the leading source of imported gas turbine parts and the third largest for electric generating sets into Poland. The Polish market presents significant sales opportunities for U.S. companies that manufacture electrical power equipment, as Polish companies are familiar with and receptive to U.S. products in the power sector.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects Return to top

Steam generators of supercritical parameters

Turbine pumps

Electric generating sets and rotary converters

Smart meters for the electricity grid

Opportunities Return to top

According to the Ministry of Economy’s document entitled “Forecast of demand for energy and fuels by 2030”, Poland’s electric energy demand is estimated to rise from the current level of 156 TWH to 217 TWh (40%) in 2030. This demand is to be met by the construction of new power plants and modernization of existing facilities. In order to meet strict EU environmental requirements (Poland committed to limit CO2 emissions by 20% in 2020), the modernization of existing installations, the majority of which were built in the 1970s, will be necessary. New investments are planned in the area of renewable energy, gas-fired power plants, clean coal, and highly effective cogeneration systems. Poland has been obliged by the EU cogeneration directive to introduce policy that will facilitate the development of electric energy production from cogeneration sources (system of red certificates, obligation to purchase electric energy produced from CHP plants). Highly effective cogeneration systems do not pollute the environment.

Also important are investments which must be undertaken to improve energy efficiency in the Polish power generating and transmitting sectors. The energy efficiency of Polish power plants is at the level of 36%, and the energy loss generated by power plants is estimated at 24 TWh annually. The Polish power transmission and distribution system generates energy losses of 9.36%, which is one of the highest levels in Europe. Existing power generation and network losses constitute 25% of total energy production. Poland committed to improve energy efficiency by 20% in 2020. New legislation, which is to be approved in the coming months, calls for the obligatory installation of smart electricity meters in all households in Poland by 2020. All electricity distribution companies plan to announce tenders for the supply of smart meters after the law is in place. Sixteen million smart meters are to be installed. Currently, there are 200,000 smart meters installed, based on the pilot tenders organized in order to test technology and installation.

In 2009, the Polish government announced a program to introduce nuclear energy generation in Poland. The program envisages construction of two nuclear power plants of 3,000 MW each by 2030. Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE), a majority state-owned company assigned as the investor to implement the program, plans to construct two nuclear power plants comprising two or three generation III/III+ reactors each. The first reactor of the initial plant is scheduled to be in commercial operation by 2024, with subsequent units coming on-line every two or three years. PGE is also responsible for implementing nuclear power tenders associated with the program and required for power plant development.

The nuclear power project involves three major tenders: 1) the site characterization tender valued at $80 million (already awarded) 2) the owner’s engineer tender ($415 million) (in the process); and, 3) the integrated NPP package procurement tender ($10-15 billion). The integrated NPP package procurement tender is expected to be announced in the second part of 2013. Interested bidder consortia will be asked to include the following into their offers: nuclear reactor technology for two or three units with EPC services, O&M support, equity interest of a strategic partner, energy off-take, ECA or commercial bank financing, and fuel supply. In September 2012, PGE initiated a dialog with thirteen potentially interested bidders (consortia leaders) to inform them about the tender requirements and to get their commitment to participate.

Web Resources Return to top

Ministry of Economy

www.mg.gov.pl

Energy Regulatory Agency

www.ure.gov.pl

Energy Market Agency 

www.are.waw.pl

Polish Committee of Electric Energy

www.pkee.pl

Association of Polish Power Plants

www.tgpe.pl

Polish Association of Professional Combined Heat and Power Plants

www.ptez.com.pl

Polish Power Transmission and Distribution Association

www.ptpiree.pl

Chamber of Industrial Power Plants and Energy Suppliers

www.iep.org.pl

Polish Chamber of Power Industry and Environmental Protection

http://igeos.prv.pl

Chamber of Polish Heating Companies

www.igcp.org.pl

Association of Energy Trading

www.toe.pl

Major trade fairs in electrical power sector:

International Power Industry Exhibition Expopower

www.expopower.pl

Energetab

http://www.energetab.pl/

ENEX

http://www.targikielce.pl/index.html?k=enex_en&s=index

Commercial Specialist

at the U.S. Commercial Service Warsaw, Poland:

Aleksandra.Prus@mail.doc.gov

Green Building Products Return to top

* Statistics for green building products cannot be included in this report as green building products are not distinguished from regular building products in official reporting.

Overview

The residential and tertiary sector, a major part of which includes buildings, accounts for more than 40% of the final energy consumption in the European Community. This sector continues to expand, resulting in an increase in energy consumption and subsequent carbon dioxide emissions. Poland remains, however, below the average in terms of energy consumption in Europe. The majority (75%) of the energy consumed in Poland goes to the housing sector. There are 13 million apartments within residential buildings, (including single and multi-family houses) in Poland. Over 8.7 million of these apartments are in the cities. Only one-fifth of all of the housing was built after 1990. Every year, approximately 180,000 new apartments are put into operation. The average floor surface of a Polish apartment is 229 square feet. In 2007, the average use of energy by a Polish apartment amounted to 59GJ. Heating consumes 71.2% of all energy use and includes hot water, cooking, lighting, and electrical appliances. Heat energy in Polish housing is usually sourced from either a central heating network or locally based boilers, mainly fueled by coal, gas, or oil. The estimated average energy consumption in new and old buildings in Poland is 170kWh/m2/year, which is much higher than the rest of Europe. The average EU consumption is 150kWh/m2/year, although countries like Holland and Norway rank even lower, closer to levels of 90 – 110 kWh/m2/year.

Within the last 10 years, Poland reduced its building energy consumption by 50%, thereby making the country a leader in energy efficiency. In 1998, Poland enacted a thermo-modernization law, which allowed building owners to apply for a refund of up to 16% of the total project cost. Thousands of windows, doors, roofs, wall insulation, or boilers were exchanged with the introduction of this law. As recently as 2008, BGK, the state-owned bank responsible for the distribution of the Thermo-Modernization Fund, paid out 3,213 premiums, averaging approximately $60,000 each. For every 1PLN in public money, 6PLN are invested.

In addition to the Thermo-Modernization Fund, the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, together with their regional subsidiaries, provides grants and loans for both individual and institutional investors. This entity recently announced that it would pay out almost $280 million in grants and loans to institutional investors for thermo-modernization works in public buildings. Within the next four years, this fund plans to spend over $1.1 billion for such activities. Funds received by Poland from the sale of surplus Kyoto carbon credits will feed into a third funding source which will be used for thermo-modernization, among other activities.

The Polish commercial office building market began to develop early in the 1990’s. Before then, offices were located in apartment houses or old office buildings. Currently, new Class A and B office buildings dominate the market. Poland has almost 5 million square meters of modern office space, with 3.2 million square meters in Warsaw. Governmental and administrative buildings remain outdated, although intense focus is increasingly being given towards energy savings and thermo-modernization in this sector as well.

Similar to the development of the office building market, commercial estates began to appear in Poland also during the 1990s. All of the offered space is modern and built according to the best European standards. By the end of 2009, Poland had 9,345,000 square meters of commercial surface available of which almost 73% was shopping malls. Development trends within this particular area are very positive, as Poland has a large growth curve thanks to the demographics, sustained economic growth, and increasing purchasing power of Poles. Every year about 1.5 million square meters of commercial space are put into operation in Polish cities both big and small.

The basic tool Poland uses to promote energy efficient and sustainable buildings is the system of energy certificates introduced into Polish law from the EU 2002/91 Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings. This Directive is the main legislative instrument at the EU level to achieve energy performance in buildings. Current binding Polish law is very liberal in terms of the recommended amount of energy consumption in buildings, which amounts to 120kWh/m2/year. In other European Union countries, this value is much lower, reaching even 70kWh/m2/year in Sweden.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects Return to top

Best prospects for U.S. suppliers can be found within the following areas:

  • HVAC, including air conditioners with cooling capacity of 470-1750 kW
  • High efficiency heating pumps integrated with solar panels and other innovative RE systems
  • Solar photovoltaic panels (PV) integrated into the building facade
  • Small wind turbines for application in multi-family houses
  • Ventilation and heat recovery systems
  • High-tech biomass boilers
  • Innovative insulation materials and glass
  • Energy efficient appliances
  • Energy rating services such as RESNET system
  • CO2 and air contamination HVAC sensors
  • Roof reflective membranes to reduce air conditioning needs
  • Smart meters and software to modulate electrical power use
  • Scientific and research measurement equipment for energy and emissions testing

Opportunities Return to top

In recent years, there has been an increased interest in green-building programs in Poland. Public awareness about energy savings has also been growing steadily. Currently, there are only three office buildings certified with LEED and 4 with BREEM. However, the trend is toward certification, as more and more developers are applying for LEED or BREEM certification. In January 2012, Skanska announced that all of their buildings under development will be accomplished in accordance with LEED requirements.

The market will be driven even more intensely when all the regulations for the recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2002/91/EC) will be implemented which will force member states to introduce regulations for new buildings built after December 2020. The requirement is for new buildings to have “near zero emission”, or using not more that 15kWh/m2/year.

Another factor positively driving the market will be the EU Commission’s decision regarding the allocation of funds within the new financial perspective 2014-2020. In this, for the first time, energy efficiency will be specified as a target for all EU member states.

Web Resources Return to top

Instytut Technik Budowlanych

Building Research Institute

http://www.itb.pl/

instytut@itb.pl

Krajowa Agencja Poszanowania Energii S.A.

Polish National Energy Conservation Agency

http://www.kape.gov.pl

kape@kape.gov.pl

Narodowa Agencja Poszanowania Energii S.A.

National Energy Conservation Agency

http://www.nape.pl

nape@nape.pl

Polish Green Building Council PLGBC

http://www.plgbc.org

Contact: Ms. Agnes Vorbrodt-Schurma, President

agnes@plgbc.org

Fundacja Budownictwa Energo-oszczednego “Zielone Domy”

Foundation for Energy Saving Construction “Green Houses”

http://www.fundacjazielonedomy.pl/

biuro@fundacjazielonedomy.pl

Commercial Specialist

at the U.S. Commercial Service Warsaw, Poland:

Anna.Janczewska@trade.gov

Information Technology Return to top

Overview

The Polish Information Technology Market (in $ Millions)

 

2010

2011

2012

(Estimated)

2013

(Forecast)

Total Market Value

7,487

8,020

8,569

8,978

Hardware

3,444

3,577

3,683

3,690

% of the market

46%

44%

43%

41%

Software

1,245

1,416

1,510

1,706

% of the market

17%

18%

18%

19%

Services

2,798

3,027

3,376

3,582

% of the market

37%

38%

39%

40%

Source: Business Monitor International; Industry Forecast report – Poland

The Polish information technology (IT) market grew by 5.1% in 2012. It is still considered as one of the fastest growing IT markets in Europe, even though its growth is expected to slow down to some 3.4% in 2013. IT services will represent the fastest-growing segment of the market in the next three years. The dominant trends in Poland are technology convergence, digitalization, and the rapidly growing diversity of access to services. These trends directly reflect the new market opportunities for suppliers of products and services.

Even though Poland continues to spend only slightly over 2% of its GDP on IT investments, these projects can obtain EU funding through several programs, of up to 85% of the project value. The government’s development priorities for the future are contained in the “Digital Poland 2014-2020” strategy, which is yet to be finalized. This program will support activities ensuring common broadband internet access, actions against digital exclusion and improving e-government services. Thus, implementation of this program will offer business opportunities for IT products and services.

Corporate users account for two-thirds of all IT expenditures in Poland. The three leading sectors (financial and banking, industry, and telecommunications) represent almost half (46%) of the business expenditures and 31% of the total market value. Individual users and small- to medium-sized companies have become major purchasers of computer equipment, with emphasis on low-end equipment.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects Return to top

Best prospects for American suppliers exist in all segments of the IT market and include all kinds of specialized software for vertical markets, internet, and e-commerce solutions, especially in the IT security area. Good prospects also include networking equipment and computers, storage systems, components, and peripherals. Systems that address cyber security requirements will be in demand.

The U.S. suppliers of IT services interested in entering the Polish market should consider working with Polish partners as Polish project sponsors usually mandate that any required assistance be available to them locally and in the Polish language.

Opportunities Return to top

Public sector IT development projects are coordinated by the Ministry of Administration and Digitization. Please see https://mac.gov.pl/eng/

The following are the projects in the pipeline:

  • Further development of the Ministry of Justice’s electronic platform

Web Resources Return to top

CS Warsaw recommends European regional shows in lieu of local events.

CeBIT, March 11-15, 2014, Hannover, Germany: http://www.cebit.de/home or

http://export.gov/germany/TradeShowsEvents/TradeFairsinGermanyandtheUnitedStates/eg_de_034341.asp for more information on the U.S. Commercial Service programs at this event

Audio/Visual Products:

Integrated Systems Europe (ISE), February 4-6, 2014, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

http://www.iseurope.org/kcms/home.php

Security Products:

Infosecurity Europe, April 29-May 1, London, United Kingdom http://www.infosec.co.uk/

Contacts for Marketing and Advertisement

IDG Polska publishes Polish editions of ComputerWorld, PC World, NetWorld, CIO, and IT sector rankings (printed and on-line). IDG also offers marketing services.

http://www.idg.com.pl/

IT Reseller (on-line) http://itreseller.pl/

CRN (bi-weekly printed magazine and daily on-line) http://www.crn.pl/

Elektronik – professional electronic magazine (printed and on-line) www.elektronikab2b.pl

Commercial Specialist

at the U.S. Commercial Service Warsaw, Poland:

Maria.Kowalska@mail.doc.gov

Medical Equipment Return to top

Overview

Medical Equipment Market (in $ Millions)

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

Total Market Size

1,346

1,337

1,616

1,849

Total Local Production

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

In USD million

Source: PMR Publications

There is no official statistics available in the category of medical equipment products due to the diversity of these products. Over 65% of all medical equipment used in Poland is imported, as domestic production is unable to compete with imports with respect to quality.  American manufacturers face strong competition from European companies.  EU suppliers increased market share due to their competitive prices as well as availability of EU assistance packages for Poland.  Poland imports medical equipment primarily from Western Europe (Germany, Netherlands, Austria, France, Switzerland, and United Kingdom), the United States, and Asia (Japan and China). 

As the sixth largest country in the European Union with a population of 38 million people, Poland represents one of the biggest health care markets in Central/Eastern Europe. That being said, the health care sector in Poland has been in a somewhat challenging financial condition of late and the short-term outlook in the public healthcare sector (the largest sector of health care in Poland) remains tentative.

Since 1999, the Polish health care sector has gone through several unsuccessful attempts at reform. It was expected that the current government would prepare and pass major amendments to the existing Health Care Law and Regulations. To date, only the new Reimbursement Act has been announced. It has been in force since January 1, 2012. Although it is considered to be revolutionary for the Polish healthcare system, it is quite controversial and was widely protested. There were opinions from some reputable constitutionalists proving that it is unconstitutional for being too restrictive, non-proportional, and unclear. The law was also subject to a constitutional claim filed by the opposition party.

Once the major new healthcare laws come into force, U.S. Commercial Service Warsaw foresees significant opportunities for American companies in the healthcare-medical market. However, it is difficult to make any concrete predictions at this stage.

The most common causes of death in Poland are cardiovascular disease (45%), cancer (26%), and injuries and accidents (7%). In addition, contagious diseases, especially hepatitis and sepsis, are an important concern. Further, there is a growing concern with health problems associated with the aging Polish population. About 7.5 million Poles are in retirement, 1.2 million are pensioners, and another 5.4 million are considered handicapped. In Poland, only 24% of handicapped people are employed, compared to 50% in other European countries.

Polish manufacturers are not very competitive, because they lack the latest technology, efficient production methods, investment capital, and appropriate marketing resources. Therefore, medical equipment represents a good prospect for foreign suppliers. However, U.S. medical equipment manufacturers face strong competition from European companies in particular. EU suppliers maintain a large market share due to their competitive prices, as well as availability of EU assistance packages for Poland. Poland imports medical equipment primarily from Western Europe (Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, France, Switzerland, and United Kingdom), the United States, and Asia (Japan and China).

In general, American suppliers of medical products have a good reputation for high-quality products. However, technological advantage is not the only factor determining success in the Polish market. Therefore, American companies should focus on educating end-users and other players in the health care sector. A successful exporter should strongly support its agent/representative with marketing strategies.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects Return to top

The latest restructuring of public health care in Poland resulted in the establishment of short-term and outpatient facilities. This change required implementation of advanced diagnostic techniques and new surgical procedures that, in turn, created a demand for new equipment. Also, the development of the private health care sector in Poland created a need for equipment not only for general and specialty practice consulting offices, but also for same-day clinics and private hospitals.

In Poland, imports are a fundamental component of the local medical equipment market. Local production is focused on hospital furniture, including hospital and rehabilitation beds, lenses, spectacle frames and other ophthalmic devices, and a relatively limited supply of alpha, beta, or gamma emission devices, ultraviolet and infrared equipment, dialysis equipment, scintigraphy equipment, and pacemakers.

The best prospects for U.S. suppliers are in sophisticated diagnostic equipment, patient-monitoring systems, surgery equipment (high-tech surgical devices and minimally invasive surgery equipment), oncology and nuclear medicine, and cardiovascular surgical devices. Medical equipment for advanced diagnostic and operating rooms also has good market potential, especially equipment that increases efficiency and reduces occupancy rates in hospitals and medical clinics. The idea of implementing controls on health expenditures is not unknown to Poland, where the expansion of such alternatives has created a demand for a whole new range of medical equipment that facilitates fewer and shorter hospital stays. The demand for medical equipment and products that will assist new Polish healthcare controls will continue to increase.

In addition, X-ray equipment has market potential in Poland. According to the latest inspections of the Supreme Chamber of Control (NIK), there are 11,000 analogue x-ray apparatus operating in Polish healthcare facilities that need digitization or replacement with digital equipment. As a result, the import of x-ray equipment, including parts and accessories, represented the highest value of Polish imports of medical devices in recent years.

The need for medical home-care for the increasing elderly population in Poland also brings prospects for the American medical equipment market. The increasing elderly population reinforces the demand for all kinds of equipment and aid-supplies used by nurses and families for home-care. Also, the hygiene sub-sector represents good prospects. Safety of patient and medical personnel is of growing concern to both members of the medical profession and the Polish public. Best sales prospects will certainly focus on assuring stringent personnel safety requirements. This is especially due to the concern regarding hepatitis, sepsis, and other contagious diseases. In the near future, prevention should receive similar emphasis, considering the present focus on protection.

Marketing strategies in Poland are heavily based on market demand. In Poland, medical specialists recommend products, so a good marketing strategy is to keep doctors well informed about new products. This means that a successful importer will need to have a representative/distributor that promotes awareness of new products, attends medical trade shows, seminars and conferences, and keeps doctors informed by direct campaigns.

Price is a more important factor than quality in Poland's health care market. The second factor is local availability of service and spare parts. Quality is usually the third element considered by most potential buyers of imported medical devices. Another sale-making factor is quick delivery.

We have several programs to help you find a local agent/distributor/representative. For more information, please look at our web site:

http://export.gov/poland/servicesforu.s.companies/index.asp

Opportunities Return to top

The end-users of medical equipment are the service providers themselves. Service providers include public hospitals, private clinics, and private doctor’s offices. One should take into account the difference between the average patient in a private clinic and the average patient of public hospitals and medical facilities. The public sector (the largest sector of healthcare in Poland) receives annual funding for equipment purchases. Private institutions try to maintain a stock of products based on supply and demand and generally respond better to a new technology or innovation if it is well marketed.

As Poland is a member of the European Union, import regulations for medical equipment are harmonized with the European Union’s Medical Device Directives, which cover essential safety, health, and environmental requirements. The three regional European standards organizations, CEN, CENELEC and ETSI, are mandated by the Commission.

There are no restrictions in Poland on sales or the importation of used medical equipment by either state-owned or private medical facilities, but market opportunities for used medical equipment is relatively small. Medical equipment for public hospitals is purchased through a competitive bidding process. All tenders are announced in a public procurement bulletin “Biuletyn Zamowien Publicznych” issued by the Public Procurement Office (http://www.uzp.gov.pl/cmsws/page/?F;356). Private clinics can purchase medical equipment from any sources they wish or through any trading organizations they choose, but no specific buying pattern has been identified. Leasing of medical equipment has become more and more popular in Poland, especially among an increasing number of private clinics and private medical facilities.

Investment-related purchases, such as advanced medical equipment, are generally limited to private clinics. Fortunately, this market niche rapidly grew with an average annual growth rate at 20-30% in 2008 (larger private firms grew even faster). However, due to the global economic crisis, the latest annual growth in the private medical sector was estimated at only about 5 percent.

There are several special funds and medical foundations that raise money to purchase medical equipment and donate it to hospitals and other healthcare facilities. In addition, a certain amount of money is still available from the European Union Funds through the Operational Program entitled “Infrastructure and Environment” (Program Operacyjny Infrastruktura i Srodowisko) http://www.pois.gov.pl/. Through this program, about €420 million has been allocated for the purchase of medical imaging and diagnostic equipment and supporting equipment for patient transportation service in 2007-2013. These funds are distributed strictly via bidding procedures.

Web Resources Return to top

Participation in medical events, such as conferences and seminars, is a very effective avenue for promotion in the healthcare/medical sector in Poland. A successful exporter should strongly support its agent/representative at all external marketing events - medical specialty seminars and conferences in particular. Introducing new medical products successfully on the Polish market requires an investment of considerable time and sizable marketing expense.

The largest trade show for the healthcare/medical industry sector in Poland is SALMED (http://www.salmed.pl/en/). It is held biannually in Poznan (western Poland). The upcoming show, the XXV edition of SALMED, will take place February 10-12, 2014.

The following is a listing of key contacts for government and non-government organizations in the healthcare/medical sector:

Ministry of Health (MOH) http://www.mz.gov.pl/

E-mail: kancelaria@mz.gov.pl

MOH Foreign Cooperation Department

E-mail: dep-wm@mz.gov.pl

MOH Health Policy Department

E-mail: dep-pz@mz.gov.pl

MOH Public Health Department

E-mail: dep-zp@mz.gov.pl

MOH Procurement Office http://www.mz.gov.pl/wwwmz/index?mr=m241614191&ms=416&ml=pl&mi=419&mx=6&ma=377

Office for Registration of Medical Equipment, Medical Products,

Pharmaceutical Products and Biocides (product approval and testing)

http://www.urpl.gov.pl/

Medical Devices

http://www.urpl.gov.pl/wyroby-medyczne

E-mail: wm@urpl.gov.pl

National Health Fund

http://www.nfz.gov.pl/new/

E-mail: secretariat.prezes@nfz.gov.pl

Healthcare Managers Association

http://www.stomoz.pl

E-mail: stomoz@stomoz.pl

The Polish Chamber of Physicians

http://www.nil.org.pl/xml/

National Association of Private Hospitals

http://www.szpitale.org/

Foreign Aid Programs in Health Care

http://www.bpz.gov.pl/

E-mail: bpz@bpz.gov.pl

For more information, please contact:

U.S. Commercial Service

American Embassy Warsaw, Poland

http://www.export.gov/poland

Tel: +48 22 625 4374

Fax: +48 22 621 6327

Contact person: Zofia Sobiepanek-Kukuryka, Commercial Specialist

E-mail : zofia.sobiepanek@trade.gov

Renewable Energy Return to top

* Statistics for renewable energy products cannot be included in this report as renewable energy products are not distinguished from regular products in official reporting.

Overview

Poland has very favorable technical, legal, and economic factors for renewable energy development. Beginning in 2004, Poland experienced a shift of political and public support away from traditional fossil fuels and toward the development of renewable energy resources. The Ministry of Economy passed regulations on November 3, 2006 establishing a target of 10.4% of energy production from renewable sources by 2010, and they will continue with this target through 2014. Utilities are required to purchase electricity from renewable sources and prices are regulated by tariffs. Producers of green energy can apply for green certificates that are tradable on global energy stock exchanges. The new RE law that would reflect the EU Directive 2009/28/EC on renewable energy sources (RES) should have been in place by December 2010, but the Polish government has not yet agreed on a final version of this law. In March 2013, the European Commission announced their decision on the referral to the European Court of Justice of a case against Poland concerning this delay. The Commission proposed that Poland be fined in the amount of €133,228.80 per day for the delay in agreeing to a RE law.

 

Biomass, biogas and wind appear to be the most promising renewable energy resources for development in Poland. Both liquid and solid biomass are considered to be the main sources of renewable energy in Poland, for both electricity and thermal energy production. Biomass technologies and supply sources are relatively mature, and the investment costs are lower than for other maturing renewable energy technologies. Poland also has some of the best documented wind resources in Central and Eastern Europe with areas reaching up to 1,000 W/m2 in power density.

Biomass

Biomass is the most promising source of renewable energy in Poland. The technical potential of biomass amounts to 755 PJ/year (petajoule/year). The greatest opportunities for biomass technology implementation are in the forestry, wood processing, and agricultural sectors. The majority of the current biomass used is for heat. Small and medium-scale boilers in industrial settings most commonly use fuel, such as wood pieces, sawdust, and wood shavings. In addition, the industrial-scale energy sector looks promising, after the start-up of two boilers of 191 MW and 140 MW power capacities at two power plants in Szczecin and Polaniec. Combined heat and power (CHP) plants using organic waste from pulp and paper operations and straw and wood-fired heating plants are also in operation.

About 47% of the land area of Poland (approximately 14 million ha) consists of arable and agricultural lands. Nearly 9 million ha is forested (approximately 28%). It is estimated that the total forest cover in Poland will reach 32% in the next 15 years. There are very good opportunities for biomass development in Poland. The areas with the most potential for biomass/biogas projects are those in the northern and western regions, rural and mountainous regions, as well as the region along the eastern border with Belarus.

Wind power

In Poland, wind turbines installed through December 2012 have a combined capacity of around 2,500 MW, compared to 1,481 MW in 2011. This is an increase of 500% within four years. According to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Poland is one of the most promising wind energy markets in Europe. The country possesses many potentially profitable locations and great development possibilities. Much of Poland has favorable conditions for wind energy production. The average wind speed varies between 5.5 and 7.0 m/s at a height of 50 meters. The productivity of one 2MW turbine may be equal to as much as 5,000 MWh per year.

Poland was the biggest recipient of EU Cohesion Policy funds in the period of 2007-2013 with an allocation of €67 million. In the new period of 2014-2020, Poland will likely receive €72.9 billion. Within the framework of the European Fund for Regional Development, Brussels requests spending targets on renewable energy of at least 6% of all funds in the poorest regions of the Community and as much as 20% in the richest. This latter region encompasses the entire Mazovia region, including the city of Warsaw. In comparison, the EU budget perspective for 2007-2013 only directed 1.7% of EU funds allocated to Poland for the renewable energy sector.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects Return to top

Best-selling prospects with harmonized system codes:

  • 8402 wood-fired boilers
  • 8402 fluidized-bed boilers
  • 8402 straw-fired boilers
  • 8407 spark-ignition engines generating electricity from biogas at waste water treatment plants and from landfill gas
  • 841280 wind turbines
  • 854140 photovoltaic cells

Opportunities Return to top

Poland is one of the European Union members that committed to a 20% reduction of its CO2 emission, a 20% goal of renewable energy in its total energy balance, and a 20% increase in the effective use of energy, all by the year 2020.

The Polish Biomass Chamber, together with local governments and under the auspices of the Polish Ministries of Agriculture and Economy, is promoting the national program “Biogas 2020,” which aims at reaching 2,000 MW of electric power by the year 2020 within scattered cogeneration. Within the framework of this program, Poland has a target to build and install 20 agricultural biogas facilities with a capacity of 0.5-2.0 MW by the year 2020. Each community should have such a facility. Necessary acreage of biomass needed is approximately 800,000 hectares, and the value of the program is estimated at €3-6 billion. This program will create about 10,000 new jobs in the facilities, as well as 40,000-60,000 new jobs in farming.

According to the European Wind Energy Association’s (EWEA) latest figures, Poland is expected to increase its total wind power capacity 26-fold by 2020. This jump will make Poland one of the foremost wind energy producers in the EU by 2020, trailing behind Germany, Spain, the UK, France, and Italy. By 2020, Poland is expected to have a total installed capacity of up to 12,500 MW, of which 12,000 will be onshore installed capacity and the rest offshore, according to the EWEA’s Pure Power report. Poland has not yet ventured into offshore wind energy, but the ‘Energy Policy of Poland until 2030’, adopted by the Polish Council of Ministers in November 2009, outlines the country’s intention to support the development of wind farms both on land and at sea.

Web Resources Return to top

Ministry of Economy

http://www.mpips.gov.pl/english/

Ministry of Environment

http://www.mos.gov.pl

Polish Chamber of Commerce for Renewable Energy

http://www.pigeo.org.pl/

Polish Wind Energy Association

http://www.psew.org.pl/

Polish Biomass Chamber

http://www.biomasa.org.pl

Institute for Renewable Energy

http://www.ieo.pl/eng/start.html

National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management

http://www.nfosigw.gov.pl

Commercial Specialist

At the U.S. Commercial Service Warsaw, Poland:

Anna.Janczewska@trade.gov

Waste Management Return to top

* Statistics for waste management products cannot be included in this report as waste management products are not distinguished from regular products in official reporting.

Overview

Poland produces approximately 12 million tons of municipal waste annually, but its generation of municipal waste is still far below the average of other EU members. The average Pole produces around 350 kg of waste per year, while the average Western European citizen generates 700-800kg. Nonetheless, if that waste was expressed in energy, it would supply either 1.4TWh of electricity – or 1% of Poland’s annual production, or it could generate 21PJ of heat – 6% of Poland’s annual production.

Poland ratified its accession treaty in 2003, obligating itself to reducing the amount of landfill waste by 50% by the year 2013. That means that this year Poland will only be allowed to landfill biodegradable waste, which accounts for 50% of landfill waste. The other 50% is to be recovered through the recycling of glass, plastics, and paper, while all remaining materials are to be processed either with biological or thermal methods. Because Poland does not comply with this target, the EU Commission has started to calculate fines of €40,000 per day. That will be increased up to €250,000 per day after 2013.

According to the latest regulation, on January 1, 2012, municipalities became the owners of waste generated by their citizens. Every citizen is to pay for their waste management to the municipality and it is the municipality’s responsibility to decide which company shall collect waste from a particular area. Local governments are responsible to organize collection and sorting. The new regulation will also significantly limit the number of unauthorized landfills and illegal waste-dumping, which is an urgent problem to be addressed in Poland.

Currently, 86% of Poland’s waste is deposited in about 800 landfills. Only 8% of waste is composted, 18% is recycled, and 0.4% is thermally treated. Poland has only one waste-to-energy facility of 40,000 tons/year capacity. In comparison to Poland’s figure of 86%, Western European countries on average deposit in landfills only 47% of their waste. The recycling leaders are Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden, which landfill less than 10% of their waste, while the rest is recovered or repurposed.

Due to the EU requirements, Poland will have to introduce thermal utilization of waste and energy recovery. Ultimately, Poland is to have 11 waste-to-energy facilities. However, the amount of produced waste means a few dozen of such facilities with various capacities are needed. It is estimated that 4-5 million tons of waste could be used as a fuel. By 2014, municipalities across Poland plan to construct a total of 11 waste incineration plants, each with a capacity of ca. 200K tons, in order to be able to meet the targets of the new act. Funding for most of them will involve significant involvement of EU subsidies under the Operational Program for Infrastructure and Environment. After 2014, there are plans for a dozen smaller facilities in secondary cities. Currently, six projects are to be accomplished with EU co-financing. These projects are: Bialystok of 120K tons/year capacity, Bydgoszcz &Torun – 180K tons, Konin – 94K tons, Krakow – 220K tons, Poznan – 240K tons and Szczecin – 150K tons. All of these projects are already after public tender procedure. Poznan, the first to reach a decision, will build its facility in a public-private partnership. The total value of these projects amount to $1 billion, 57% of the value will be covered by EU funds.

Each waste-incineration plant is to recover both energy and heat which are to be treated as green-energy eligible for green certification. The Polish Ministry of Regional Development applied for EU funding for the projects in Szczecin, Bydgoszcz, Krakow, Bialystok and Poznan which are currently in the planning phase. According to EU rules, these projects will get EU financing up to a maximum of 85% of total project costs. An average investment would likely be $350 million (1 billion PLN).

Some cities plan to finance the plants with EU funds and some of them will use the funds for other parts of the project (education, collection systems, etc.) and will look for private partners to build and run the plan, as was done in the city of Poznan. Lodz and Gdansk have not received approval for EU financing yet, but are expected to also follow this approach.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects Return to top

  • waste-to-energy technologies/waste incineration with energy recovery
  • sludge treatment technologies which include energy recovery
  • ash treatment technologies

Opportunities Return to top

Municipal waste:

Thermal utilization of waste facilities has a significant potential for the production of energy and heat. Since June 2010, the ordinance, which requires the qualification of 42% of energy recovered from waste as a renewable energy, has been in effect. Thus, when the waste-to-energy facilities become operational, they will have a significant contribution towards Poland’s compliance with the EU requirements in terms of the amount of energy produced from renewable energy sources (RES). In addition, the new renewable energy law, which is currently going through public consultations, foresees municipal waste as RES.

Poland’s plans for increasing the number of waste-to-energy facilities open significant opportunities for the newest technology suppliers. From 2016-2020, there will be another 10 projects to be accomplished with possible public-private partnerships (PPP) as a financing model. Both the Ministries of Environment and Treasury will strongly support this model of project financing. These projected facilities are to process ca. 2 million tons of waste. Among these projects, the most urgent is the extension of the Warsaw facility, which has a planned capacity for 350K tons/year. The city of Warsaw will also look for an international PPP partner. Experts estimate that Poland needs waste-to-energy facilities of 3 million tons/year capacity in order to comply with the European Union requirements and standards.

For the years 2016-2020, waste-to-energy facilities are projected in the following cities: Lodz, Koszalin, Gdansk, Katowice, Chrzanow, Tarnow, Oswiecim, Gorlice, Plock, Radom and Kalisz.

Sludge:

Poland produces over 600,000 tons of sludge per year. The EU Commission imposed an obligation whereby Poland will not be permitted to landfill sludge starting in January 2013. According to the National Plan for Waste Management, by 2018, 60% of sludge is to be utilized with thermal methods. The current amount being processed this way reaches only 35 percent. The current operational capacity does not allow Poland to comply with the requirement. The major cities of Warsaw, Lodz, Krakow, Gdansk, Poznan and Szczecin all have limited capacities to dry and incinerate sludge. Due to the general lack of experience in using drying and incineration methods, high-tech sludge processing technologies will be in high demand in the near future.

Web Resources Return to top

Ministry of Environment

http://www.mos.gov.pl

Ministry of Economy

http://www.mg.gov.pl/English

National Board of Waste Management

http://www.kigo.pl

Waste Management Companies Directors’ National Forum

http://www.forum-dyrektorow.pl/

Polish Board of Recycling

http://www.oigr.pl

Polish Waterworks Chamber of Commerce

http://igwp.org.pl/

Commercial Specialist

At the U.S. Commercial Service Warsaw, Poland:

Anna.Janczewska@trade.gov

Agricultural Sectors Return to top

Overview

U.S. exports of agricultural products to Poland continue to increase and reached the level of over $220 million in 2012. Imports of feed to the agricultural sector, food ingredient exports destined for the hotel/restaurant/food processing sector, and high-value and consumer-ready products for the retail and food processing sectors remained strong.

The Agricultural Affairs Office routinely receives inquiries from local food importers seeking to expand their range of U.S. food products. Best prospects for U.S. agricultural products include bovine semen, feed ingredients, such as soybean meal, and consumer-oriented products, such as tree nuts (almonds), wine, beer, distilled spirits, seafood (salmon), and processed fruit (prunes and dry cranberries).

BEST PROSPECTS FOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS IN POLAND

Note: All figures are in thousands of U.S. dollars, unless otherwise stated.

Data Source: Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS). The GATS does not track intra-EU transshipments.

Feed & Fodder (Intermediate Product)

Processed Fruit & Vegetables (Consumer-Oriented Product)

Tree Nuts (Consumer-Oriented Product)

Wine (Consumer-Oriented Product)

Salmon Whole (Fish Product)

Hardwood Lumber (Forest Product)

Bovine semen

Soybean Meal Return to top

Soybean meal was traditionally sourced from the United States until the last decade, when the price competitiveness of South American meal emerged. Poland imports around 2 million metric tons of soybean meal every season.  In 2007, Poland sourced 89% of its soybean meal from Argentina, and zero from the United States.  In 2012, the U.S. share was at 6.3 percent.

Commodity Group: Feed & Fodder

Harmonized Schedule Code(s): HS 230400

Value in US$1,000

 

2010

2011

2012

2013 (f)

Total Imports

798,241

810,438

1,024,136

1,100,000

Total Imports from U.S.

119,653

32,819

64,475

100,000

Processed Fruit Return to top

The dried fruits market is experiencing dramatic growth, led by dry cranberries and prunes, which have steadily gained in popularity as healthy snack foods. As Polish consumers become more health conscious, these products are increasingly desired ingredients in the confectionary, home baking, and snack sectors. These sectors are also showing growing demand for raisins.

Commodity Group: Processed Fruit

Harmonized Schedule Code(s): HS 200860, 20089949, 20089985, 081320

Value in US$1,000

 

2010

2011

2012

2013 (f)

Total Imports

214,862

239,403

241,632

245,000

Total Imports from U.S.

5,206

12,547

8,564

9,000

Tree Nuts – Almonds Return to top

Tree nuts sourced from the United States consist primarily of almonds. Almonds are becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in the confectionary, home baking and snack industries. The leading competitor for the United States on the Polish market is Spain. 

Commodity Group: Tree Nuts

Harmonized Schedule Code(s): HS 080212

Value in US$1,000

 

2010

2011

2012

2013 (f)

Total Imports

21,224

27,992

30,681

32,000

Total Imports from U.S.

4,805

7,245

6,709

7,000

Wine Return to top

Poland is a leading importer of wine in Central Europe. Italy, France, and Spain are the leading suppliers with a combined import market share of nearly 60 percent.  The U.S., together with other “new-world” wines, has developed an increasingly good reputation for quality in the Polish market. Given transshipments, it is estimated that the actual figure for direct and indirect imports of U.S. wine into Poland in 2012 was close to $25 million.

Commodity Group: Wine

Harmonized Schedule Code(s): HS2204

Value in US$1,000

 

2010

2011

2012

2013 (f)

Total Imports

204,031

231,547

230,532

240,000

Total Imports from U.S.

2,976

3,722

3,382

3,500

Salmon Return to top

The consumption of seafood in Poland continues to increase, setting a record for U.S. whole salmon in 2009. Data for 2012 indicates strong continued interest in the U.S. product. Given its strengthening currency, Poland will likely remain a growing market for salmon (Sockeye Salmon/Red Salmon), and other seafood, specifically herring and mackerel.

Commodity Group: Salmon

Harmonized Schedule Code(s): HS030311

Value in US$1,000

 

2010

2011

2012

2013 (f)

Total Imports

18,262

18,643

16,768

17,000

Total Imports from U.S.

15,538

15,608

14,773

15,000

Hardwood Lumber Return to top

The housing market is recovering following a slowdown in 2008-10, creating new opportunities for wood products in the local market.

Commodity Group: Hardwood

Harmonized Schedule Code(s): HS 4409

Value in US$1,000

 

2010

2011

2012

2013 (f)

Total Imports

67,103

62,007

56,649

57,000

Total Imports from U.S.

236

350

205

210

Bovine semen Return to top

There continues to be strong interest in U.S. bovine genetics in Poland. U.S. bovine genetics, primarily dairy, have garnered strongest interest as reflected in the unprecedented growth in demand which was recorded following Poland’s EU accession in 2004. In 2012, imported bovine semen to Poland amounted to $6.8 million or almost 1.5 million doses of semen every year (a 17% increase compared to the previous year). The value of imported U.S. bovine semen in 2012 amounted to $2.7 million, 23% higher than a year ago.

Commodity Group: Animal Genetics

Harmonized Schedule Code(s): HS 051110

Value in US$1,000

 

2010

2011

2012

2013 (f)

Total Imports

3,757

5,766

6,764

7,900

Total Imports from U.S.

1,690

2,195

2,704

3,400

Web Resources: Return to top

Agricultural Reports
Attaché Reports

Attaché reports provide information on market opportunities, crop conditions, new policy developments and information on the local food industry. Some standard reports include: Retail Market Report, Exporter Guide, Food Service Report, and market briefs on select products. Attaché reports can be found at: http://www.fas.usda.gov/scriptsw/attacherep/default.asp. In recent years, many of the reports have been consolidated and are submitted as EU reports. We recommend that companies interested in the market covered by our Post also review the EU-27 reports.

Trade Data:

Please refer to: The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service's Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS). GATS includes international agricultural, fish, forest and textile products trade statistics dating from the inception of the Harmonized coding system in 1989 to present. Available at: http://www.fas.usda.gov/gats/default.aspx

Return to table of contents

Return to table of contents

Chapter 5: Trade Regulations, Customs and Standards

Import Tariffs Return to top

Upon its accession to the European Union on May 1, 2004, Poland became part of the EU customs union. This means that the same import duty rates are applicable in all member states. Tariff rates are contained in the European Union's Common External Tariff. Information on the customs duty rates is available from the Electronic Integrated Community Tariff (TARIC). U.S. exporters seeking to enter the Polish market can obtain useful information from the Office of European Union and Regional Affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Key Link:

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/customs_duties/tariff_aspects/customs_tariff/index_en.htm

Trade Barriers Return to top

All business entities operating in Poland (including foreign companies) have equal access to international trade. However, this access is subject to trade policy measures introduced by the EU, which Poland as a member is obliged to observe.

There are certain licensing requirements, not related to commercial policy, for trading in dual-use (i.e. both civil and military use) goods and technologies; in certain chemicals, particularly narcotic drugs and psychotropic’s; or in cultural goods.

Separate arrangements are applied to trade in certain agricultural products under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), including export/import licensing, quantitative restrictions, export refunds or preferential tariff arrangements. In Poland, licenses and permits for trading in goods that require such licenses or permits are issued by the Minister of Economy and, in the case of agricultural products, by the Agricultural Market Agency. For information on existing trade barriers, please see the 2013 National Trade Estimate Report (NTE) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), published by USTR and available through the following website: http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/press-office/reports-and-publications/2013;

Information on agricultural trade barriers can also be found at the following website: http://www.fas.usda.gov/posthome/useu/

To report existing or new trade barriers and get assistance in removing them, contact either the Trade Compliance Center at http://tcc.export.gov/or the U.S. Mission to the European Union at http://www.buyusa.gov/europeanunion or http://www.usda-eu.org/trade-with-the-eu/eu-import-rules/.

Import Requirements and Documentation Return to top

The TARIC (Tarif Intégré de la Communauté), described above, is available to help determine if a license is required for a particular product.

Many EU member states maintain their own list of goods subject to import licensing. For example, Poland's "Import List" includes goods for which licenses are required, their code numbers, any applicable restrictions, and the agency that will issue the relevant license. The Import List also indicates whether the license is required under Polish or EU law. The relevant bodies for issuing licenses for import of goods are: Ministry of Economy, Department of Trade Administration: tel: +48 22 693 55 53, e-mail: sekretariatDAO@mg.gov.pl for industrial goods and Agricultural Market Agency Foreign Trade Administration Department, tel: +48 22 661 71 33, e-mail: sekretariat_baotzz@arr.gov.pl for agricultural and food products. For information relevant to member state import licenses, please consult the relevant member state Country Commercial Guide: EU Member States' Country Commercial Guides or conduct a search on the Commerce Department’s Market Research Library, available from: http://www.export.gov/mrktresearch/index.asp

Import Documentation

The Single Administrative Document

The official model for written declarations to customs is the Single Administrative Document (SAD). Goods brought into the EU customs territory are, from the time of their entry, subject to customs supervision until customs formalities are completed. Goods are covered by a Summary Declaration which is filed once the items have been presented to customs officials. The customs authorities may, however, allow a period for filing the Declaration which cannot be extended beyond the first working day following the day on which the goods are presented to customs.

The Summary Declaration is filed by:

  • the person who brought the goods into the customs territory of the Community or by any person who assumes responsibility for carriage of the goods following such entry; or
  • the person in whose name the person referred to above acted.

The Summary Declaration can be made on a form provided by the customs authorities. However, customs authorities may also allow the use of any commercial or official document that contains the specific information required to identify the goods. The SAD serves as the EU importer's declaration. It encompasses both customs duties and VAT and is valid in all EU Member States. The declaration is made by whoever is clearing the goods, normally the importer of record or his/her agent.

European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries including Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein also use the SAD. Information on import/export forms is contained in Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2454/93, which lays down provisions for the implementation of the Community Customs Code (Articles 205 through 221). Articles 222 through 224 provide for computerized customs declarations and Articles 225 through 229 provide for oral declarations.

More information on the SAD can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/procedural_aspects/general/sad/

Non-EU goods presented to customs must be assigned a customs-approved treatment or use authorized for such non-Community goods. Where goods are covered by a summary declaration, the formalities for them to be assigned a customs-approved treatment or use must be carried out:

  • 45 days from the date on which the summary declaration is lodged in the case of goods carried by sea;
  • 20 days from the date on which the summary declaration is lodged in the case of goods carried other than by sea.

Where circumstances so warrant, the customs authorities may set a shorter period or authorize an extension.

The Modernized Customs Code (MCC) of the European Union is expected to be fully in place by June 2013. Some facets of the MCC have already been implemented including EU wide Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) numbers. The MCC replaces existing Regulation 2913/92 and simplifies various procedures such as introducing a paperless environment, centralized clearance, and more. Check the EU’s Customs website periodically for updates: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/procedural_aspects/general/community_code/index_en.htm

New U.S. - EU Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA)

Since 1997, the U.S. and the EU have had an agreement on customs cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters. For additional information, please see http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/policy_issues/international_customs_agreements/usa/index_en.htm

In 2012, the U.S. and the EU signed a new Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) aimed at matching procedures to associate one another’s customs identification numbers. The MCC introduced the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program (known as the “security amendment”). This is similar to the U.S.’ voluntary Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program in which participants receive certification as a “trusted” trader. AEO certification issued by a national customs authority is recognized by all member state’s customs agencies. An AEO is entitled to two different types of authorization: “customs simplification” or “security and safety”. The former allows for an AEO to benefit from simplifications related to customs legislation, while the latter allows for facilitation through security and safety procedures. Shipping to a trader with AEO status could facilitate an exporter’s trade as its benefits include expedited processing of shipments, reduced theft/losses, reduced data requirements, lower inspection costs, and enhanced loyalty and recognition.

The U.S. and the EU recognize each other’s security certified operators and will take the respective membership status of certified trusted traders favorably into account to the extent possible. The favorable treatment provided by mutual recognition will result in lower costs, simplified procedures and greater predictability for transatlantic business activities. The newly signed arrangement officially recognizes the compatibility of AEO and C-TPAT programs, thereby facilitating faster and more secure trade between U.S. and EU operators. The agreement is being implemented in two phases. The first commenced in July 2012 with the U.S. customs authorities placing shipments coming from EU AEO members into a lower risk category. The second phase will take place in 2013, with the EU re-classifying shipments coming from C-TPAT members into a lower risk category. The U.S. customs identification numbers (MID) are therefore recognized by customs authorities in the EU, as per Implementing Regulation 58/2013 (which amends EU Regulation 2454/93 cited above): http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/resources/documents/customs/procedural_aspects/general/implementing_regulation_58_2013_en.pdf

Additional information on the MRA can be found at:

http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/trade/cargo_security/ctpat/ctpat_program_information/international_efforts/eu_faq.ctt/eu_faq.pdf

Batteries

EU battery rules changed in September 2006 following the publication of the Directive on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators (Directive 2006/66). This Directive replaces the original Battery Directive of 1991 (Directive 91/157). The 2006 Directive applies to all batteries and accumulators placed on the EU market including automotive, industrial and portable batteries. It aims to protect the environment by restricting the sale of batteries and accumulators that contain mercury or cadmium (with an exemption for emergency and alarm systems, medical equipment and cordless power tools) and by promoting a high level of collection and recycling. It places the responsibility on producers to finance the costs associated with the collection, treatment, and recycling of used batteries and accumulators. The Directive also includes provisions on the labeling of batteries and their removability from equipment. For more information, see our market research report: http://www.buyusainfo.net/docs/x_4062262.pdf

REACH

REACH, "Registration, Evaluation and Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals”, is the system for controlling chemicals in the EU and it came into force in 2007 (Regulation 1907/2006). Virtually every industrial sector, from automobiles to textiles, is affected by this policy. REACH requires chemicals produced or imported into the EU in volumes above 1 ton per year to be registered with a central database handled by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Information on a chemical’s properties, its uses and safe ways of handling are part of the registration process. The next registration deadline is May 31, 2013: http://echa.europa.eu/web/guest/reach-2013. U.S. companies without a presence in Europe cannot register directly and must have their chemicals registered through their importer or EU-based ‘Only Representative of non-EU manufacturer’. A list of Only Representatives (ORs) can be found on the website of the U.S. Mission to the EU: http://export.gov/europeanunion/reachclp/index.asp

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) must be updated to be REACH compliant. For more information, see the guidance on the compilation of safety data sheets: http://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/17235/sds_en.pdf

U.S. exporters to the EU should carefully consider the REACH ‘Candidate List’ of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) and the Authorization List. Substances on the Candidate List are subject to communication requirements. Companies seeking to export products containing substances on the Authorization List will require an authorization. The Candidate List can be found at: http://echa.europa.eu/web/guest/candidate-list-table. The Authorization List is available at http://echa.europa.eu/addressing-chemicals-of-concern/authorisation/recommendation-for-inclusion-in-the-authorisation-list/authorisation-list

WEEE Directive

EU rules on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), while not requiring specific customs or import paperwork, may entail a financial obligation for U.S. exporters. The Directive requires U.S. exporters to register the products with a national WEEE authority or arrange for this to be done by a local partner. The WEEE Directive was revised on July 4, 2012. The revised WEEE Directive expands the scope of products covered to include all electrical and electronic equipment. The expanded scope will apply from August 14, 2018. U.S. exporters seeking more information on the WEEE Directive should visit: http://export.gov/europeanunion/weeerohs/index.asp

RoHS

The ROHS Directive imposes restrictions on the use of certain chemicals in electrical and electronic equipment. It does not require specific customs or import paperwork however, manufacturers must self-certify that their products are compliant. The Directive was revised in 2011 and entered into force on January 2, 2013. One important change with immediate effect is that RoHS is now a CE marking Directive. The revised Directive expands the scope of products covered during a transition period which ends on July 22, 2019. Once this transition period ends, the Directive will apply to medical devices, monitoring and control equipment in addition to all other electrical and electronic equipment. U.S. exporters seeking more information on the WEEE Directive should visit: http://export.gov/europeanunion/weeerohs/index.asp

Cosmetics Regulation

On November 30, 2009, the EU adopted a new regulation on cosmetic products which will apply from July 11, 2013. The new law introduces an EU-wide system for the notification of cosmetic products and a requirement that companies without a physical presence in the EU appoint an EU-based responsible person.

In addition, on March 11, 2013, the EU imposed a ban on the placement on the market of cosmetics products that contain ingredients that have been subject to animal testing. This ban does not apply retroactively but does capture new ingredients. Of note, in March 2013, the Commission published a Communication stating that this ban would not apply to ingredients where safety data was obtained from testing required under other EU legislation that did not have a cosmetic purpose. For more information on animal testing, see: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/sectors/cosmetics/animal-testing

For more general information, see:

http://export.gov/europeanunion/accessingeumarketsinkeyindustrysectors/eg_eu_044318.asp

Agricultural Documentation

Phytosanitary Certificates: Phytosanitary certificates are required for most fresh fruits, vegetables, and other plant materials.

Sanitary Certificates: For commodities composed of animal products or by-products, EU countries require that shipments be accompanied by a certificate issued by the competent authority of the exporting country. This applies regardless of whether the product is for human consumption, for pharmaceutical use, or strictly for non-human use (e.g., veterinary biologicals, animal feeds, fertilizers, research). The vast majority of these certificates are uniform throughout the EU, but the harmonization process is not complete. During this transition period, certain member state import requirements continue to apply. In addition to the legally required EU health certificates, a number of other certificates are used in international trade. These certificates, which may also be harmonized in EU legislation, certify origin for customs purposes and certain quality attributes. Up-to-date information on harmonized import requirements can be found at the following website: http://www.fas.usda.gov/posthome/Useu/certificates-overview.html

Sanitary Certificates (Fisheries)

In April 2006, the European Union declared the U.S. seafood inspection system as equivalent to the European one. Consequently, a specific public health certificate must accompany U.S. seafood shipments. Commission Decision 2006/199/EC lays down specific conditions on imports of fishery products from the U.S. Unlike for fishery products, the U.S. shellfish sanitation system is not equivalent to that of the EU’s. The EU and the U.S. are currently negotiating a veterinary equivalency agreement on shellfish. In the meantime, the EU still has a ban in place (since July 1, 2010), that prohibits the import of U.S. bivalve mollusks, in whatever form, into EU territory. This ban does not apply to wild roe-off scallops.

With the implementation of the second Hygiene Package, aquaculture products coming from the United States must be accompanied by a public health certificate according to Commission Decision 2006/199/EC and the animal health attestation included in the new fishery products certificate, covered by Regulation (EC) 1012/2012. This animal health attestation is not required in the case of live bivalve mollusks intended for immediate human consumption (retail).

Since June 2009, the unique U.S. competent authority for issuing sanitary certificates for fishery and aquaculture products is the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA-NMFS).

In addition to sanitary certificates, all third countries wishing to export fishery products to the EU are requested to provide a catch certificate. This catch certificate certifies that the products in question have been caught legally.

For detailed information on import documentation for seafood, please contact the NOAA Fisheries office at the U.S. Mission to the EU (stephane.vrignaud@trade.gov) or visit the following NOAA dedicated web site: http://www.seafood.nmfs.noaa.gov/EU_Export.html

U.S. Export Controls Return to top

A validated U.S. export license is required prior to shipping certain controlled commodities to Poland, as provided under the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security Commodity Control List. For more information and assistance, please contact BIS’s Office of Exporter Services at (202) 482-4811 or refer to BIS’s web site at http://www.bis.doc.gov.

Poland is a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement and has established its own export control regime for munitions and dual use commodities. That regime is managed by the Polish Ministry of Economy, Department of Economic Security.

Key link: http://www.mg.gov.pl/Kontakt/DBG

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is responsible for implementing and enforcing the Export Administration Regulations

(EAR), which regulate the export and re-export of some commercial items, including

“production” and “development” technology.

The items that BIS regulates are often referred to as “dual use” since they have both commercial and military applications. Further information on export controls is available at: http://www.bis.doc.gov/licensing/exportingbasics.htm

BIS has developed a list of "red flags," or warning signs, intended to discover possible violations of the EAR. These are posted at: http://www.bis.doc.gov/enforcement/redflags.htm

Also, BIS has "Know Your Customer" guidance at: http://www.bis.doc.gov/Enforcement/knowcust.htm

If there is reason to believe a violation is taking place or has occurred, report it to the

Department of Commerce by calling the 24-hour hotline at 1(800) 424-2980, or via the confidential lead page at: https://www.bis.doc.gov/forms/eeleadsntips.html

The EAR does not control all goods, services, and technologies. Other U.S. government agencies regulate more specialized exports. For example, the U.S. Department of State has authority over defense articles and services. A list of other agencies involved in export control can be found on the BIS web.

It is important to note that in August 2009, the President directed a broad-based interagency review of the U.S. export control system, with the goal of strengthening national security and the competitiveness of key U.S. manufacturing and technology sectors by focusing on current threats, as well as adapting to the changing economic and technological landscape. As a result, the Administration launched the Export Control Reform Initiative (ECR Initiative) which is designed to enhance U.S. national security and strengthen the United States’ ability to counter threats such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The Administration is implementing the reform in three phases. Phases I and II reconcile various definitions, regulations, and policies for export controls, all the while building toward Phase III, which will create a single control list, single licensing agency, unified information technology system, and enforcement coordination center.

For additional information on ECR see: http://export.gov/ecr/index.asp

BIS provides a variety of training sessions to U.S. exporters throughout the year. These

sessions range from one to two day seminars and focus on the basics of exporting as

well as more advanced topics. A list of upcoming seminars can be found at:

https://www.bis.doc.gov/seminarsandtraining/index.htm

For further details about the Bureau of Industry and Security and its programs, please visit the BIS website at: http://www.bis.doc.gov/

Temporary Entry Return to top

A permit is also required for the temporary import of goods, which takes place under the supervision of Polish customs officials. Written confirmation is required, stating that the goods will be sent from Poland on specific dates. A deposit is required for the import of the goods subject to clearance, which must equal the value of the goods to be exported or the total import customs duty and taxes. Commercial samples of zero or low value can usually be imported free of customs duty by means of a written statement to Polish customs confirming the value of the sample and that it will stay in the possession of the importing entity. Promotional materials must be clearly marked “no commercial value” in order to clear customs. Temporary imports may also enter Poland under an ATA Carnet.

Info on ATA Carnet: http://www.export.gov/logistics/eg_main_018129.asp

Labeling and Marking Requirements Return to top

An overview of EU mandatory and voluntary labeling and marking requirements has been compiled in a market research report that is available at: http://buyusainfo.net/docs/x_366090.pdf

Prohibited and Restricted Imports Return to top

The import of certain commodities into Poland is prohibited, usually as the result of international sanctions. A variety of goods and commodities are subject to import (and export) restrictions to protect the safety and lives of humans, animals and plants, safeguard national security, or to protect artistic, cultural or intellectual property. Examples would be restrictions and controls on the import of certain food products, drugs, pharmaceuticals, environmentally hazardous products, seeds, weapons, explosives, and antiques.

As an EU member, Poland adheres to EU-wide business directives and requires local market compliance.

There is an online customs tariff database, called TARIC, which is designed to show various rules applying to specific products being imported into the customs territory of the EU or, in some cases, when exported from it. To determine if a product is prohibited or subject to restriction, check the TARIC for that product for the following codes:

CITES Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species

PROHI Import Suspension

RSTR Import Restriction

For information on how to access the TARIC, see the Import Requirements and Documentation Section above.

Key Link:

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/customs_duties/tariff_aspects/customs_tariff/index_en.htm

Customs Regulations and Contact Information Return to top

Please consult the homepage of the Taxation and Customs Union Directorate (TAXUD) Website

Key link:

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/index_en.htm

The website of the Polish Customs Authorities is:

http://www.mf.gov.pl/en/customs-service/customs-service

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/personal_tax/savings_tax/contact_points/index_en.htm

Standards Return to top

Overview Return to top

Products tested and certified in the United States to American standards are likely to have to be retested and re-certified to EU requirements as a result of the EU’s different approach to the protection of the health and safety of consumers and the environment. Where products are not regulated by specific EU technical legislation, they are always subject to the EU’s General Product Safety Directive as well as to possible additional national requirements.

European Union legislation and standards created under the New Approach are harmonized across the member states and European Economic Area countries to allow for the free flow of goods. A feature of the New Approach is CE marking. For a list of new approach legislation, go to http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/newapproach/nando/index.cfm?fuseaction=directive.main.

The concept of new approach legislation is likely to disappear as the New Legislative Framework (NLF), which entered into force in January 2010, was put in place to serve as a blueprint for existing and future CE marking legislation. Since 2010/2011 existing legislation has been reviewed to bring them in line with the NLF concepts.

While harmonization of EU legislation can facilitate access to the EU Single Market, manufacturers should be aware that regulations (mandatory) and technical standards (voluntary) might also function as barriers to trade if U.S. standards are different from those of the European Union.

Agricultural Standards

The establishment of harmonized EU rules and standards in the food sector has been ongoing for several decades, but it took until January 2002 for the publication of a general food law establishing the general principles of EU food law. This Regulation introduced mandatory traceability throughout the feed and food chain as of Jan 1, 2005. For specific information on agricultural standards, please refer to the Foreign Agricultural Service’s website at: http://www.fas.usda.gov/posthome/useu/about.html

There are also export guides to import regulations and standards available on the Foreign Agricultural Service’s website: http://gain.fas.usda.gov/Lists/Advanced%20Search/AllItems.aspx

Standards Organizations Return to top

The Polish Committee for Standardization (PKN) is the only Polish body that creates standards. Since Poland joined the European Union, Polish standards have been adjusted to meet the EU Standards, a system based on greater harmonization with international standards in general. PKN sells standards documents electronically: https://sklep.pkn.pl/.

EU standards setting is a process based on consensus initiated by industry or mandated by the European Commission and carried out by independent standards bodies, acting at the national, European or international level. There is strong encouragement for non-governmental organizations, such as environmental and consumer groups, to actively participate in European standardization.

Many standards in the EU are adopted from international standards bodies such as the International Standards Organization (ISO). The drafting of specific EU standards is handled by three European standards organizations:

1. CENELEC, European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization

(http://www.cenelec.eu/ )

2. ETSI, European Telecommunications Standards Institute (http://www.etsi.org/)

3. CEN, European Committee for Standardization, handling all other standards

(http://www.cen.eu/cen/pages/default.aspx)

Standards are created or modified by experts in Technical Committees or Working Groups. The members of CEN and CENELEC are the national standards bodies of the member states, which have "mirror committees" that monitor and participate in ongoing European standardization. CEN and CENELEC standards are sold by the individual member states standards bodies. ETSI is different in that it allows direct participation in its technical committees from non-EU companies that have interests in Europe and gives away some of its individual standards at no charge on its website. In addition to the three standards developing organizations, the European Commission plays an important role in standardization through its funding of the participation in the standardization process of small- and medium-sized companies and non-governmental organizations, such as environmental and consumer groups. The Commission also provides money to the standards bodies when it mandates standards development to the European Standards Organization for harmonized standards that will be linked to EU technical legislation. Mandates – or requests for standards - can be checked on line at: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/european-standards/standardisation-requests/index_en.htm

Given the EU’s vigorous promotion of its regulatory and standards system as well as its generous funding for its development, the EU’s standards regime is wide and deep - extending well beyond the EU’s political borders to include affiliate members (countries which are hopeful of becoming full members in the future) such as Albania, Belarus, Israel, and Morocco among others. Another category, called "partner standardization body" includes the standards organization of Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan and Australia, which are not likely to become a CEN member or affiliate for political and geographical reasons.

To know what CEN and CENELEC have in the pipeline for future standardization, it is best to visit their websites. Other than their respective annual work plans, CEN’s "sectors" page provides an overview by sector and/or technical committee whereas CENELEC offers the possibility to search its database. ETSI’s portal (http://portal.etsi.org/Portal_Common/home.asp) leads to ongoing activities.

With the need to adapt more quickly to market needs, European standards organizations have been looking for "new deliverables" which are standard-like products delivered in a shorter timeframe. While few of these "new deliverables" have been linked to EU legislation, expectations are that they will eventually serve as the basis for EU-wide standards.

Key Link: http://www.cen.eu/cenorm/products/cwa/index.asp

The European Standardization system and strategy was reviewed in 2011 and 2012. The new standards regulation, adopted in November 2012, clarifies the relationship between regulations and standards and confirms the role of the three European standards bodies in developing EN harmonized standards. The emphasis is also on referencing international standards where possible. For information, communication and technology (ICT) products, the importance of interoperability standards has been recognized. Through a newly established mechanism, a “Platform Committee” reporting to the European Commission will decide which deliverables from fora and consortia might be acceptable for public procurement specifications. The European standards bodies have been encouraged to improve efficiency in terms of delivery and to look for ways to include more societal stakeholders in European standardization.

Key Link: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/european-standards/standardisation-policy/index_en.htm

NIST Notify U.S. Service

Member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are required under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement) to report to the WTO all proposed technical regulations that could affect trade with other Member countries. Notify U.S. is a free, web-based e-mail subscription service that offers an opportunity to review and comment on proposed foreign technical regulations that can affect your access to international markets. Register online at Internet URL:

http://www.nist.gov/notifyus/

Conformity Assessment Return to top

Conformity Assessment is a mandatory step for the manufacturer in the process of complying with specific EU legislation. The purpose of conformity assessment is to ensure consistency of compliance during all stages, from design to production, to facilitate acceptance of the final product. EU product legislation gives manufacturers some choice regarding conformity assessment, depending on the level of risk involved in the use of their product. These range from self-certification, type examination and production quality control system, to full quality assurance system. Conformity assessment bodies in individual member states are listed in NANDO, the European Commission’s website.

Key Link: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/newapproach/nando/

To promote market acceptance of the final product, there are a number of voluntary conformity assessment programs. CEN’s certification systems are the Keymark, the CENCER mark, and CEN workshop agreements (CWA) Certification Rules. CENELEC has its own initiative. ETSI does not offer conformity assessment services.

Product Certification Return to top

In Poland, the leading organization in testing and certification is the Polish Center for Testing and Certification (PCBC). With almost 50 years of experience, this organization also certifies management systems and trains personnel. PCBC is a member of many international and European organizations acting in the field of quality management, conformity assessment of products and systems and also training and certification of personnel. PCBC is the EU Notified Body No. 1434 for 11 New Approach Directives and it strives to extend its scope of notification.

The PCBC runs activities in the scope of:

− Certification of management systems (certificates of PCBC and IQNet);

− Conformity assessment of products and management systems according to notifications;

− Certification for voluntary marks: B, Q, EKO, Ecolabel;

− Certification of ecological farms;

− Certification of personnel;

− Testing of products;

− Organization of training and improvement of personnel in the field of quality (testing, certification, accreditation);

− International cooperation.

Key link: http://www.pcbc.gov.pl/english/

To sell products in the EU market of 27 member states – soon 28 (Croatia joins July 1, 2013) - as well as in Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, U.S. exporters are required to apply CE marking whenever their product is covered by specific product legislation. CE marking product legislation offers manufacturers a number of choices and requires decisions to determine which safety/health concerns need to be addressed, which conformity assessment module is best suited to the manufacturing process, and whether or not to use EU-wide harmonized standards. There is no easy way for U.S. exporters to understand and go through the process of CE marking, but hopefully this section provides some background and clarification.

Products manufactured to standards adopted by CEN, CENELEC and ETSI, and referenced in the Official Journal as harmonized standards, are presumed to conform to the requirements of EU Directives. The manufacturer then applies the CE marking and issues a declaration of conformity. With these, the product will be allowed to circulate freely within the EU. A manufacturer can choose not to use the harmonized EU standards, but then must demonstrate that the product meets the essential safety and performance requirements. Trade barriers occur when design, rather than performance, standards are developed by the relevant European standardization organization, and when U.S. companies do not have access to the standardization process through a European presence.

The CE marking addresses itself primarily to the national control authorities of the member states, and its use simplifies the task of essential market surveillance of regulated products. As market surveillance was found lacking, the EU adopted the New Legislative Framework, which went into force in 2010. As mentioned before, this framework is like a blueprint for all CE marking legislation, harmonizing definitions, responsibilities, European accreditation and market surveillance.

The CE marking is not intended to include detailed technical information on the product, but there must be enough information to enable the inspector to trace the product back to the manufacturer or the local contact established in the EU. This detailed information should not appear next to the CE marking, but rather on the declaration of conformity (which the manufacturer or authorized agent must be able to provide at any time, together with the product's technical file), or the documents accompanying the product.

Accreditation Return to top

Independent test and certification laboratories, known as notified bodies, have been officially accredited by competent national authorities to test and certify to EU requirements.

"European Accreditation" (http://www.european-accreditation.org) is an organization representing nationally recognized accreditation bodies. Membership is open to nationally recognized accreditation bodies in countries in the European geographical area that can demonstrate that they operate an accreditation system compatible with EN45003 or ISO/IEC Guide 58.

Publication of Technical Regulations Return to top

The Official Journal is the official publication of the European Union. It is published daily on the internet and consists of two series covering adopted legislation as well as case law, studies by committees, and more (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/JOIndex.do?ihmlang=en). It lists the standards reference numbers linked to legislation (http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/european-standards/harmonised-standards/index_en.htm ).

National technical Regulations are published on the Commission’s website http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/tris/index_en.htm to allow other countries and interested parties to comment.

NIST Notify U.S. Service

Member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are required under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement) to report to the WTO all proposed technical regulations that could affect trade with other Member countries. Notify U.S. is a free, web-based e-mail subscription service that offers an opportunity to review and comment on proposed foreign technical regulations that can affect your access to international markets. Register online at Internet URL:

http://www.nist.gov/notifyus/

Labeling and Marking Return to top

Manufacturers should be mindful that, in addition to the EU’s mandatory and voluntary schemes, national voluntary labeling schemes might still apply. These schemes may be highly appreciated by consumers, and thus, become unavoidable for marketing purposes.

Manufacturers are advised to take note that all labels require metric units although dual labeling is also acceptable. The use of language on labels has been the subject of a Commission Communication, which encourages multilingual information, while preserving the right of member states to require the use of the language of the country of consumption.

The EU has mandated that certain products be sold in standardized quantities. Council Directive 2007/45/EC harmonizes packaging of wine and spirits throughout the EU. Existing national sizes will be abolished with a few exceptions for domestic producers.

Key Link: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/legal-metrology-and-prepack/prepacked-products/index_en.htm

The Eco-label

The EU eco-label is a voluntary label which U.S. exporters can display on products that meet high standards of environmental awareness. The eco-label is intended to be a marketing tool to encourage consumers to purchase environmentally-friendly products. The criteria for displaying the eco-label are strict, covering the entire lifespan of the product from its manufacture, use, and disposal. These criteria are reviewed every three to five years to take into account advances in manufacturing procedures. There are currently 30 different product groups, and approximately 1,300 licenses have been awarded for several hundred products.

Applications to display the eco-label should be directed to the competency body of the member state in which the product is sold. The application fee will be somewhere between €300 and €1,300 depending on the tests required to verify if the product is eligible. The eco-label also carries an annual fee equal to 0.15% of the annual volume of sales of the product range within the European community. However, the minimum annual fee is currently set at €500 and maximum €25,000.

There are plans to significantly reform the eco-label in the near future, reducing the application and annual fees and expanding the product ranges significantly. It is also possible that future eligibility criteria may take into account carbon emissions.

Key Links:

Eco-label Home Page

Contacts Return to top

U.S. Mission to the E.U.

U.S. Commercial Service -CSEU

Zinnerstraat 13 Rue Zinner

BE-1000 Brussels

Fax: 32 2 513 1228

Sylvia Mohr – Standards Specialist

sylvia.mohr@trade.gov

Tel: + 32 2 811 50 01

Fax: + 32 2 811 41 00

CEN – European Committee for Standardization

http://www.cen.eu/cenorm/homepage.htm

CENELEC – European Committee for Electro technical Standardization

http://www.cenelec.eu/

ETSI - European Telecommunications Standards Institute

http://www.etsi.org/WebSite/homepage.aspx

European Commission – Enterprise and Industry:

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/standards_policy/index_en.htm

EFTA – European Free Trade Association

http://www.efta.int/

NORMAPME – European Office of Crafts Trades and Small and Medium-Sized

http://www.normapme.com/

ANEC - European Association for the Co-ordination of Consumer Representation in Standardization

http://www.anec.org/anec.asp

ECOS – European Environmental Citizens Organization for Standardization

Brussels Sustainable House

rue d’Edimbourg 26,

B-1050 Brussels, Belgium

Tel: +32 2 894 46 68 (switchboard)
Fax: + 32 2 894 46 10

Email: info@ecostandard.org

http://www.ecostandard.org/

EOTA – European Organization for Technical Approvals (for construction products)

Kunstlaan Avenue des Arts 40

B – 1040 Brussels, Belgium

Tel: 32 2 502 69 00

Fax: 32 2 502 38 14

Email: info@eota.be

http://www.eota.be/

Trade Agreements Return to top

For a list of trade agreements with the EU and its member states, as well as concise explanations, please see http://tcc.export.gov/Trade_Agreements/index.asp

Web Resources Return to top

EU websites:

Online customs tariff database (TARIC):

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/customs_duties/tariff_aspects/customs_tariff/index_en.htm

The Modernized Community Customs Code MCCC):

http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/customs/do0001_en.htm

ECHA: http://echa.europa.eu

Taxation and Customs Union:

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/index_en.htm

Security and Safety Amendment to the Customs Code - Regulation (EC) 648/2005:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2005:117:0013:0019:en:PDF

Electronic Customs Initiative: Decision N° 70/2008/EC

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2008:023:0021:0026:EN:PDF

Modernized Community Customs Code Regulation (EC) 450/2008):

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2008:145:0001:0064:EN:PDF

Legislation related to the Electronic Customs Initiative:

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/policy_issues/electronic_customs_initiative/electronic_customs_legislation/index_en.htm

Export Help Desk

http://exporthelp.europa.eu/thdapp/index_en.html

International Level:

What is Customs Valuation?

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/customs_duties/declared_goods/european/index_en.htm

Customs and Security:  Two communications and a proposal for amending the Community Customs Code

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/policy_issues/customs_security/index_en.htm

Establishing the Community Customs Code: Regulation (EC) n° 648/2005 of 13 April 2005

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2005:117:0013:0019:en:PDF

Pre Arrival/Pre Departure Declarations:

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/procedural_aspects/general/prearrival_predeparture/index_en.htm

AEO: Authorized Economic Operator

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/policy_issues/customs_security/aeo/index_en.htm

Contact Information at National Customs Authorities:

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/personal_tax/savings_tax/contact_points/index_en.htm

New Approach Legislation: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/newapproach/nando/index.cfm?fuseaction=directive.main

Cenelec, European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization:

http://www.cenelec.eu/

ETSI, European Telecommunications Standards Institute:

http://www.etsi.org/

CEN, European Committee for Standardization, handling all other standards:

http://www.cen.eu/cen/Pages/default.aspx

Standardization – Mandates:

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/european-standards/standardisation-requests/index_en.htm

 

ETSI – Portal – E-Standardization :

http://portal.etsi.org/Portal_Common/home.asp

CEN – Sector

http://www.cen.eu/cenorm/sectors/index.asp

CEN - Standard Search

http://esearch.cen.eu/esearch/

Nando (New Approach Notified and Designated Organizations) Information System:

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/newapproach/nando/

Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs):

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/newapproach/nando/index.cfm?fuseaction=mra.main

 European Co-operation for Accreditation:

http://www.european-accreditation.org/home

Eur-Lex – Access to European Union Law:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/en/index.htm

Standards Reference Numbers linked to Legislation:

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/european-standards/harmonised-standards/index_en.htm

What’s New

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/news/index_en.htm

National technical Regulations

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/tris/index_en.htm

NIST - Notify U.S.:

http://www.nist.gov/notifyus/

Metrology, Pre-Packaging – Pack Size:

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/legal-metrology-and-prepack/prepacked-products/index_en.htm

European Union Eco-label Homepage:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/ecolabel/

EU Marking, Labeling and Packaging – An Overview

http://buyusainfo.net/docs/x_366090.pdf

The European Union Eco-Label:

http://buyusainfo.net/docs/x_4284752.pdf

Eco-Label Catalogue: http://www.eco-label.com/default.htm

U.S. websites:

National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers:

http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/press-office/reports-and-publications/2012-1

Agricultural Trade Barriers:

http://www.fas.usda.gov/posthome/Useu/

Trade Compliance Center:

http://tcc.export.gov/

U.S. Mission to the European Union:

http://useu.usmission.gov/

The New EU Battery Directive:

http://www.buyusainfo.net/docs/x_8086174.pdf

The Latest on REACH:

http://export.gov/europeanunion/reachclp/index.asp

WEEE and RoHS in the EU:

http://export.gov/europeanunion/weeerohs/index.asp

Overview of EU Certificates:

www.fas.usda.gov/gainfiles/200605/146187632.doc

Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

http://www.fda.gov/Food/default.htm
 

Trade Agreements

http://tcc.export.gov/Trade_Agreements/index.asp

Polish Websites:

Polish Ministry of Economy, Export Control Department: www.mg.gov.pl

Ministry of Finance: http://www.mf.gov.pl/

Polish Center for Accreditation http://www.pca.gov.pl/english/

Polish Center for Testing and Certification (PCBC) http://www.pcbc.gov.pl/english/

Polish Committee for Standardization: http://www.pkn.pl

International cooperation (PKN): http://www.pkn.pl/?pid=en_int_cooperation

Return to table of contents

Return to table of contents

Chapter 6: Investment Climate

Openness to Foreign Investment Return to top

Information on European Foreign Investment can be found in the EU Country Commercial Guide (CCG).

Foreign investment has been at the center of Poland’s economic transformation since 1989. It is broadly welcomed not only as a source of finance, but also as a means of technology transfer, human resource development, and Polish integration into global supply chains and R&D. Since 1990, according to National Bank of Poland data, Poland has attracted an estimated $200 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI), principally from Western Europe and the United States. Investors report they are attracted to Poland’s young, well educated, low-cost work force; its proximity to major markets; its membership in the European Union (EU); its political stability; its strong economic performance in turbulent times; and its long-term growth prospects. Foreign companies invest largely, though not exclusively, to service Poland’s dynamic local market of over 37 million people and the larger European market of nearly 500 million. Foreign companies generally enjoy unrestricted access to the Polish market. However, Polish law limits foreign ownership of companies in selected strategic sectors, and still limits foreign acquisition of real estate, especially agricultural land.

Poland ranked 55 in the World Bank’s “Doing Business 2013” report, a remarkable improvement from 74th place a year earlier. Poland was the global top improver in the past year. It enhanced the ease of doing business by making it easier to register property, pay taxes, enforce contracts, and resolve insolvency. The report noted, however, that Poland's complex tax system and business regulations remain burdensome, particularly in relation to new business formation. UNCTAD’s survey of trans-national corporations, the 2012 World Investment Report, ranked Poland as the fourteenth most mentioned country as an FDI destination.

Poland has introduced a series of reforms in recent years to improve the climate for foreign and domestic investment. In 2012, the government submitted to the parliament draft laws liberalizing access to some professions and improving the accounting of the value-added tax. In July 2011, the Act Limiting Administrative Barriers for Citizens and Businesses went into effect, introducing a series of measures designed to diminish the burden of Poland's state bureaucracy. In 2007-2010, telecommunication regulations were relaxed, the foreign exchange law was simplified, tax regulations were improved, new acts shaping public-private partnerships came into force, starting and closing a business and registering property became easier, and positive changes appeared on the labor market. In 2012, Poland simplified and strengthened its administrative and legal framework for handling both insolvency and bankruptcy, including amending its bankruptcy law to simplify court procedures and extend more rights to secured creditors. Work to improve the administration of real estate registers and the public procurement law continued, and national and local governments made substantial progress in implementing a “zero-stop shop” process of enabling online new business registration. Despite these reforms, many foreign investors complained of an overly burdensome regulatory environment. To address this issue, Prime Minister Donald Tusk appointed a plenipotentiary for deregulation in November 2011. In late 2012, PM Tusk announced his support for the creation of a permanent parliamentary commission to accelerate the deregulation process in Poland.

EU Integration

Adoption of EU legislation induced the government to restrict its intervention in the private sector. Changes in regulations affecting areas such as financial markets, company and competition law, accounting, and intellectual property rights have created a better environment for business.

When it acceded to the EU in 2004, Poland committed to adopt the Euro at an unspecified future date. The global economic crisis postponed Prime Minister Tusk’s initial plan to bring Poland into the Euro zone in 2012. Though no new date has been set, government officials continue to confirm their willingness to adopt the common currency at some point. Changes in the Euro zone’s financial architecture in 2012 stimulated increased discussion of Poland's timetable for Euro adoption. Polish officials indicate the government will encourage public debate and will formally consider clarifying Poland's Euro adoption plans in 2013.

EU membership resulted in an influx of billions of Euros in new financial resources such as structural funds and cohesion funds, which are used to support investments in transport infrastructure, environmental protection, and new production technologies. Access to EU funds helped Poland avoid recession during the recent financial crisis. Poland has been among the fastest-growing economies in the EU in recent years, with 3.9% growth in 2010 and 4.3% in 2011. In 2012, economic growth slowed to just over 2%, signaling that Poland is not immune to the Euro zone crisis, even though it is still growing faster than the EU average.

Major Laws and Regulations

The basic legal framework for establishing and operating companies in Poland, including companies with foreign investors, is found in the Commercial Companies Code which entered into force in January 2001, and the Law on Freedom of Economic Activity, which entered into force in July 2004.

With few exceptions, foreign investors are guaranteed national treatment. Companies that did not have any subsidiary established in an EU country before May 1, 2004, but that conduct, or plan to commence business operations in Poland must observe all EU regulations, and may not be able to benefit from all privileges to which EU companies are entitled.

Under the amended 2000 Commercial Companies Code, companies can be established as joint-stock companies, limited liability companies, or partnerships (e.g., limited joint-stock partnerships, professional partnerships). These corporate forms are available to foreign investors who come from an EU or European Free Trade Area (EFTA) member state. They are also available to investors who are based in a country, such as the United States, that offers reciprocity to Polish enterprises. Foreign investors without permanent residence and the right to work in Poland may be restricted from participating in day-to-day Polish operations of a company.

Starting in 2014, the government is expected to introduce amendments to the corporate income tax (CIT), which will treat limited joint-stock partnerships the same as corporations (subjecting their income to CIT on a current basis). This may make limited joint-stock partnerships less advantageous as vehicles for investment than other limited or general partnership structures.

According to the Law on the National Court Register of October 1997, all companies, commercial partnerships, and sole proprietorships must be registered in the Register of Entrepreneurs, a part of the district court-managed National Court Register. The Register of Entrepreneurs is a public document. Post is unaware of any laws or regulations specifically authorizing private firms to adopt articles of incorporation or association which limit or prohibit foreign investment, participation, or control.

Foreign businesses can open branches in Poland under the provisions of the Law on Freedom of Economic Activity. Many of the requirements and procedures for opening a secondary establishment are the same as for starting up a business. The law specifies certain situations in which registration may be refused (e.g., if required documents are not submitted on time or on national security grounds).

Under the Law on Freedom of Economic Activity, branch offices are registered in the National Court Register under the name of the foreign investor, with the notation "branch in Poland." A branch office can perform any activity within the scope of business of the parent foreign investor that established the branch. In contrast, representative offices must limit their activities to promotion and advertising for the parent foreign investor. The Ministry of Economy keeps a special log of registered representative offices.

Since 2012, applicants have the ability to register a limited liability company in 24 hours. This requires filling out an e-form (a simplified deed of the company), signing it with an electronic signature, and sending it to the registry court via internet. An e-platform with records of all economic activity entities (Central Registration and Information for Economic Activity) was launched in July 2011. It is available at: https://prod.ceidg.gov.pl/ceidg.cms.engine/

Screening and Licensing

Poland does not have any general screening mechanism for foreign firms’ entry and establishment of businesses. Authorization requirements and foreign equity limits do exist for a limited number of sectors, such as broadcasting and air transport. According to the June 2004 Law on Freedom of Economic Activity a permit from the Treasury Ministry is required for certain major capital transactions (i.e., to establish a company when a wholly or partially domestically owned enterprise is contributed in-kind to a company with foreign ownership). A permit from the Treasury Ministry is also required to lease assets to or from a state-owned enterprise. Licenses and concessions for defense production and management of seaports are granted on the basis of national treatment for investors from OECD countries. Polish law limits non-EU citizens to 49% ownership of a company’s capital shares in the air transport and the radio and television broadcasting sectors. Waivers of this restriction are not available. In the insurance sector, at least two members of management boards, including the chairman, must speak Polish. In the broadcasting sector, the number of Polish citizens on supervisory and management boards must be greater than the number of foreigners.

According to the June 2004 Law on Freedom of Economic Activity, businesses may be required to obtain governmental concessions, licenses, or permits to engage in certain activities. Sectors in which concessions are required include broadcasting, aviation, energy, weapons/military equipment, mining, and private security services. Amendments to the law in 2008 and 2010 replaced the requirement in some sectors to obtain a permit or concession with a requirement for a business to be entered into the “regulated activity register.” Such regulated activities include telecom, postal, and courier services; manufacturing of tobacco products; and manufacturing and bottling of alcohol and wine. On January 1, 2013, the market of postal services in Poland was considerably liberalized as the new Postal Law, implementing the European Parliament’s Postal Directive 2008/6/WE, entered into force.

Poland’s anti-trust authority, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK), reviews investment and merger transactions for competition-related concerns. Its mandate covers transactions of a magnitude which influences, or may influence, the Polish market. Pursuant to the 2007 Act on Competition and Consumer Protection, the participants of the planned transaction must obtain UOKiK’s prior clearance when their turnover in the year preceding the application exceeded either €1 billion globally or €50 million in Poland. The law provides for situations in which this obligation to notify UOKiK is waived (e.g., where the turnover in Poland of the target enterprise did not exceed the equivalent of €10 million in Poland in any of the two financial years preceding the notification, or if the merger involves entities belonging to one capital group). A merger or acquisition may be cleared subject to certain terms and conditions, for example the divestment of some of the assets. UOKiK may impose a fine of up to 10% of previous year’s revenue, if an enterprise, even unintentionally, carries out a merger or acquisition without obtaining prior consent. Furthermore, if this merger proved to have been anti-competitive, additional sanctions may be applied.

Limits on Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land and Real Estate

According to Polish law, land is available to non-Polish citizens for ownership with some restrictions. Since EU accession in 2004, foreign citizens from EU member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland do not need permission to purchase non-agricultural real estate, or to acquire or receive shares in a company owning non-agricultural real estate in Poland. These foreign citizens are still subject to restrictions on the acquisition of Polish agricultural land, however. Under the terms of its accession to the EU, Poland will remove nearly all of these restrictions for this category of foreign citizen by the end of a transition period lasting until May 2016.

Citizens from countries other than the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland are allowed to purchase an apartment, 0.4 hectares (4,000 square meters) of urban land without restriction, or up to one-half hectare of agricultural land with restriction. For large commercial real estate purchases, this category of foreign citizen must obtain a permit from the Ministry of Interior (with the consent of the Defense and Agriculture Ministries), pursuant to the Act on Acquisition of Real Estate by Foreigners. A foreign business intending to buy real estate in Poland may apply for a provisional permit from the Ministry of Interior, which is valid for two years from the date of issue, during which time the company is expected to assemble documents demonstrating it is a viable business. Permits may be refused for reasons of social policy or public security.

A second form of land title is the perpetual lease, under which the lease holder generally controls the property for up to 99 years, and which can be extended for up to 99 additional years. Such a perpetual tenant has the right to dispose of its interest in the land by sale, gift, or bequest. Companies report that procedures to acquire real estate are transparent and that the process is not burdensome. Foreigners can (and do) lease agricultural land, but restrictions apply to both perpetual lease agreements and outright purchases.

In December 2011, Poland amended the Land Law to spur disposition rather than lease of state-owned agricultural property. Current tenants of property exceeding 300 hectares have been given the option to purchase up to 70% of one contiguous property under lease, upon lease expiry. The remaining 30% and any additional leased state-owned agricultural land would revert back to the government upon lease expiry. No lease will be renewed for that tenant. The purchase option was opened to foreign lease holders subject to restriction during the transition period through May 1, 2016, and provided they obtain a permit to purchase agricultural land from the Ministry of Interior. As of January 2013, approximately one million hectares of state-owned agricultural property remained under the Agricultural Land Agency’s direct management, with an additional 1.6 million hectares under lease to private entities.

Privatization Program

With relatively few exceptions, the Polish government has invited foreign investors to participate in major privatization projects. In general, bidding criteria have been clear and the process has been transparent. The government intends to complete its twenty-year program of privatization of state enterprises in 2013. Some commentators have expressed concern about the level of foreign ownership of the Polish economy, especially in the banking sector, where foreign-controlled banks hold over 60% of assets. In 2011, the National Bank Supervisory board (KNF) began a program to provide loans to Polish institutions, including some that are partially state-owned, to buy foreign-owned banks. This program, which had not yet resulted in any transactions aims to increase domestic ownership of banks operating in Poland.

Discrimination against Foreign Investors

Generally, the law treats foreign and domestic investors equally, both at the time of initial investment and after an investment has been made. In the past, there have been complaints about discrimination in public procurement contracts resulting from provisions in legislation favoring domestic firms. Since May 2004, all public authorities must apply the Public Procurement Law of January 2004, as amended by the November 2007 consolidated Act on Public Procurement, when selecting suppliers and service providers in public contracts. Under this law, a joint venture between foreign and domestic firms qualifies as "domestic" for procurement considerations. On joining the EU, Poland acceded to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement.

Poland ranks as the 41st least corrupt country in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) out of 176 countries worldwide.

Measure

Year

Index/Ranking

TI Corruption Index

2012

Rank 41 of 176

Heritage Economic Freedom

2012

Freedom Score 64.2 (+0.1 from 2011) Rank 64 of 179

World Bank Doing Business

2012

Rank 55of 185

Note: Poland is not on the MCC (Millennium Challenge Corporation) list.

Source: http://www.transparency.org/
http://www.doingbusiness.org/rankings
/
http://www.heritage.org/index/country/poland

Conversion and Transfer Policies Return to top

Europe's single currency, the euro, and the remaining national EU Member State currencies are freely convertible. The EU, like the U.S., places virtually no restrictions on capital movements. Article 63 TFEU specifically prohibits restrictions on the movement of capital and payments between Member States and between Member States and third countries, although article 64 allows for exceptions in certain circumstances, a fact which formed the basis of the ECJ case referenced above under “Lisbon Treaty Impact”. The adoption of the euro in 17 of the EU Member States has shifted currency management and control of monetary policy in those countries to the European Central Bank (ECB).

Foreign exchange is widely available through commercial banks as well as exchange offices. Payments and remittances in convertible currency may be made and received through a bank authorized to engage in foreign exchange transactions, and most banks have such authorization. Foreign investors have not complained of any significant difficulties or delays in remitting investment returns such as dividends, return of capital, interest and principal on private foreign debt, lease payments, royalties, or management fees.

Foreign currencies can freely be used for settling accounts.

Poland has not yet adopted the Euro as its monetary unit, the Polish zloty is official currency in Poland.

Poland provides full IMF Article VIII convertibility for current transactions. The October 1, 2002, Polish Foreign Exchange Law, as amended, fully conforms to the OECD Codes of Liberalization of Capital Movements and Current Invisible Operations.

The Foreign Exchange Law distinguishes between residents and non-residents. It defines residents as natural persons whose center of vital (economic or personal) interests is in Poland or individuals who spend more than 183 days in a tax (calendar) year in the country; companies having their registered office in Poland; and non-resident-created branches, representative offices, and enterprises within the territory of Poland. However, provisions of an applicable tax treaty may limit Poland’s ability to tax this income. Under the Law, non-residents include: natural persons with foreign residence; companies seated outside Poland; and branches, representative offices, and enterprises created by residents outside the territory of Poland.

Countries that are members of the European Economic Area (EEA) or OECD are accorded the same treatment as countries that are members of the EU. In general, foreign exchange transactions with the EU, OECD, and EEA countries are not restricted.

Except in limited cases which require a permit, a foreigner may convert or transfer currency to make payments abroad for goods or services and also may transfer abroad his share of after-tax profit from operations in Poland. Foreign investor capital within Poland may be freely withdrawn from Poland in instances of liquidation, expropriation, or decrease in capital share. Full repatriation of profits and dividend payments is allowed without obtaining a permit. However, a Polish company (including a Polish subsidiary of a foreign company) must file and pay withholding taxes with the Polish tax authorities on any distributable dividends unless a double taxation treaty is in effect. A double taxation treaty is in place between Poland and the United States, but an updated bilateral tax treaty is expected to be signed at the beginning of 2013. The new treaty is meant to replace the existing agreement and conform to the OECD Model Tax Convention on Income and on Capital.

Foreign exchange regulations require non-bank entities dealing in foreign exchange or acting as a currency exchange bureau to submit reports electronically to the National Bank of Poland (NBP) at http://sprawozdawczosc.nbp.pl/. An exporter may open foreign exchange accounts in the currency it chooses.

Poland does not prohibit remittance through legal parallel markets utilizing convertible negotiable instruments (such as dollar-denominated Polish bonds in lieu of immediate payment in dollars). As a practical matter, however, such payment methods are rarely, if ever, used.

Expropriation and Compensation Return to top

The European Union does not have the authority to expropriate property; this remains the exclusive competence of the Member States.

Article 21 of the Polish Constitution states: "expropriation is admissible only for public purposes and upon equitable compensation." The Law on Land Management and Expropriation of Real Estate provides that property may be expropriated only in accordance with statutory provisions such as those concerning construction of public works, national security considerations, or other specified cases of public interest. The government must pay full compensation at market value for the expropriated property.

Dispute Settlement Return to top

Foreign investors can, and do, take disputes against Member State governments directly to local courts. In addition, any violation of a right guaranteed under EU law - which has supremacy over Member State law, can be heard in local courts or addressed directly to the European Court of Justice by a foreign investor with a presence in a Member State. Further, all EU Member States are members of the World Bank's International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), and most have consented to ICSID arbitration of investment disputes arising under individual bilateral investment treaties. While the EU is not itself a party to ICSID or other similar arbitration conventions, it has stated its willingness to have investment disputes subject to international arbitration. Regulation No 1219/2012 of the European Parliament and the Council adopted 12 December 2012 (see link in paragraph eight) foresees that if a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) falls within the scope of that Regulation, the Member State is, under Art 13(c), obliged to "seek the agreement of the Commission before activating any relevant mechanisms for dispute settlement against a third country included in the bilateral investment agreement and shall, where requested by the Commission, activate such mechanisms." The article further states that "those mechanisms shall include consultations with the other party to a bilateral investment agreement and dispute settlement where provided for in the agreement," and that "the Member State and the Commission shall fully cooperate in the conduct of procedures within the relevant mechanisms, which may include, where appropriate, the participation in the relevant procedures by the Commission."

Until recently, investment disputes were common, often involving state-owned enterprises, difficulties obtaining permits, or heavy-handed government regulatory actions. In the last several years, however, the sale of state-owned enterprises, the government's move toward full adoption of EU regulations, and the passage of legislation more clearly defining the role of the state in economic activity have led to a reduction in the number of investment disputes.

Legal System

The Polish legal system is code-based and prosecutorial. The judiciary acts independently. The Polish judicial system generally upholds the sanctity of contracts. Monetary judgments are usually made in local currency. Generally, foreign firms are wary of the slow and over-burdened Polish court system, preferring to rely on other means to defend their rights. Contracts involving foreign parties frequently include a clause specifying that disputes will be resolved in a third-country court or through offshore arbitration. The Ministry of Justice continues work to simplify court procedures and ensure timely court proceedings.

Poland's Bankruptcy Law provides a company’s creditors or its governing bodies (i.e., its Board of Directors or another body, depending on the corporate form of the debtor) may file declarations of bankruptcy. Creditors of an insolvent company must file a claim in writing. The Creditors Preliminary Assembly has the right to decide, at the initial stage of the bankruptcy process, whether a workout agreement is possible or whether assets of a bankrupt company should be liquidated. Liabilities are repaid in the following order: cost of legal proceedings; employee remuneration; liabilities to the State and Social Security Fund (ZUS) secured by a mortgage or pledge; other liabilities secured by mortgages or pledges; other taxes and other public liabilities; other liabilities. The Mortgage Banking Act of 1997 and the Law on Registered Pledges and Pledge Registry of 1997 (with later amendments) protect qualified mortgagors and secured creditors against subsequent tax liens and other secured and unsecured claims. Amendments to the Act on Land and Mortgage Registers and Mortgages came into effect in February 2011, broadening the opportunities to use mortgages as a means of security and simplifying mortgage proceedings. In 2012, Poland strengthened its insolvency process by updating guidelines on the information and documents that need to be included in the bankruptcy petition and by granting secured creditors the right to take over claims encumbered with financial pledges in case of liquidation.

Arbitration

A permanent arbitration tribunal to settle disputes arising from international commercial activities operates through the Polish Chamber of Commerce. There is a number of arbitration bodies associated with chambers representing various sectors of the economy, employers’ confederations, or local chambers of commerce. It is also possible to appoint ad-hoc conciliatory tribunals to settle a particular dispute.

Arbitration body decisions are not automatically enforceable in Poland; they must be confirmed in a Polish court. Under the Polish Civil Code, local courts accept and enforce judgments of foreign courts. Poland is party to four international agreements on dispute resolution, with the Ministry of Finance acting as the government's representative:

1. The 1923 Geneva Protocol on Arbitration Clauses

2. The 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards

3. The 1961 Geneva European Convention on International Trade Arbitration

4. The 1972 Moscow Convention on Arbitration Resolution of Civil Law Disputes in Economic and Scientific Cooperation

Poland is not a party to the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (Washington Convention).

Performance Requirements and Incentives Return to top

European Union grant and subsidy programs are generally available only for nationals and companies based in the EU, but usually on a national treatment basis. For more information, see Chapter 7 “Trade and Project Financing” in the EU Country Commercial Guide as well as individual Country Commercial Guides for Member State practices.

Poland has not notified the WTO of any measures it maintains that are inconsistent with its obligations under the TRIMS Agreement.

Poland generally does not impose performance requirements for establishing or maintaining an investment.

In April 2002, the Polish Parliament passed a law addressing financial support for investments, which stipulates that a company investing in Poland, either foreign or domestic, may receive assistance from the Polish government. A number of incentives are potentially available to foreign investors in Poland:

  • Income tax and real estate tax exemption in Special Economic Zones (SEZ);
  • Investment grants of up to 50% (70% for small- or medium-sized enterprises) of investment costs;
  • Grants for research and development;
  • Grants for other activities, such as environmental protection, training, logistics, or creating renewable energy sources;
  • Potential partial forgiveness of commercial debt owed to a state-owned bank incurred for the acquisition of technology; and
  • Varying incentives related to acquiring or developing new technology.

Regulations on special economic zones and on public assistance to entrepreneurs provide the basis for exemptions from income tax or other incentives. The amount of assistance (e.g., tax exemptions, grants, etc.) available to investments outside of SEZs varies from region to region. The government produces a "regional aid map" which specifies an assistance ceiling for each region, expressed as a percentage of a project's new investment or employment costs. In case of investment projects not exceeding €50 million, the ceiling may be increased by 20% for small companies and 10% for medium-sized companies. The regional ceilings on aid for 2007-2013 are:

Region

Regional Aid Ceiling (% of Investment Cost)

Warsaw

30%

Mazovia region

30%

Pomerania, West Pomerania, Upper and Lower Silesia, and Wielkopolska

40%

Other regions of Poland

50%

Large investments that the government considers crucial for the Polish economy may qualify for the “Program to support investments of high importance to the Polish economy for 2011-2020,” which the government adopted on July 5, 2011. Unlike the previous multi-annual support program, this program does not permit combining different types of aid--such as employment grants, tax exemptions, and preferential land prices--unless the government gives explicit consent. The new program for granting support to strategic sectors/branches (e.g., the auto industry, electronics, civil aviation, bio-technology, modern business services, and R&D) in the years 2011-2020 has a budget of PLN 727 million ($214 million). This program is also open to businesses planning new investments in production other than within the above mentioned sectors, provided the project's value is at least PLN 1.0 billion ($300 million) and it creates at least 500 new jobs. At the end of 2012, Poland’s Economy Ministry presented an outline of a plan to attract foreign investors from key sectors to regions with high unemployment rates with “strategic investments” grants. The plan proposes giving larger, but fewer, grants to investors in these regions.

The level of tax or other investment incentives is based on the relative prosperity of the region where the investment is made, the size of the investment, the number of jobs created, and the sector of the economy involved. Strategic investors may obtain an exemption from or reduction in real estate tax, as well as additional local incentives. All such exemptions must be negotiated with local authorities.

Offset Requirements

The Polish government imposes offset requirements on some defense-related contracts in order to ensure that foreign suppliers help the restructuring and development of the Polish economy, and in particular the defense industry. Offsets are also meant to promote Polish exports, facilitate technology transfer, and develop Polish universities and R&D centers.

Legislation adopted in 1999 and the Regulation of the Council of Ministers of May 18, 2007, governs the imposition of “compensation agreements” concluded in connection with contracts for deliveries of armaments or military equipment from a foreign supplier. Such offset agreements are obligatory for contracts exceeding €5 million from a single foreign supplier within three consecutive years.

Foreign Participation in Government-Financed Research

The government allows foreign firms’ participation in government-funded research and development projects of the National Center for Research and Development (NCRD) and the National Science Center (NSC). Foreign companies have not participated in any such projects to date; however, NCRD initiated in November 2012, a $150 million program called “BRIDGE VC: Research, Development, Innovation with the participation of venture capital funds,” which permits commercial partners to participate in the early stages of public research projects. Thanks to this program national and foreign companies will be able to cooperate on commercializing scientific knowledge and know-how. At present, foreign capital (including American) backs over 100 R&D institutions. Of these institutions, 56 are fully foreign-owned and are carrying out research across various sectors of the economy.

Foreign Participation in Privately-Financed Research

Outside the government’s effort to facilitate entry of venture capital through government-financed projects led by the NCRD and NSC, foreign firms can invest in research and development projects involving non-strategic fields, subject to applicable requirements related to permitting, licensing, and registering as a Polish legal entity.

Visa and Work Permit Requirements

Foreign investors can and do bring personnel to Poland. With some exceptions, foreign workers must have a work visa. All EU citizens are free to work in Poland without first obtaining a work permit. In addition, Poland has opened its labor market to workers from member countries of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA).

On February 1, 2009, amended regulations on employment of foreigners entered into force, simplifying procedures and reducing the paperwork needed to employ foreigners.

Citizens from Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Russia, and certain other countries may work temporarily (up to six months per year) in Poland without a permit. However, Polish employers must submit written statements of their intention to employ foreigners.

U.S. citizens continue to be subject to Poland's work and residency permit regulations, unless they have otherwise established permanent residency in Poland or elsewhere in the EU. Poland's visa and work permit regulations offer the possibility for non-EU/EFTA citizens to live and work in Poland under certain conditions. In practice, however, foreign firms and individuals have experienced difficulty in obtaining both visas and work permits. Poland requires an applicant to apply for a visa in his or her home country, rather than in Poland or in neighboring countries. This procedure is often burdensome. Provincial authorities, who vary greatly in speed and willingness, issue work permits.

Discriminatory or Preferential Export/Import Policies

The government supports exporters through export credit guarantees from a state-owned insurance entity (KUKE). KUKE provides credit guarantees for all firms registered in Poland (including foreign firms and firms with foreign capital). The state-owned Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK), operates a system of supplementary payments from the state budget to fund medium- and long-term fixed interest credits for exports’ financing (DOKE). It also offers loan repayment sureties/guarantees, granted in cooperation with banks providing credit facilities under the government program “Supporting Entrepreneurship through BGK Sureties and Guarantees.”

Right to Private Ownership and Establishment Return to top

The right to private ownership is firmly established in EU law, as well as in the law of the individual Member States.

Domestic and foreign private entities generally may freely establish, acquire, or dispose of a business, and may engage in almost all forms of lawful economic activity. Participation of foreigners is restricted in the broadcasting and air transportation sectors, while foreign ownership of other than a small amount of real estate property requires a government permit.

The Civil Code, as amended, regulates property rights among individuals or legal entities. Civil Code regulations are based on the principles of equality of all parties regardless of their ownership status, equivalency of obligations, discretion, protection of private ownership, and freedom of contracts.

Protection of Property Rights Return to top


The EU and its Member States support strong protection for intellectual property rights (IPR) and other property rights. The EU and/or its Member States adhere to all major intellectual property rights agreements and offer strong IPR protection, including implementation of the WTO TRIPS provisions. Together, the U.S. and the EU have committed to enforcing IPR in third countries and at our borders in the EU-U.S. Action Strategy endorsed at the June 2006 U.S.-EU Summit.

Despite overall strong support for property rights enforcement, several EU Member States have been identified in the U.S. Special 301 process due to concerns with protection of certain intellectual property rights. The United States continues to be engaged with the EU and individual Member States on these matters.

Enforcement of Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights

In April 2004, the EU adopted the Intellectual Property Enforcement Directive (IPRED) (http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/iprenforcement/directives_en.htm). This Directive requires Member States to apply effective and proportionate remedies and penalties to form a deterrent against counterfeiting and piracy and harmonizes measures, procedures, and remedies for right holders to defend their IPR within Member States. Remedies available to right holders under IPRED include the destruction, recall, or permanent removal from the market of illegal goods, as well as financial compensation, injunctions, and damages. Commission studies have shown that the Directive has provided a solid basis for the enforcement of IPR but also led to “very diverging interpretations by Member States and their courts.” As a result, the European Commission has been consulting stakeholders since 2010 in order to evaluate the overall functioning of the civil enforcement system for intellectual property rights and ways in which to improve the legal framework in the EU. The current consultation closes in March 2013.

At the second High Level Conference on Counterfeiting and Piracy April 2, 2009, the Commission launched the European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy. The role of the Observatory, which is composed of private industry representatives and designees chosen by Member States, is to serve as the central resource for gathering, monitoring and reporting information related to IPR infringement in the EU. In March 2012 a regulation entrusting the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) with the tasks and activities relating to the management of the European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy was adopted. See: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2012:129:0001:0006:EN:PDF

Specific Enforcement Measures

Copyright: In 2001, the EU adopted Directive 2001/29 establishing pan-EU rules on copyright and related rights in the information society. In December 2006, the Council and Parliament passed an updated version of the 2001 Copyright Directive modified to clarify terms of copyright protection. This new Directive (2006/116/EC) entered into force in January 2007. Despite these directives aimed at harmonizing certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society, there currently isn’t a legal instrument specifically addressing the clearing of copyright and related rights for cross-border on-line audiovisual media services. The Commission therefore presented proposals in 2012 to improve the collective management of copyright including by increased transparency and better governance of collecting societies, with the aim of ensuring that collective management evolves and responds to the needs of multi-territorial licensing. See: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/copyright/docs/management/com-2012-3722_en.pdf

In September 2011 the EU amended Directive 2006/116/EC regarding the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights. The agreed text will extend the term of copyright protection for performers and record producers from 50 to 70 years and introduce a 'use-it-or-lose-it' provision that allows performers to recover their rights after 50 years, should the producer fail to market the sound recording, and a so-called 'clean slate' which prevents record producers from making deductions to the royalties they pay to featured performers. The proposal also creates a new claim for session players amounting to 20 percent of record labels' offline and online sales revenue.

On December 14, 2009, the European Union and Member States ratified the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

In October 2007, the U.S. and key trading partners announced their intention to negotiate an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in order to bolster efforts to combat counterfeiting and piracy by identifying a new, higher benchmark for enforcement that countries can join on a voluntary basis. The United States, Australia, Canada, Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Morocco, and Singapore signed ACTA at a ceremony on October 1, 2011, in Tokyo. The EU and 22 EU Member States signed ACTA on 26 January 2012, also in Tokyo, but the European Parliament did not give its consent and therefore the EU will not be a member of the Agreement for the time being.

Trademarks: Registration of trademarks with the European Union’s Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) began in 1996. OHIM issues a single Community Trademark (CTM) that is valid in all EU Member States. In October 2004 the European Community acceded to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Madrid Protocol. The accession of the Community to the Madrid Protocol established a link between the Madrid Protocol system, administered by WIPO, and the Community Trademark system, administered by OHIM. Since October 2004 Community Trademark applicants and holders have been allowed to apply for international protection of their trademarks through the filing of an international application under the Madrid Protocol. Conversely, holders of international registrations under the Madrid Protocol are entitled to apply for trademark protection under the Community trademark system. The link between the OHIM and the WIPO registration systems allows firms to profit from the advantages of each while reducing costs and simplifying administrative requirements.

On March 31, 2009, the Commission announced new, lower fees and simplified procedures for EU-wide trademark rights, eliminating registration fees and reducing application fees by 40 percent. The new rates entered into force May 1, 2009, and applications for trademarks can be done online. In 2011 more than 105,900 trade mark applications were filed with more than 99,000 in 2012. In recognition that stakeholders increasingly demand faster, higher quality, and more streamlined trade mark registration systems which are technologically up-to-date, the European Commission is expected to present proposals to revise both the Community Trade Mark Regulation and the Trade Mark Directive in the near future.

Designs: The EU adopted the Community Designs Regulation, a Regulation introducing a single Community system for the protection of designs, in December 2001. The Regulation provides for two types of design protection, directly applicable in each EU Member State: the Registered Community Design (RCD) and the unregistered Community design. Under the Registered Community Design system, holders of eligible designs can use an inexpensive procedure to register them with OHIM, and will then be granted exclusive rights to use the designs anywhere in the EU for up to twenty-five years. Unregistered Community designs that meet the Regulation’s requirements are automatically protected for three years from the date of disclosure of the design to the public. Protection for any registered Community design was automatically extended to Romania and Bulgaria when those countries acceded to the European Union on January 1, 2007.

In September 2007 the EU acceded to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement concerning international registration of industrial designs. This allows EU companies to obtain protection for designs in any country that belongs to the Geneva Act, reducing costs for international protection. The system became operational for businesses in January 2008. In April 2008 OHIM updated the guidelines for renewal of Registered Community Designs. In February 2009 OHIM announced it would accept priority documents that do not include views of designs, such as German registration certificates. The change has helped accelerate the registration process, and is in line with the practice in most EU member states.

Patents: In 2012, the European Union formally approved the creation of a first unitary patent covering all EU member states except Spain and Italy. The current system requires patents to be registered separately in individual EU Member States making it a lengthy and costly procedure. Under the new system, companies will need to submit applications to the European Patent Office in Munich. EU Patents will be made available in three languages (English, French, and German) but applications can be made in any EU language and free machine translations are available in 28 European languages for information purposes. There will also be a new the Unified Patent Court replacing the need to defend patents in several Member State courts. The historic decision follows more than four decades of negotiations and deadlocks, and legal objections from Spain and Italy. The two countries have chosen not to join the system but are welcome to join at a later stage. The Unitary Patent should enter into force by January 2014 and the first unitary patents are expected to be granted by April 2014. The European Commission estimates that when fully in place, a unitary patent will cost around €5,000, compared to the current €36,000 for coverage in all 27 Member States.

Links to new regulations: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2012:361:0001:0008:EN:PDF

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2012:361:0089:0092:EN:PDF

Until the implementation of the new Community Patent System, the most effective way to secure a patent across EU national markets is to use the services of the European Patent Office (EPO). EPO offers a one-stop-shop enabling right holders to obtain various national patents using a single application. However, these national patents have to be validated, maintained and litigated separately in each Member State. In September 2008 the EPO and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) launched the Patent Prosecution Highway, a joint trial initiative leveraging fast-track patent examination procedures already available in both offices to allow applicants to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently. This permits each office to exploit work already done by the other office and reduce duplication. In addition, the two offices, along with the patent offices of Japan, Korea, and China, announced a joint agreement (IP5) in November 2008 to undertake projects to harmonize the environment for work sharing and eliminate unnecessary work duplication.

Geographical Indications: The United States continues to have concerns about the EU’s system for the protection of Geographical Indications (GIs). In a WTO dispute launched by the United States, a WTO panel found that the EU regulation on food-related GIs was inconsistent with EU obligations under the TRIPS Agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade of 1994. In its report, the panel determined that the EU regulation impermissibly discriminated against non-EU products and persons, and agreed with the United States that the EU could not create broad exceptions to trademark rights guaranteed by the TRIPS Agreement. The panel’s report was adopted by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) in April 2005. In response to the DSB’s recommendations and rulings, the EU published an amended GI regulation, Council Regulation (EC) 510/06, in March 2006 (amended by Council Regulation (EC) 179/2006 and Commission Regulation 417/2008). The United States continues to have some concerns about this amended regulation, about Council Regulation (EC) 479/08, which relates to wines, and about Commission Regulation (EC) 607/09, which relates inter alia, to GIs and traditional terms of wine sector products.

The EU adopted on 10 December 2010 a “Quality Package Regulation” which includes a proposal for a new 'Agricultural Product Quality Schemes Regulation' which reinforces the scheme for protected designations of origin and geographical indications (PDOs and PGIs); overhauling the traditional specialties guaranteed scheme (TSGs), and lays down a new framework for the development of Optional Quality Terms to provide consumers with information such as 'free range' and 'first cold pressing.' It also includes a proposal to streamline adoption of marketing standards by the Commission, including the power to extend place of farming labeling in accordance with the specificity of each agricultural sector and new guidelines on best practices for voluntary certification schemes and on the labeling of products using geographical indications as ingredients. This legislative proposal was sent to the Council and European Parliament for review and possible amendments and was adopted on November 21, 2012, and published in the Official Journal L343 on December 14, 2012. It is Regulation 1151 of 2012. With this regulation, all different quality schemes were combined into one legal instrument; the approval time for GIs was shortened; and, the comment period on applications was also shortened. The United States is carefully monitoring the application of these regulations.

EU international efforts to expand GI protection: The EU continues to campaign to have its geographical indications protected throughout the world without regard to consumer expectation in individual markets, and to expand the negotiations for a registry of geographical indications beyond wines and spirits to other foodstuffs. This has developed into a major EU priority in the context of the Doha Development Agenda negotiations in the WTO, in which a discussion is ongoing concerning the extension of so-called “additional” GI protection to products in addition to wine and spirits. The U.S. and other WTO members continue to oppose the EU’s proposals to extend “additional” GI protection, noting that the objective of effective protection of such indications can be accomplished through existing GI obligations.

U.S.-EU coordination on IP counterfeiting and piracy: Since the U.S.-EU summit of June 2005, where leaders agreed to more closely cooperate on IPR enforcement, the U.S. and the EU have intensified customs cooperation and border enforcement, strengthened cooperation with and in third countries, and built public-private partnerships and awareness raising activities together. The U.S.-EU action strategy for the enforcement of intellectual property was launched at the US-EU Summit in June 2006. Since then, U.S. and EU officials have regularly met with stakeholders to identify new areas for cooperation including capacity building, joint messaging, and coordinated border actions.

Poland has a non-discriminatory legal system accessible to foreign investors that protects and facilitates acquisition and disposition of all property rights, including land, buildings, and mortgages. Many investors, foreign and domestic, complain that the judicial system is extremely slow. Foreign investors often voice concern about frequent or unexpected changes in laws and regulations.

The 1997 Mortgage Banking Act provided that a licensed bank-recorded mortgage takes priority over subsequent tax liens and other secured and unsecured claims. Outstanding residential mortgage debt grew rapidly from 2005 to 2008. In comparison to most Western countries, the mortgage market in Poland is still relatively small at around 20% of GDP.

Intellectual Property

The Polish Government views protecting intellectual property (IP) rights as a core element of Poland's economic development. Its efforts have led to a significant reduction in the availability of pirated goods at border and open-air markets. Industry groups tell Post they no longer consider physical piracy a serious problem in Poland, although the prevalence of internet piracy is a growing issue. Due to the improving protection of IP, Poland was removed from the USTR Special 301 Watch List in April 2010.

Poland acceded to the WTO in 1995 and TRIPS in 1996 and has implemented and enforced all related WTO and TRIPS agreements. After Poland’s accession to the EU in 2004, all trade policy issues have been managed by the EU General Directorate for Trade. Poland joined WIPO in 1975. Poland has ratified the WIPO internet treaties; the WIPO Copyright Treaty and WIPO Performance and Phonograms Treaty were ratified in 2003.

Transparency of Regulatory System Return to top


The EU is widely recognized as having a generally transparent regulatory regime. The Commission, which has the sole authority to propose EU-level laws and regulations, generally announces an interest in legislating in a certain area, issuing a “green paper” for broad discussion, followed by a “white paper” with more detail on the proposed measure, and eventually a formal legislative proposal. The Member State ministers and experts examine and amend these proposals in Council in tandem with European Parliament consideration of them; Council decisions and EP amendments are publicly available. Informal working documents are not published, but interested parties usually can get fairly detailed information as these processes unfold. All adopted measures are published in 22 languages in the EU’s Official Journal, which is available online.

The EU's Better Regulation policy, adopted in 2005, aims at simplifying and improving existing regulation and at better designing new regulation. In October, 2010, the Commission announced Smart Regulation, which expands on the Better Regulation policy and emphasizes three points: the continued importance of evaluating existing legislation and conducting impact assessment statements for proposed legislation in order to provide evidence and transparency on the benefits and costs of regulatory policy choices; shared responsibility and commitment between the Commission, European Parliament, the Council and Member States for making legislation clearer and more accessible; and facilitating the ability of citizens and stakeholders to engage policy makers on the impact of existing and proposed regulations. See: http://ec.europa.eu/governance/better_regulation/index_en.htm

U.S.-EU Regulatory Cooperation

The U.S and EU have worked together to minimize the impact of unnecessary regulatory divergences since at least the December 1997 Agreement on Regulatory Cooperation Principles. Much of this work was subsumed under the High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum (HLRCF), established in 2005 as a place for regulators to exchange best practices. The HLRCF is co-chaired on the U.S. side by the Administrator of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) and on the EU side by the Director General of Enterprise and Industry. The HLRCF reports to the cabinet-level Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC)- http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rt/eu/tec/index.htm While the HLRCF is the principal formal tool for broad regulatory cooperation, significant contacts also exist between individual regulators in the U.S. and in EU.

At the November 28, 2011 meeting of the HLRCF, U.S. and EU officials emphasized a continued shared commitment to streamlining regulation and a joint recognition that improving the compatibility of American and European regulation would lead to economic growth and jobs. Both sides celebrated an agreement to “build bridges” between the different systems for setting standards in the U.S. and EU and expressed optimism that this agreement will result in comparable standards emerging from the different systems. Both sides agreed in principle on the importance of notifying one another of proposed legislation that might impact trade, and committed to formalizing an understanding to provide such notice, notwithstanding fundamental differences in the way that legislation is formulated in the EU and U.S.

At the November 28, 2011 U.S.-EU Summit, U.S. and EU leaders announced the formation of a High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth and tasked it to identify policies and measures to increase trade and investment to support mutually beneficial job creation, economic growth, and competitiveness, working closely with public and private sector stakeholder groups, and drawing on existing dialogues and mechanisms, as appropriate. The Working Group issued an interim report in June 2012 which addresses the importance of enhanced U.S.-EU regulatory cooperation. The Working Group has not yet issued its final recommendations to leaders, though a final report is expected in early 2013. If the Working Group recommends that the U.S. and EU pursue a formal, comprehensive trade agreement, such an agreement is likely to have a significant impact on U.S.-EU regulatory cooperation efforts.

Regulatory unpredictability and high levels of administrative red tape are recurring complaints of investors. Foreign and domestic investors must comply with a variety of laws concerning taxation, labor practices, health and safety, and the environment. Complaints about these laws, especially the tax system, center on the lack of clarity and often-draconian penalties for minor errors. Under the 2004 Law on Freedom of Economic Activity, inspections are fewer and shorter than in the past. The establishment of the Central Anti-Corruption Office (CBA) in 2006 increased the number of institutions authorized to perform inspections in companies. However, the CBA is entitled to perform inspections of companies only in cases where the State's interest is linked with a business interest (e.g., cases in which a government official carries out economic activity, or government officials make decisions in such areas as privatization, public tenders, licensing, exemptions, quotas, or guarantees favoring certain firms or persons).

The government continues to implement a reform package aimed at streamlining bureaucratic hurdles, such as procuring the licenses and permits required to open a business. The government has passed amendments to a number of business related regulations in such areas as foreign exchange, taxes, public procurement, enforcing contracts (amendments to the civil procedure code and appointment of more judges to commercial courts), and resolving insolvency (amendments to bankruptcy and reorganization law to simplify court procedures and extend more rights to secured creditors), thus creating a friendlier environment for entrepreneurs.

Revisions to the corporate tax code, which started in 1999, improved transparency and lowered tax rates. Since 2004, the corporate income tax (CIT) rate has been 19%. The July 2011 Act Limiting Administrative Barriers for Citizens and Businesses amended many different laws in order to cut administrative red tape for businesses. Major amendments include, for example: replacing certificates from official registers with declarations from the businesses themselves, the ability to convert from one business form to another, and a reduction of National Court Register fees. The business community has enthusiastically greeted the act because it eases administrative procedures, streamlines issuance of certain licenses and permits, and reduces the related costs for businesses. In 2012, the Justice Minister announced an initiative to liberalize access to a large number of professions. Poland currently leads the EU in the number of professions (380) that require government licensing, ranging from lawyers and stockbrokers to physical therapists, taxi drivers, and real estate agents.

Proposed laws and regulations are published in draft form for public comment, but in practice the period allotted for public consultations is often limited. Starting in February 2011, Polish citizens can track the legislative process of proposed legislation within the Prime Minister’s Office on the government’s webpage.

Pharmaceuticals

Global innovative pharmaceuticals companies consistently report that the process the Ministry of Health uses to add new products to the government’s drug reimbursement list remains non-transparent and slow. Meaningful access to the Polish pharmaceuticals market often hinges on whether a drug appears on the reimbursement list, since doctors most often prescribe drugs from the list. The Polish National Health Fund subsidizes purchases from the list, making them more affordable for patients.

In 2008, the Ministry of Health adopted a practice of requesting recommendations on reimbursement applications from the Health Technology Assessment Agency. Pharmaceuticals companies contend that this has decreased transparency further and increased the delay in acting on reimbursement applications. Inability to add new products to the reimbursement list has undermined U.S. and international innovative drug producers’ market position in favor of the Polish generics industry.

Broad healthcare reform legislation took effect on January 1, 2012. Among other measures, the reform mandates that the Polish government pay the lowest reimbursement prices in the EU for prescription medicine. Representatives of the pharmaceutical industry have complained that the methods the Ministry of Health employs to meet this mandate are inconsistent and opaque. In December 2012, the Minister of Health announced that the Ministry had been analyzing the impact of the Reimbursement Law, and suggested it might amend it.

Standards-setting Organizations

Government agencies set industry standards. These agencies are not required to consult with domestic or foreign firms when establishing standards, but usually do so. Domestic firms tend to have more influence than foreign firms in the consultation process.

Efficient Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment Return to top

Information on European Union Capital Market can be found in the EU Country Commercial Guide (CCG).

Capital Markets

Poland has healthy equity markets that facilitate the free flow of financial resources. Banks can and do lend to foreign and domestic companies. Companies can and do borrow abroad and issue commercial paper.

Equity markets include the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE), the "New Connect" trading platform, the Bond Spot S.A. (formerly called the Central Table of Offers "CeTO," an over-the-counter derivatives market), the Electronic Treasury Securities Market (which operates on a basis similar to the NASDAQ), and CATALYST (the first market in debt securities in Central and Eastern Europe). The WSE Energy Market is a transaction platform for energy deals and energy-related futures for traders and investors. On December 20, 2012, Poland established a Gas Exchange, which enables trading in forward contracts, spot transactions, and serves as a transparent source of information regarding natural gas transactions. The Gas Exchange, part of the Warsaw Stock Exchange Group, also represents an important step in liberalizing the gas market in Poland.

In July 2010, the WSE signed a contract to use the NYSE Euronext trading platform. The agreement to switch over to the Universal Trading Platform (UTP), now scheduled for April 2013, is part of the WSE’s strategy to make Warsaw the dominant exchange for Central Europe. The WSE believes the UTP will improve liquidity, reduce the cost of trading, make it easier for American and other international investors to trade shares in WSE-listed companies, and facilitate trading in instruments in new market segments dedicated to specific product groups (e.g., warrants and structured products).

In 2011, WSE extended its daily trading sessions (0800GMT-1730GMT) and changed the calculation of trading statistical data (calculation is based on the value of transactions, not on the sum of sales and purchases as it was previously) in an effort to attract more foreign investors. Similar to other exchanges, the WSE is considering shortening its trading sessions as costs seem to outweigh the benefits from longer sessions.

Poland’s capital market is regulated by the following legal acts:
- Act on Public Offering, Conditions Governing the Introduction of Financial Instruments to Organized Trading, and on Public Companies;
- Act on Trading in Financial Instruments;
- Act on Capital Market Supervision.

Each of these acts addresses one of the three main aspects of capital market operations: the primary market, secondary trading, and market supervision. Statutory regulations meet the standards of the Single European Financial Market, as defined in directives of the European Parliament and Council, and regulations of the European Commission.

The Warsaw Stock Exchange operates under the Act on Trading in Financial Instruments (July 2005, as amended) under the supervision of the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (PFSA) (Act on Capital Market Supervision of July, 2005, as amended). The rules concerning the organization of trading, order placement, and execution of transactions are defined in the WSE Rules and in Detailed Exchange Trading Rules.

Since September 2006, the Financial Supervision Commission has performed the regulatory tasks the Securities and Exchange Commission performed previously. In 2009, Polish regulations were adjusted to the provisions of the EU’s 2004 Transparency Directive, which deals with reporting requirements for companies listed in a member state of the EU or the European Economic Area, thereby making the Polish capital markets more accessible to foreign investors and foreign public companies. Polish regulatory authorities have paid increasingly greater attention to market communication, the protection of minority investors, and combating fraud and insider trading.

The May 2004 Act on Investment Funds allows for open-end, closed-end, and mixed investment funds, as well as the development of securitization instruments in Poland. In general, no special restrictions apply to foreign investors purchasing Polish securities.

Investment funds, consulting companies, investment banks, special funds belonging to financial corporations, companies in the IT sector, and individuals conduct venture capital activity. Many participants in this area are foreign companies or companies with a foreign shareholder that have funds and experience in this type of activity on the domestic market. Many venture capital-established companies operate in the IT and media sectors. In recent years, the biggest increase in such investment was in the consumer goods sector, services, and healthcare. The financial crisis has created some fundraising difficulties, in particular for venture capital funds focusing on high-risk start ups and technology-intensive companies.

Credit Allocation

Credit allocation is on market terms. The government, however, maintains some programs offering below-market rate loans to certain domestic groups, such as farmers and homeowners. Foreign investors and domestic investors have equal access to the Polish financial markets. Private Polish investment is financed from retained earnings and credits, while foreign investors utilize funds obtained outside of Poland as well as retained earnings. Polish firms raise capital both in Poland and in other countries.

Legal, Regulatory, and Accounting Systems

Polish accounting standards do not differ significantly from international standards. In cases where there is no national accounting standard, the appropriate International Accounting Standards may be applied. As of January 1, 2008, all banks are obliged to follow the principles of the Basel II capital accord. These regulations increase sensitivity to risk and should lead to improved performance in the banking sector. Poland is in the process of harmonizing legal, regulatory, and accounting systems with those in the EU. Poland’s Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) has been introducing stricter requirements on sales of foreign currency loans. Major international accounting firms provide services in Poland and are familiar with U.S., EU, and Polish accounting standards.

Portfolio Investment

The Polish regulatory system fosters and supervises the portfolio investment market. Both foreign and domestic investors may place funds in demand and time deposits, stocks, bonds, futures, and derivatives. The markets for blue-chip stocks and Treasury bills are liquid, but some other investments are not. In 2011, the WSE launched the first official Treasury bond index: the Treasury Bond Spot Poland (TBSP) Index.

Banking System

The banking sector remains sound with major banks well capitalized. Supervision and risk management have proven efficient in containing excessive risk-taking. At the end of October 2012, the banking sector was made up of 643 entities, the majority of which were small cooperative banks (573). Commercial banks dominate the sector with over 90% of total banking sector assets at the end of October 2012. Among commercial banks, four, including the largest bank by assets, PKO BP, were directly or indirectly state-owned. Foreign-owned banks accounted for over 60% of the Polish banking system’s assets in 2012. Market concentration is increasing slowly, with the top five banks’ portion of assets rising to 45.2% October 2012, from 44.9% in 2011.

After decreasing in 2011, the proportion of bad loans slightly increased in 2012, as a result of a slowdown in the economy and deteriorating situation of some debtors, a decrease in nominal total lending to the corporate sector, and a smaller-scale sale of bad consumer and corporate debts by banks to debt collecting companies. At the end of June 2012, 11.1% of commercial bank claims on corporations (7.6% of household loans) were classed as non-performing, up from 10.3% (7.3% of household loans) at the end of June 2011.

Unregulated quasi-banks make up an estimated 0.4% of the Polish financial system. The sector is growing as conditions for accessing credit become stricter. The 2012 collapse of the firm Amber Gold put Poland’s quasi-banks at the center of public attention and revealed that the Polish government has not taken sufficient steps to adequately regulate this part of the financial market. The Amber Gold fraud, while highly publicized was relatively small in terms of the actual amounts of money involved, and had no impact on the broader health of the Polish financial system.

Cross-shareholding

Cross-shareholding arrangements are rare and play a minor role in the Polish economy.

Hostile Takeovers

Neither the government nor private firms have taken measures to prevent hostile takeovers by foreign or domestic firms. Hostile takeover attempts are rare.

Competition from State Owned Enterprises Return to top

State-owned entities (SOEs) still dominate some sectors, most notably heavy industry (coal, chemicals) and utilities. The same standards are generally applied to both private and public companies with respect to access to markets, credit, and other business operations such as licenses and supplies. Officials at various levels of government occasionally exercise their discretionary authority to assist state-owned enterprises. For example, tax authorities have not pressed some large, troubled state-owned enterprises to pay taxes to avoid forcing those enterprises into bankruptcy. Nevertheless, in line with EU standards governing competition, the commercial code that took effect in 2001 established a more level playing field.

In general, SOEs aspire to pay their own way, financing their operations and funding further expansion through profits generated from their own operations. SOEs are governed by a board of directors and most pay an annual dividend to the government. SOEs prepare and disclose annual reports.

Since EU accession, government activity favoring state-owned firms has received careful scrutiny from Brussels.

Corporate Social Responsibility Return to top

CSR is a relatively new concept in Poland, but there is an increasing interest in it. Well-planned and deliberate corporate community investment (CCI) programs are one of the strengths of Polish companies. Polish firms have become more aware of their responsibilities for the environment, and some have developed innovative strategies to minimize their carbon footprint. More and more companies are starting to report on their CSR activities and compile CSR reports based on international reporting standards. Polish business and management students are active in this area, as well taking part in organizing events, conferences, and seminars on CSR issues, filling a gap in the education system (which does not cover this topic). Nevertheless, CSR initiatives involving top managers and CEOs are lacking, showing that CSR is not uniformly treated as an integral element of business strategy. There are few professionals dealing with CSR, and most companies do not have dedicated CSR departments or programs, instead relying on public relations specialists to implement their CSR activities. Many Polish companies, particularly small and medium enterprises, lack the knowledge and experience to implement generally accepted CSR practices effectively, such as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. There is no specific legislation to promote CSR good practices among Polish companies; however, the Ministry of Economy is tasked with supporting the implementation of CSR programs in Poland. (http://www.mg.gov.pl/node/10892)

Multinational firms are leading the development of CSR in Poland. Most foreign companies have a CSR program in line with international standards. Additionally, the American Chamber of Commerce in Poland has a CSR committee to encourage implementation of responsible business practices and to support the development of quality CSR programs among member firms.

Political Violence Return to top

Poland is a politically stable country. Constitutional transfers of power are orderly. The last parliamentary elections took place in October 2011; the new government formed in November 2011. The next elections will be in 2014 for Poland's members of the European Parliament and local elections.

There have been no confirmed incidents of politically motivated violence toward foreign investment projects in recent years. Poland has neither belligerent neighbors nor insurgent groups. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) provides political risk insurance for Poland but is not frequently used, as competitive private sector financing and insurance are readily available.

Corruption Return to top


The Commission has gained the ability through the Lisbon Treaty to propose EU legislation harmonizing criminal law relating to corruption and trafficking in drugs, persons, and weapons across Member States. The Commission recognized in a 2011 paper that, although the nature and extent of corruption vary, it harms all EU Member States and the EU as a whole. In order to support the implementation of a comprehensive anti-corruption policy across the EU, the Commission has managed since 2011 a reporting mechanism for the periodic assessment of anti-corruption efforts (referred to as the 'EU Anti-Corruption Report') that is used to identify trends and best practices, to make general and tailor-made recommendations for adjusting EU policy on preventing and fighting corruption, to help Member States, civil society or other stakeholders identify shortcomings, and to raise awareness and provide training on anti-corruption. Regarding the protection of EU finances, the EU’s Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) publishes an annual report on its activities which can be found online at the EU’s Anti-Fraud Office website: http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud/index_en.htm.

Corruption, including bribery, raises the costs and risks of doing business. Corruption has a corrosive impact on both market opportunities overseas for U.S. companies and the broader business climate. It also deters international investment, stifles economic growth and development, distorts prices, and undermines the rule of law.

It is important for U.S. companies, irrespective of their size, to assess the business climate in the relevant market in which they will be operating or investing, and to have an effective compliance program or measures to prevent and detect corruption, including foreign bribery. U.S. individuals and firms operating or investing in foreign markets should take the time to become familiar with the relevant anticorruption laws of both the foreign country and the United States in order to properly comply with them, and where appropriate, they should seek the advice of legal counsel.

The U.S. Government seeks to level the global playing field for U.S. businesses by encouraging other countries to take steps to criminalize their own companies’ acts of corruption, including bribery of foreign public officials, by requiring them to uphold their obligations under relevant international conventions. A U. S. firm that believes a competitor is seeking to use bribery of a foreign public official to secure a contract should bring this to the attention of appropriate U.S. agencies, as noted below.

U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: In 1977, the United States enacted the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which makes it unlawful for a U.S. person, and certain foreign issuers of securities, to make a corrupt payment to foreign public officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business for or with, or directing business to, any person. The FCPA also applies to foreign firms and persons who take any act in furtherance of such a corrupt payment while in the United States. For more detailed information on the FCPA, see the FCPA Lay-Person’s Guide at: http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/

Other Instruments: It is U.S. Government policy to promote good governance, including host country implementation and enforcement of anti-corruption laws and policies pursuant to their obligations under international agreements. Since enactment of the FCPA, the United States has been instrumental to the expansion of the international framework to fight corruption. Several significant components of this framework are the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (OECD Antibribery Convention), the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UN Convention), the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (OAS Convention), the Council of Europe Criminal and Civil Law Conventions, and a growing list of U.S. free trade agreements. This country is party to [add instrument to which this country is party], but generally all countries prohibit the bribery and solicitation of their public officials.

OECD Antibribery Convention: The OECD Antibribery Convention entered into force in February 1999. As of March 2009, there are 38 parties to the Convention including the United States (see http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/59/13/40272933.pdf). Major exporters China, India, and Russia are not parties, although the U.S. Government strongly endorses their eventual accession to the Convention. The Convention obligates the Parties to criminalize bribery of foreign public officials in the conduct of international business. The United States meets its international obligations under the OECD Antibribery Convention through the U.S. FCPA. [Insert information as to whether your country is a party to the OECD Convention.]

UN Convention: The UN Anticorruption Convention entered into force on December 14, 2005, and there are 158 parties to it as of November 2011 (see http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/signatories.html). The UN Convention is the first global comprehensive international anticorruption agreement. The UN Convention requires countries to establish criminal and other offences to cover a wide range of acts of corruption. The UN Convention goes beyond previous anticorruption instruments, covering a broad range of issues ranging from basic forms of corruption such as bribery and solicitation, embezzlement, trading in influence to the concealment and laundering of the proceeds of corruption. The Convention contains transnational business bribery provisions that are functionally similar to those in the OECD Antibribery Convention and contains provisions on private sector auditing and books and records requirements. Other provisions address matters such as prevention, international cooperation, and asset recovery. [Insert information as to whether your country is a party to the UN Convention.]

OAS Convention: In 1996, the Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS) adopted the first international anticorruption legal instrument, the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (OAS Convention), which entered into force in March 1997. The OAS Convention, among other things, establishes a set of preventive measures against corruption, provides for the criminalization of certain acts of corruption, including transnational bribery and illicit enrichment, and contains a series of provisions to strengthen the cooperation between its States Parties in areas such as mutual legal assistance and technical cooperation. As of December 2009, the OAS Convention has 34 parties (see http://www.oas.org/juridico/english/Sigs/b-58.html) [Insert information as to whether your country is a party to the OAS Convention.]

Council of Europe Criminal Law and Civil Law Conventions: Many European countries are parties to either the Council of Europe (CoE) Criminal Law Convention on Corruption, the Civil Law Convention, or both. The Criminal Law Convention requires criminalization of a wide range of national and transnational conduct, including bribery, money-laundering, and account offenses. It also incorporates provisions on liability of legal persons and witness protection. The Civil Law Convention includes provisions on compensation for damage relating to corrupt acts, whistleblower protection, and validity of contracts, inter alia. The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) was established in 1999 by the CoE to monitor compliance with these and related anti-corruption standards. Currently, GRECO comprises 49 member States (48 European countries and the United States). As of December 2011, the Criminal Law Convention has 43 parties and the Civil Law Convention has 34 (see www.coe.int/greco.) [Insert information as to whether your country is a party to the Council of Europe Conventions.]

Free Trade Agreements: While it is U.S. Government policy to include anticorruption provisions in free trade agreements (FTAs) that it negotiates with its trading partners, the anticorruption provisions have evolved over time. The most recent FTAs negotiated now require trading partners to criminalize “active bribery” of public officials (offering bribes to any public official must be made a criminal offense, both domestically and trans-nationally) as well as domestic “passive bribery” (solicitation of a bribe by a domestic official). All U.S. FTAs may be found at the U.S. Trade Representative Website: http://www.ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements. [Insert information as to whether your country has an FTA with the United States: Country [X] has a free trade agreement (FTA) in place with the United States, the [name of FTA], which came into force. Consult USTR Website for date: http://www.ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements.]

Local Laws: U.S. firms should familiarize themselves with local anticorruption laws, and, where appropriate, seek legal counsel. While the U.S. Department of Commerce cannot provide legal advice on local laws, the Department’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service can provide assistance with navigating the host country’s legal system and obtaining a list of local legal counsel.

Assistance for U.S. Businesses: The U.S. Department of Commerce offers several services to aid U.S. businesses seeking to address business-related corruption issues. For example, the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service can provide services that may assist U.S. companies in conducting their due diligence as part of the company’s overarching compliance program when choosing business partners or agents overseas. The U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service can be reached directly through its offices in every major U.S. and foreign city, or through its Website at www.trade.gov/cs.

The Departments of Commerce and State provide worldwide support for qualified U.S. companies bidding on foreign government contracts through the Commerce Department’s Advocacy Center and State’s Office of Commercial and Business Affairs. Problems, including alleged corruption by foreign governments or competitors, encountered by U.S. companies in seeking such foreign business opportunities can be brought to the attention of appropriate U.S. government officials, including local embassy personnel and through the Department of Commerce Trade Compliance Center “Report A Trade Barrier” Website at tcc.export.gov/Report_a_Barrier/index.asp.

Guidance on the U.S. FCPA: The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) FCPA Opinion Procedure enables U.S. firms and individuals to request a statement of the Justice Department’s present enforcement intentions under the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA regarding any proposed business conduct. The details of the opinion procedure are available on DOJ’s Fraud Section Website at www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa. Although the Department of Commerce has no enforcement role with respect to the FCPA, it supplies general guidance to U.S. exporters who have questions about the FCPA and about international developments concerning the FCPA. For further information, see the Office of the Chief Counsel for International Counsel, U.S. Department of Commerce, Website, at http://www.ogc.doc.gov/trans_anti_bribery.html. More general information on the FCPA is available at the Websites listed below.

Exporters and investors should be aware that generally all countries prohibit the bribery of their public officials, and prohibit their officials from soliciting bribes under domestic laws. Most countries are required to criminalize such bribery and other acts of corruption by virtue of being parties to various international conventions discussed above.

Poland has laws, regulations, and penalties aimed at combating corruption. Although corruption remains a recognized and continuing problem, its scale and impact on economic growth and development has considerably diminished since the beginning of the 1989 transformation from Communism. In 2012, Transparency International (TI) ranked Poland 41st among 176 countries (with first place being least corrupt). In 2011, Poland also ranked 41st.

In June 2012, TI issued a report on corruption in twenty-five European countries. According to the report, Poland is one of the Eastern and Central European countries which has made considerable progress in combating corruption but still has many gaps in its legal regulations, and Polish watchdog organizations lack capacity. The report praises Poland for its code of conduct for parliamentarians, including regulations which prohibit conflict of interest and oblige parliamentarians to report on their income and financial interests. TI also praises the effective supervision over party finances by the non-partisan State Electoral Committee.

Poland established the Central Corruption Office (CBA) in 2006. It answers directly to the office of the Prime Minister and is the primary law enforcement agency responsible for investigating public corruption. It coordinates anti-corruption activities with other public institutions, such as the police and the internal security services, particularly the Polish Internal Security Agency (ABW). The Justice Ministry and the police are responsible for enforcing Poland’s anti-corruption criminal laws. The Finance Ministry administers tax collection and is responsible for denying the tax deductibility of bribes.

Reports of alleged corruption most frequently appear in connection with government contracting and the issuance of a regulation or permit that benefits a particular company. Allegations of corruption by customs and border guard officials, tax authorities, and local government officials show a decreasing trend. If such corruption is proven, it is usually punished. Overall, U.S. firms have found that maintaining policies of full compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is effective in building a reputation for good corporate governance and that doing so is not an impediment to profitable operations in Poland.

One of the chief tools in preventing corruption is a transparent system of government procurement by open tender at all levels of government. A 1997 law restricts economic activity for those holding public positions. This law prevents a public official from engaging in business activities where he or she would have a conflict of interest while he or she is an official and for one year thereafter. The law applies to parliamentarians, government officials, and local officials. On July 1, 2003, new penal code regulations combating corruption came into force. These amendments include: no punishment for those from whom bribes are extracted when they inform police about this fact, a broader definition of a public official, and seizure of assets if an accused person does not prove they derive from a legal source.

Bribery and abuse of public office are crimes under the Polish Criminal Code. Penalties include imprisonment from six months to 12 years, and forfeiture of items derived from an offense.

Poland ratified the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery in 2000. Implementing legislation, which came into effect on February 3, 2001, classifies the payment of a bribe to a foreign official as a criminal offense, the same as if it were a bribe to a Polish official.

Due to the overall decrease in corruption, Transparency International closed its Polish chapter in 2011.

Anti-Corruption Resources

Some useful resources for individuals and companies regarding combating corruption in global markets include the following:

  • Information about the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), including a “Lay-Person’s Guide to the FCPA” is available at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Website at: http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa.
  • Information about the OECD Antibribery Convention including links to national implementing legislation and country monitoring reports is available at: http://www.oecd.org/department/0,3355,en_2649_34859_1_1_1_1_1,00.html. See also new Antibribery Recommendation and Good Practice Guidance Annex for companies: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/11/40/44176910.pdf.
  • General information about anticorruption initiatives, such as the OECD Convention and the FCPA, including translations of the statute into several languages, is available at the Department of Commerce Office of the Chief Counsel for International Commerce Website: http://www.ogc.doc.gov/trans_anti_bribery.html.
  • Transparency International (TI) publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). The CPI measures the perceived level of public-sector corruption in 180 countries and territories around the world. The CPI is available at: http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2009. TI also publishes an annual Global Corruption Report which provides a systematic evaluation of the state of corruption around the world. It includes an in-depth analysis of a focal theme, a series of country reports that document major corruption related events and developments from all continents and an overview of the latest research findings on anti-corruption diagnostics and tools. See http://www.transparency.org/publications/gcr.
  • The World Bank Institute publishes Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI). These indicators assess six dimensions of governance in 213 countries, including Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law and Control of Corruption. See http://info.worldbank.org/governance/wgi/index.asp. The World Bank Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Surveys may also be of interest and are available at: http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/BEEPS.
  • The World Economic Forum publishes the Global Enabling Trade Report, which presents the rankings of the Enabling Trade Index, and includes an assessment of the transparency of border administration (focused on bribe payments and corruption) and a separate segment on corruption and the regulatory environment. See http://www.weforum.org/s?s=global+enabling+trade+report.
  • Additional country information related to corruption can be found in the U.S. State Department’s annual Human Rights Report available at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/.
  • Global Integrity, a nonprofit organization, publishes its annual Global Integrity Report, which provides indicators for 106 countries with respect to governance and anti-corruption. The report highlights the strengths and weaknesses of national level anti-corruption systems. The report is available at: http://report.globalintegrity.org/.

Bilateral Investment Agreements Return to top

The EU as a whole does not yet have any traditional bilateral investment treaties (BITs), although virtually all the Member States have extensive networks of such treaties with third countries. The EU "Europe," "Association" and other agreements with preferential trading partners have contained provisions directly addressing treatment of investment, generally providing national treatment after establishment and repatriation of capital and profits.

The adoption in December 2009 of the Lisbon Treaty will change in major respects how the EU treats investment (see Openness to Foreign Investment, above). Since Lisbon makes foreign direct investment an exclusive EU competence, a broad definition of FDI extends EU authority over much of the subject matter hitherto addressed under Member State BITs. The Council has so far granted the Commission authority to negotiate investment chapters in the free trade agreements under negotiation with Canada, India, and Singapore. The Commission has indicated that it does not plan to develop a model investment treaty, preferring instead to establish general objectives and principles.

Other regional or multilateral agreements addressing the admission and treatment of investors to which the Community and/or its Member States have adhered include:

a) The OECD codes of liberalization, which provide for non-discrimination and standstill for establishment and capital movements, including foreign direct investment;

b) The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), which contains a "best efforts" national treatment clause for the making of investments in the energy sector but full protections thereafter; and

c) The GATS, which contains national treatment, market access, and MFN obligations on measures affecting the supply of services, including in relation to the mode of commercial presence.

As of March 2008, Poland had ratified 60 bilateral investment agreements: Albania (1993); Argentina (1992); Australia (1992); Austria (1989); Azerbaijan (1999); Bangladesh (1999); Belgium and Luxembourg (1991); Belarus (1993); Bulgaria (1995); Canada (1990); Chile (2000); China (1989); Croatia (1995); Cyprus (1993); the Czech Republic (1994); Denmark (1990); Egypt (1998); Estonia (1993); Finland (1998); France (1990); Germany (1990); Greece (1995); Hungary (1995); India (1997); Indonesia (1993); Iran (2001; although they support international sanctions regimes); Israel (1992); Italy (1993); Jordan; Kazakhstan (1995); Kuwait (1993); Latvia (1993); Lithuania (1993); Macedonia (1997); Malaysia (1994); Moldova (1995); Mongolia (1996); Morocco (1995); the Netherlands (1994); Norway (1990); Portugal (1993); Romania (1995); Serbia and Montenegro (1997); Singapore (1993); Slovenia (2000); Slovakia (1996); South Korea (1990); Spain (1993); Sweden (1990); Switzerland (1990); Thailand (1993); Tunisia (1993); Turkey (1994); Ukraine (1993); United Arab Emirates (1994); the United Kingdom (1988); the United States (1994); Uruguay (1994); Uzbekistan (1995); Vietnam (1994).

 

The United States and Poland signed a Treaty Concerning Business and Economic Relations in 1990; it entered into force in 1994 for an initial period of ten years. The Treaty grants U.S. investors domestic privileges and provides for international arbitration in the case of investment disputes. Ratification of the amended bilateral treaty on business and economic relations took place in October 2004. In February 2013, the United States and Poland signed the Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes and Income. It replaces the tax treaty signed between the two countries in 1974.  Prior to its accession to the EU, Poland reviewed its agreements with third countries for their compatibility with EU law. In June 2004, Poland completed the necessary amendments to bring the U.S.-Poland 1990 Business and Economic Relations Treaty (referenced above) into compliance with EU regulations. The U.S. - Poland “Totalization Agreement,” signed on April 2, 2008, became effective in April 2009. The Agreement stops dual taxation, opens the door for payments to suspended beneficiaries, and allows transfer of benefit eligibility.

OPIC and Other Investment Insurance Programs Return to top

OPIC programs are not available in the EU as a whole, although individual Member States have benefited from such coverage.

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) provides political risk insurance for U.S. companies investing in Poland against political violence, expropriation, and inconvertibility of local currency. OPIC offers medium and long-term financing in Poland through its direct loan and guarantee programs. Direct loans are reserved for U.S. businesses or cooperatives. Loan guarantees are issued to U.S. lending institutions.

The World Bank's Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency also provides investment insurance similar to OPIC's for investments in Poland.

Poland maintains full convertibility of the zloty, apart from a few restrictions on short-term capital movements. Foreign currency is freely available from the banking system. At the height of the global financial crisis, short-term foreign currency lending, particularly interbank-lending, slowed following parent institution tightening (subsidiaries of large European banks dominate Poland’s banking sector). However, the government and Central Bank took some measures (similar to other major economy responses) to provide short-term liquidity, and the problem has since eased.

Labor Return to top

Issues such as employment, worker training and social benefits remain primarily the responsibility of EU Member States. However, the Member States are coordinating ever more closely their efforts to increase employment through macroeconomic policy cooperation, guidelines for action, the exchange of best practices, and programmatic support from various EU programs. The best information regarding conditions in individual countries is available through the labor and social ministries of the Member States.

Helpful information from the EU can be found on the websites for the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairs, http://ec.europa.eu/social/home.jsp?langId=en,and on the Eurostat website

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/eurostat/home/.

In general, the labor force in EU countries is highly skilled and offers virtually any specialty required. Member States regulate labor-management relations, and employees generally enjoy strong protection. EU Member States have among the highest rates of ratification and implementation of ILO conventions in the world. Numerous provisions in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), EU labor law and policy guidelines aim to strengthen social dialogue and the role of the “social partners” (labor and management organizations) at EU, national, sectoral, local and company level.

There is a strong tradition of labor unions in most Member States. In many cases, the tradition is stronger than the modern reality. While Nordic Member States (Denmark, Finland, and Sweden) still have high levels of labor union membership, many other large Member States, notably Germany and the United Kingdom, have seen their levels of organization drop significantly to levels around 20-30 percent. French labor union membership, at less than 10% of the workforce, is lower than that of the U.S.

Poland has a well-educated, skilled labor force. Productivity remains below Western standards but is rising rapidly, and unit costs are competitive. At the end of 2012, the average gross wage in Poland was around $1220 per month. From January to November 2012, wages in the corporate sector increased by 3.6%, after rising 5.1 % during 2011.

Poland's economy employed around 16 million people at the end of 2012, with unemployment at 10.4% in October 2012 (as measured according to standard EU and International Labor Organization (ILO) methodology). Unemployment varied substantially from one region to another. At the end of 2012, the lowest levels of unemployment were in major urban areas.

Polish workers are usually eager to work for foreign companies and have taken advantage of opportunities for employment in Great Britain, Ireland, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Since Poland joined the EU, over one million Poles have sought work in Western Europe and an estimated two million live abroad.

Polish companies suffer from shortages of qualified workers. Among the most sought-after specialists are engineers, IT specialists, salespersons, project managers, and technical advisors. Manufacturing companies are looking for welders, bricklayers, machinery and forklift operators.

Overall, employment in the public sector continues to shrink as the private sector grows. Employment has expanded in service industries such as information technology, manufacturing, and administrative and support service activities. The state-owned sector still employs about a quarter of the work force, although employment in fields such as coal mining, steel, and energy is declining.

In 2012, Poland revised its pension system and implemented legislation that will gradually raise the retirement age for both men and women to 67 . The age had been 65 for men and 60 for women. The retirement age has also been raised for people in the uniformed services, such as the police and army, who are covered by a separate pension system.

The influence of trade unions is declining, though they remain powerful in the coal-mining industry and shipyards. The trade unions were vocal in their opposition to the 2012 changes in the pension system.

The 1996 Labor Code governs most aspects of employee-employer. This outlines employee and employer rights in all sectors, both public and private, and has been gradually revised in order to adapt to EU standards. The Polish government also adheres to the ILO Convention protecting worker rights.

From January 1 to July 2, 2012, illegal immigrants residing in Poland continually since December 20, 2007, were able to submit applications to legalize their stay under a new amnesty program. The highest number of applicants were from Vietnam (2,182), followed by Ukrainians (2,013) and Pakistanis (1,420). According to various sources, there are between 30,000 to 500,000 illegal immigrants in Poland. Many come from Ukraine, Vietnam, and Russia.

Foreign-Trade Zones/Free Ports Return to top

EU law provides that Member States may designate parts of the Customs Territory of the Community as “free zones” and free warehouses. The EU considers the free zones to be mainly a service for traders to facilitate trading procedures by allowing fewer customs formalities. Information on free trade zones and free warehouses is contained in Title IV, Chapter Three, of Council Regulation (EEC) no. 2913/92 establishing the Community Customs Code, titled, "Free Zones and Free Warehouses" (Articles 166 through 182).

Article 166 states that free zones and free warehouses are part of the Customs Territory of the Community or premises situated in that territory and separated from the rest of it in which:

a) Community goods are considered, for the purposes of import duties and commercial policy import measures, as not being on Community customs territory, provided they are not released for free circulation or placed under another customs procedure or used or consumed under conditions other than those provided for in customs regulations;

b) Community goods for which such provision is made under Community legislation governing specific fields qualify, by virtue of being placed in a free zone or free warehouse, for measures normally attaching to the export of goods.

Articles 167-182 detail the customs control procedures, how goods are placed in or removed from free zones and free warehouses and their operation.

The use of free trade zones varies across Member States. For example, Germany maintains a number of free ports or free zones within a port that are roughly equivalent to U.S. foreign-trade zones, whereas Belgium has none. A full list of EU free trade zones last updated August 2012 is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/resources/documents/customs/procedural_aspects/imports/free_zones/list_freezones.pdf.

Foreign-owned firms have the same investment opportunities as Polish firms to benefit from foreign trade zones (FTZs), free ports, and special economic zones. The 2004 Customs Law regulates operation of FTZs in Poland. The Minister of Finance, in cooperation with the Minister of Economy, establishes duty-free zones. The Ministers designate the zone’s managing authorities, usually the provincial governors who issue the operating permits to interested companies for a given zone.

Most activity in FTZs involves storage, packaging, and repackaging. As of October 2012, there were seven FTZs: Gliwice, near Poland’s southern border; Terespol, near Poland’s eastern border; Mszczonow, near Warsaw; Warsaw’s Frederic Chopin International Airport (duty-free retail trade within the airport); Szczecin; Swinoujscie; and Gdansk. Duty-free shops are available only for travelers departing to non-EU countries.

There were also eleven bonded warehouses: Gdynia (sea port); Krakow-Balice (airport); Wroclaw-Strachowice (airport); Katowice-Pyrzowice (airport); Gdansk-Trojmiasto (airport); Lodz (airport); Braniewo (near Olsztyn); Poznan-Lawica (airport); Rzeszow-Jasionka (airport), Warszawa Modlin (airport), and Lublin (airport).

Commercial companies can operate bonded warehouses, and customs and storage facilities are operated pursuant to custom authorities’ permission. Bonded warehouses can be open to the general public, while a private warehouse is reserved for the warehouse keeper’s goods. The authorization to operate such a customs warehouse can be issued only to persons established in the EU.

Foreign Direct Investment Statistics Return to top


According to U.S. statistics (the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis), the value of U.S. investment in the Member States of the European Union, on a historical-cost basis as of the end of 2011, was $2.1 trillion. The Netherlands was the largest EU host to U.S. foreign direct investment, with $595 billion, followed by the United Kingdom ($549 billion), Luxembourg ($335 billion), and Ireland ($188 billion). More statistics on U.S. investment abroad are available at: http://www.bea.gov/international/di1usdbal.htm. For virtually all EU Member States, the largest "foreign" investors are in fact other Member States.

According to the European Commission’s statistics, FDI flows accounted for 2.3% of European GDP in 2010. The biggest investors in the United States include the United Kingdom at $454 Billion, The Netherlands ($238 Billion), and Germany ($218 Billion). http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/product_details/dataset?p_product_code=TEC00046

Poland is a net capital importer. According to the National Bank of Poland’s (NBP) preliminary data, inbound FDI in 2011 amounted to $18.9 billion (over 3.7% of GDP), a sharp rise compared to the revised $14.1 billion in 2010 (around 3% of GDP) and well above the government’s 2011 projection (between $12 and $13 billion).

According to NBP data, the decisive majority of FDI comes to Poland from other European Union countries. A significant share of EU investment is attributable to European subsidiaries of U.S. firms.

Other capital (mainly credits) accounted for over 50% of the FDI inflows in 2011, while around 30% consisted of reinvested profits (funds foreign companies use for further development) and only 13% of FDI consisted of equity capital (usually new funds related to the establishment of businesses in Poland). Among the leading investor-countries in 2011 were: Luxembourg, Spain, Germany, and Sweden. Luxembourg is a “transit” country for foreign investors due to its opportune legal and tax system.

At the end of 2011, Poland's cumulative inbound FDI totaled around $200 billion, according to NBP data. Despite considerable inflow of FDI, the value of net FDI liabilities decreased by over $11 billion mainly due to the depreciation of the Polish currency against the Euro and USD. Inbound FDI has been the most stable in the manufacturing sector. However, its share has diminished in favor of highly specialized services and R&D sectors.

According to the NBP data, U.S. firms accounted for almost $10 billion of the cumulative total of estimated at $200 billion FDI, as of the end of 2011. However, many U.S. firms’ investments are attributed to third countries in the NBP's reporting (e.g., Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands), when funds are transferred from a U.S. company's subsidiary based in that third country. According to those imperfect official statistics, the United States is one of the top ten largest investors in Poland in terms of the volume of capital invested, but in practice U.S. investment in Poland is higher. Compared to the quantity of foreign capital invested in Poland, Poland’s investments abroad are small, but increasing. According to data from the NBP, in 2011, Polish firms invested $7.1 billion (PLN 21.2 billion) abroad versus $7.2 billion (PLN 21.8 billion) in 2010. Cumulative outbound Polish FDI, through 2011, amounted to almost $49.7 billion (PLN 169.7 billion) or around 9.7% of GDP (9.4% in 2010).

In March 2012, Poland’s partially state-owned copper giant KGHM purchased Quadra FNX mining company for $2.8 billion. With the purchase, KGHM became the owner of copper deposits and mines in Canada, the United States, and Chile. This is the most significant Polish foreign investment to date. PKN Orlen’s December 2006 acquisition of the Mazeikiu refinery in Lithuania for $2 billion (PLN 5.7 billion) is the second biggest Polish FDI deal. Other leading destinations (including transit countries) for Polish investment are Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Cyprus, Netherlands, Belgium, Baltic countries, Switzerland, Czech Republic, and the United States. The majority of Poland’s foreign investments are connected with the services sector.

FDI by Country of Origin (2011)

Country

USD million

PLN million

Luxembourg (1st)

6,314.3

18,711.7

Spain(2nd)

6,002.3

17,787.2

Germany (3rd)

4,993.4

14,797.3

Sweden

3,638.4

10,781.9

France

2,481.9

7,355.0

Belgium

1,176.3

3,485.7

Greece

984.8

 

Curacao (from 2011 onwards)

584.8

1,733.0

United Kingdom

566.3

1,678.2

USA

– 963.7

– 2,855.9

Total FDI

(not cumulative)

18,860.9

55,892.4**

Source: National Bank of Poland (report at the end of 2011*Excluding investments attributed to third country subsidiaries

In 2011, net U.S. FDI to Poland was negative, meaning U.S. companies operating in Poland in aggregate either repatriated profits, reduced their equity capital, or Polish subsidiaries gave intra-company loans to their U.S. headquarters.

FDI by Sector (2011)

Sector

USD million

PLN million

Total Services

11,230.1

33,278.8

Financial and Insurance Activities

4,808.4

14,249.1

Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities

3,515.5

10,417.7

Construction

3,041.2

9,012.1

Electricity, Gas, Steam and Air Conditioning Supply

2,832.2

8,392.9

Manufacturing

1,805.8

5,351.2

Administrative and Support Services Activities

931.8

2,761.3

Real Estate Activities

908.2

2,691.3

Mining and Quarrying

425.1

1,259.6

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing

92.7

274.8

Accommodation and Food Service Activities

82.2

243.6

Human Health and Social Work Activities

18.2

54.0

Total FDI

(not cumulative)

18,861.1

55,892.4

Source: National Bank of Poland (report at the end of 2011)

Web Resources Return to top

U.S. Websites:

Transparency International : http://www.transparency.org

Ranking of Economies – Doing Business: http://www.doingbusiness.org/economyrankings/

Poland Economy – Facts, data, Analysis: http://www.heritage.org/Index/Country/Poland

Department of Justice, Fraud Section: http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/

Department of Justice, The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa

United Nations Convention against Corruption: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/signatories.html

Department of International Law, Multilateral Treaties: http://www.oas.org/juridico/english/Sigs/b-58.html

Criminal Law Convention: www.coe.int/greco

Free Trade Agreements, U.S. Trade Representative Website: http://www.ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements.

U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service: www.trade.gov/cs.

Department of Commerce, Trade Compliance Center “Report a Trade Barrier”: tcc.export.gov/Report_a_Barrier/index.asp

World Bank Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Surveys: http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/BEEPS.

U.S. State Department’s annual Human Rights Report: http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/

EU Websites:

DG Internal Market and Services

http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/internal_market/index_en.htm

DG Economic and Financial Affairs

http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/economy_finance/index_en.htm

DG Employment and Social Affairs

http://ec.europa.eu/social/home.jsp?langId=en

Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (trademarks and designs)

http://oami.europa.eu/

EU Anti-Fraud Office

http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud/index_en.html

Eurostat – EU Statistical Office

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/eurostat/home/

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis – Department of Commerce

http://www.bea.gov

European Patent Office

http://www.epo.org/index.html

Polish Websites:

Central Registration and Information for Economic Activity: www.ceidg.gov.pl

Corporate Social Responsibility Program: www.csr.gov.pl

Return to table of contents

Return to table of contents

Chapter 7: Trade and Project Financing

How Do I Get Paid (Methods of Payment) Return to top

Import financing procedures in Poland take place under seller-buyer terms. Popular payment mechanisms include payment against documents and electronic funds transfer. The safest method of receiving payment for a U.S. export sale is through an irrevocable letter of credit (L/C). However, most banks in Poland require the importer to deposit funds prior to issuance of a L/C. Few buyers and sellers use this method due to its cost. The most popular payment mechanism is the electronic funds transfer (SWIFT or wire transfers) as it is the fastest and the cheapest way for transferring funds. Cash payment or down payments provide an extra measure of security for export sales. Lease financing is a popular approach for vehicles, heavy equipment, and large capital items. Both private and public insurance is available in Poland.

How Does the Banking System Operate Return to top

Poland has a sound, non-discriminatory financial services infrastructure. Private banks control around 80 percent of the market. Foreign banks dominate with over 60 percent share in total assets. There are four directly or indirectly state-owned banks. The group of cooperative banks is numerous (572) and has a relatively small share of the market. All three types of banks offer a wide range of services to their customers.

Poland's universal banking system provides deposits, loans, and trade in securities services. The state-owned bank BGK administers target funds (e.g., municipal development, road, housing, technology); is responsible for the payment of the majority of EU funds granted to Poland; provides special credit services, including homeowner mortgages and guarantees to export companies; and issues bonds for financing infrastructure (road) projects. BGK is also involved in the “Polish Investments “ program, which will focus on creating conditions for long-term financing of investment projects in such areas as power (distribution and generation) and gas (transmission network, development and storage) infrastructure, development of hydrocarbon deposits (including shale gas), transportation infrastructure, municipal infrastructure (waste disposal, public transportation), as well as industrial and telecommunication infrastructure. BGK also supports SMEs with credit guarantees as part of the so-called de minimis aid program. http://www.bgk.com.pl/en

Payment cards are commonly used. In 2012, there were over 33 million payment cards in circulation, of which a majority were debit cards. Both ATMs and commercial entities accept popular credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, Diner's Club and American Express) and payment cards (VISA Electron and Maestro). Checks as a means of payment are available but have never enjoyed widespread usage in Poland.

Deposits and loans are available in PLN and foreign currencies. Loans in Euros and Swiss Francs most common in recent years, are no longer easily available due to the risk of currency fluctuations. Only those who receive salaries in foreign currencies still enjoy easy access to loans in other currencies than in PLN. Tighter controls on foreign currency lending aim at limiting banks' and borrowers' exposure to a sharp fall in the value of the PLN. Credit agreements require borrowers to provide data on their economic and financial standing. It is common practice when granting credits to require bank guarantees, drafts, or other forms of collateral.

Internet banking is developing rapidly and the availability of banking services varies from one bank to another.

A number of foreign banks have established banking operations in Poland, either through local subsidiaries, fully operating branches, or participation in consortium banks, which may also include Polish bank shareholders. Several U.S. banks have offices in Poland (e.g., Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, and Merrill Lynch). While some banks have branches all over Poland, many are regional or have just a few branches. The Export-Import Bank of the United States has approved several Polish banks for bank guarantees in foreign trade financing.

Foreign-Exchange Controls Return to top

The PLN is fully convertible and there are no foreign exchange controls affecting trade in goods. Companies operating in Poland have free access to foreign currency, and there have been no failures of the banking system to provide hard currency on demand. Polish law allows repatriation of profits, including through bonds and securities.

Under the terms of its EU Accession, Poland is required to adopt the Euro, however; the government has no fixed date for Euro adoption.

U.S. Banks and Local Correspondent Banks Return to top

Major U.S. Banks

Citi Handlowy

Bank Handlowy w Warszawie

ul. Senatorska 16

00-923 Warszawa

Telephone: +48 22 657 7200

Fax +48 22 692 5023

Web site: http://www.citihandlowy.pl/

Bank BPH SA

ul. Marynarki Polskiej 177

80-868 Gdańsk

Telephone: +48 58 300 7001

E-mail: pytanie@ge.com

Web site: http://www.bph.pl

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Merrill Lynch Polska Sp. z o.o.

Global Banking and Markets

Aleje Jerozolimskie 65/79

00-697 Warszawa

Telephone: +48 22 630 6219

Fax +48 22 630 6218

E-mail: agnieszka.chwojko@baml.com

JP Morgan Chase Bank National Association

Przedstawicielstwo w Polsce, Nowy Jork

ul. Emilii Plater 53 (WFC), 21st floor

00-113 Warszawa

Telephone: +48 22 441 9500

Fax +48 22 441 9502

Email: jakub.leonkiewicz@jpmorgan.com

Web site: http://www.jpmorgan.com

FCE Bank Polska SA

ul. Tasmowa 7

02-667 Warszawa
Telephone: +48 22 608 67 00

Fax: +48 22 608 6819

Web site: http://www.ford.pl

Major Local Correspondent Banks

PKO BP

ul. Pulawska 15

02-515 Warszawa

Telephone: +48 81 535-65-65

Fax : not published

E-mail: informacje@pkobp.pl

Web site: http://www.pkobp.pl/

Bank Polska Kasa Opieki

Pekao S.A.

ul. Grzybowska 53/57

00-950 Warszawa

Telephone: +48 22 656 0000

Fax: +48 22 656 0004

E-mail: info@pekao.com.pl

Web site: http://www.pekao.com.pl/

ING Bank Slaski S.A.

ul. Sokolska 34

40-086 Katowice

Telephone: +48 32 357 7000

Fax: +48 32 357-7010, 357-7015

E-mail: mampytanie@bsk.com.pl

Web site: http://www.ing.pl/

Bank Zachodni WBK SA

Rynek 9/11

50-950 Wrocław

Telephone.: 1 9999
Telephone:  +48 22 586 80 05
Fax: +48 22 586 85 55
e-mail: artur.sikora@bzwbk.pl

http://www.bzwbk.pl

Project Financing Return to top

The EU supports projects within its Member States, as well as EU-wide "economic integration" projects that cross both internal and external EU borders.

The European Union provides project financing through grants from the European Commission and loans from the European Investment Bank. Grants from the Structural Funds are distributed through the Member States' national and regional authorities, and are only available for projects in the 27 EU Member States.

The CSEU Tenders Database

The U.S. Commercial Service at the U.S. Mission to the European Union offers a tool on its website to help U.S.-based companies identify European public procurement opportunities. The database features all current public procurement tenders issued by European public authorities (at national and regional levels, as well as public institutions and city authorities). All contracts above established thresholds are open to U.S.-based firms under the terms of the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) of which the U.S. and the EU are parties. The database, which is updated twice weekly, includes all tenders based on a selection of tenders published in the EU Official Journal that are open to GPA member countries.

Readers may access the database at: http://www.buyusa.gov/europeanunion/eu_tenders.html

Loans from the European Investment Bank

Headquartered in Luxembourg, the European Investment Bank (EIB) is the financing arm of the European Union. Since its creation in 1958, the EIB has been a key player in building Europe. As the EIB's lending practices evolved over the years, it became highly competent in assessing, reviewing and monitoring projects. As a non-profit banking institution, the EIB offers cost-competitive, long-term lending in Europe. Best known for its project financial and economic analysis, the Bank makes loans to both private and public EU-based borrowers for projects in all sectors of the economy, such as telecommunications, transport, energy infrastructure and environment, with the goal of contributing towards the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the member countries.

EIB website a source of information on upcoming tenders related to EIB-financed projects: http://www.eib.org/projects/pipeline/index.htm

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

The EBRD operates in Poland and aims to provide support to enterprise restructuring, modernization and privatization, by sharing risk with local or foreign investors, particularly in more challenging sectors, such as chemical or energy. It also supports restructuring, modernization and private sector participation in the road sector, railways and airports.

http://www.ebrd.com/pages/country/poland.shtml

Polish Investment Program

In early 2013, the Polish government launched a program called "Polish Investments," which focuses on creating conditions for the long-term financing of infrastructure investment projects in power (distribution and generation), natural gas (transmission network, development and storage), the development of hydrocarbon deposits (including shale gas), transportation, municipal services (waste management, public transportation), as well as industrial and telecommunications infrastructure.  The objective of the "Polish Investments" program is to support project financing for growth-generating projects of strategic significance to the national economy. The program is based on two pillars providing, respectively, debt and equity financing for investment projects – the state-owned bank, Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK) and a newly-established state-capitalized infrastructure investment fund:  Polskie Inwestycje Rozwojowe S.A. (PIR).  Combined, they are expected to provide about €10 billion ($13 billion) in financing to projects selected for the program.  BGK is to guarantee loans for potential investments.  American companies can participate in this new initiative as subcontractors.  The program should be fully operational by the end of 2013.

Web Resources Return to top

EU websites:

Future project proposals: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/atlas2007/fiche_index_en.htm.

The EU regional policies, the EU Structural and Cohesion Funds: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/index_en.htm

EU Grants and Loans index: http://ec.europa.eu/grants/index_en.htm

EuropeAid Co-operation Office: http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/index_en.htm

EU tender repository: http://ted.europa.eu/TED/main/HomePage.do

IPA: http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/how-does-it-work/financial-assistance/index_en.htm

The European Investment Bank: http://www.eib.org

EIB-financed projects: http://www.eib.org/projects/index.htm?lang=-en.

The Trans-European Networks (TENs): http://ec.europa.eu/ten/transport/index_en.htm

U.S. websites:

CSEU Tender Database:

http://export.gov/europeanunion/grantstendersandfinancing/cseutendersdatabase/index.asp

Market research section on the website of the U.S. Mission to the EU: http://export.gov/mrktresearch/index.asp

European Union Tenders Database:

http://export.gov/europeanunion/grantstendersandfinancing/cseutendersdatabase/

Export-Import Bank of the United States: http://www.exim.gov

Country Limitation Schedule: http://www.exim.gov/tools/country/country_limits.html

OPIC: http://www.opic.gov

Trade and Development Agency: http://www.tda.gov/

SBA's Office of International Trade: http://www.sba.gov/oit/

USDA Commodity Credit Corporation: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/ccc/default.htm

U.S. Agency for International Development: http://www.usaid.gov

Return to table of contents

Return to table of contents

Chapter 8: Business Travel

Business Customs Return to top

In general, conducting business in Poland is highly compatible with our expectations of doing business in the U.S. Poles are, in general, hard-working and trustworthy. The following discussion illustrates a few examples of some potential situations you may encounter when in Poland on business.

It is customary to greet by shaking hands in Poland. Good eye contact and a firm hand-shake are most appropriate. A businesswoman should not be surprised if a Polish man kisses her hand upon introduction, at subsequent meetings or when saying goodbye. American men are not expected to kiss a Polish woman's hand, but may simply shake hands.

Poland is a hierarchical country, and it is important to know that while greeting it is appropriate that someone of a higher rank extends his/her hand first. In case of a man and a woman, usually, out of politeness, a woman is the one expected to extend her hand. With younger generations, this custom may not be observed.

When meeting someone for the first time it is more appropriate NOT to address him/her by his/her first name. “Pan” and “pani”, which might be translated as equivalents of “Sir” and “Madam”, are used in initial contacts. The American way of overcoming formalities and addressing almost everybody by his/her first name is growing in popularity. Again, this is particularly true in the case of business representatives of a younger generation in Poland.

Business cards are the norm in Poland and are generally given to each person present in a meeting. As Poles tend to bring more than one person to their meetings, U.S. visitors should bring plenty of business cards. It is not necessary to have business cards printed in Polish.

Business hours for offices start at 8:00 AM and end at 5:00 PM. Try to schedule your business meetings within this time frame. Poles might be reluctant to meet at an earlier hour or later in the day.

Although your business contacts may speak English, communication in Polish is recommended when dealing with the Polish government on official business. Just remember that, even if you speak fluent Polish, you may still find yourself mired in red tape when doing business with the Polish government.

Business attire is generally formal, including a suit and tie for men, and a suit or dress for women. Casual wear, including jeans, is suitable for informal occasions, but more formal dress is usually customary for visiting or entertaining in the evening. Flowers, always an odd number, are the most common gift among friends and acquaintances. Sunday is the traditional day for visiting family and friends in Poland.

When planning a business trip to Poland, it is worthwhile to check Polish holidays. Poles are reluctant to schedule appointments on Sundays or Polish holidays. During summer months – July and August – the majority of Poles take vacation; therefore, securing business appointments with decision-makers might be difficult.

Travel Advisory Return to top

State Department Travel & Business Advisory:

http://www.state.gov/travel

Visa Requirements Return to top

American companies that require travel of foreign business persons to the United States should be advised that security options are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following links.

State Department Visa Website: http://travel.state.gov/visa

Visa applicants should go to the following links:

U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Consular Section: http://warsaw.usembassy.gov/poland/consular.html

For persons traveling to the U.S. on business:

http://poland.usembassy.gov/visas/nonimmigrant-visas/visas/business.html

Telecommunications Return to top

International direct dialing is available in Poland. Cellular phone services are GSM/DCS/UMTS/LTE-based systems, which require phones working at 900/1800 GSM frequency. All cellular operators offer internet access. Internet access is available at all business-class hotels, though some at an extra fee. Wi-Fi internet access is available at random, mostly in large cities, gas stations, shopping centers and restaurants. Visitors can save on expensive international and long-distance phone connections using the U.S. toll-free service provided by AT&T, Verizon and other service providers, or IP-based access numbers.

In an emergency, there is a unified 112 number, available from cellular and fixed-line phones.

To call Poland from abroad: +48 and telephone number (include a city prefix in case of calls to fixed-line, no prefix needed while dialing to cellular phones)

To call U.S. from Poland: 001 and telephone number

Transportation Return to top

Transportation by air to and from Poland is excellent.  International carriers fly to Poland many times per day from all over the world, and LOT Polish Airlines has direct flights to Warsaw from Chicago, New York and Newark.  Please note that direct flights between Krakow and Rzeszow and the United States are no longer available.  No U.S. airline services Poland directly at this time.  However Delta, American, and United have code share relationships with various European carriers that service Poland through their European hubs. 

In December 2007, Poland joined the Schengen area, enabling the public to travel freely from Estonia to Portugal without border controls (except the UK, Ireland, Bulgaria, Romania, and Cyprus).

Transportation within Poland is quite convenient, especially by air and by train.  Flights operate between major cities.  Railway routes are extensive and usually reliable, with the "Inter-City" line providing first-class, express service to several cities.  However, travel by rail to some destinations might take much more time than expected, as Poland does not have any high speed trains like TGV or Pendolino, yet.

Rental cars are abundant, but due to significantly increased traffic over the past few years and a highway system that has not kept up, driving between Polish cities, especially at night, can be quite dangerous. Poland’s highway network, which is generally underdeveloped, is undergoing a major improvement to meet EU standards.  Major highways A1, A2 and A4 are still under construction, but many parts of these highways are already in operation.  A4 connects Tarnow, Krakow and Katowice and goes further to the German border in Zgorzelec, A2 links the German border in Swiecko with Warsaw, while the existing parts of A1 link Gdansk with Torun.  Generally, these highways are subject to toll fees, but some of their parts are still toll free.

Taxis are very affordable. It is advisable to call ahead to a reputable taxi company for radio dispatch for personal security, as well as to avoid overcharges.

Basic English is widely spoken in most hotels and restaurants. International hotels and restaurants catering to foreigners accept major credit cards, although smaller hotels and restaurants may not. Currency exchange is widely available, as are local currency Polish Zloty (PLN)-dispensing ATM's, that accept most U.S. bankcards. Please note that the Euro has not been adopted in Poland.

First class business hotels are available in most major Polish cities, and many are located in the heart of business districts.  Major western hotels offer air-conditioned rooms with access to the Internet and direct dial telephone capability.  Many hotels offer business center amenities with computers, fax, business assistance services, and Internet capabilities.  All business hotels take major credit cards.  Availability and room rates are seasonal and competitive, and business travelers are advised to check and confirm rates at hotels in advance of their travel.

Language Return to top

Polish is the official language in Poland. Communication in the Polish language is recommended if the seller would like to receive a speedy reply to correspondence and inquiries. U.S. companies should ensure that translations from English into Polish are performed only by professional translators who are fluent in modern business Polish and grammar. When conducting business in Poland, a qualified Polish-language interpreter is recommended. CS Warsaw can provide lists of interpreters.

Health Return to top

In general, American travelers should familiarize themselves with conditions at their destination that could affect their health (high altitude or pollution, types of medical facilities, required immunizations, availability of required pharmaceuticals, etc.). This important information is available at “Travel.State.Gov” website under “Tips for Traveling Abroad - Health Issues”: http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/tips/health/health_4971.html

American citizens are welcome to consult a list of doctors compiled by the Embassy and Consulate General. The Embassy does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of persons appearing on that list.

Medical Facilities

http://poland.usembassy.gov/poland/visa_requirements/medical-facilities.html

Worldwide Air Ambulance Services - http://www.americanairambulance.com/air_ambulance_assistance.html - provides worldwide air ambulance services for people needing medical attention. The answer-line for all air ambulance questions is: Phone - 800-863-0312 or 941-536-2002

Local Time, Business Hours, and Holidays Return to top

Poland is on Central European Time (CET) and, as such, is six hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast (EST).

Regular business hours in most cases are from 8:00-4:00PM in the governmental offices and 9:00-5:00PM in the private sector.

Locally observed holidays in 2013:

January 1(Tue): New Year’s Day

April 1 (Mon): Easter Monday

May 1 (Wed): Labor Day

May 3 (Fri): Constitution Day

May 30 (Thu): Corpus Christi Day

August 15 (Thu): Assumption Day

November 1 (Fri): All Saints' Day

November 11 (Mon): National Independence Day

December 25 (Wed): Christmas Day

December 26 (Thu): Boxing Day

The U.S. Commercial Service is closed on most U.S. and Polish holidays. During the month of July and August, most Polish institutions are staffed with minimum personnel.

For local time and business hours, please contact the Commercial Service in advance. The Commercial Service can be reached by telephone at +48-22-625-43-74, fax at +48-22-621-63-27, or e-mail at office.warsaw@trade.gov. A current directory of staff and locations worldwide may be accessed on the Commercial Service website www.export.gov/poland

Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings Return to top

There are no restrictions on the temporary entry of personal laptop computers or other business materials and personal belongings into Poland.

Web Resources Return to top

Market Research Library

http://www.export.gov/mrktresearch/index.asp

EU Member States’ Country Commercial Guides:

EU Member States' Country Commercial Guides

State Department Visa Website

http://travel.state.gov/visa/visa_1750.html

Commercial Service at the U.S. Mission to the European Union General E-mail Address

brussels.ec.office.box@trade.gov

Current directory of Commercial Service staff and locations worldwide

http://www.export.gov/

State Department Travel & Business Advisory:

http://www.state.gov/travel

U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Consular Section: http://warsaw.usembassy.gov/poland/consular.html

For persons traveling to the U.S. on business:

http://poland.usembassy.gov/visas/nonimmigrant-visas/visas/business.html

The WHO Health Information on Poland:

http://www.who.int/countries/pol/en/

Return to table of contents

Return to table of contents

Chapter 9: Contacts, Market Research and Trade Events

Contacts Return to top

American Embassy Warsaw

Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31

00-540 Warsaw Poland

Tel.: +48-22/504-2000

Web site: http://warsaw.usembassy.gov

Ambassador: Stephen Mull

DCM: Douglas Greene

Foreign Commercial Service (FCS): William Czajkowski, Commercial Counselor

Brenda VanHorn, Commercial Attaché

Tel: +48-22/625-4374

E-mail: Office.Warsaw@trade.gov

POL/ECON: Martina Strong, Political/Economic Counselor

Tel: +48-22/504-2000

E-mail: econwrw@state.gov

Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS): Michael Henney, Agricultural Counselor

Tel: +48-22/504-2000

E-mail: AgWarsaw@usda.gov

CON GEN: Charles Luoma - Overstreet, Consul General
Tel: +48-22/625-1401

E-mail: publicwrw@state.gov

American Citizen Services (ACS): Emily King

Tel: +48-22/504-2000

E-mail : acswarsaw@state.gov

Consulate General Krakow

Consul General: Ellen Germain

ul. Stolarska 9

31-043 Kraków

Tel: + 48 12/424-5100

E-mail: krakowfso-dl@state.gov

Further information on the American Embassy Warsaw offices and contact information:

http://poland.usembassy.gov/poland/offices.html

Chambers of Commerce and Bilateral Business Councils:

Polish Chamber of Commerce

Mr. Andrzej Arendarski, President

ul. Trebacka 4

00-074 Warsaw

Telephone: (48) 22 630-9600

Fax: (48) 22 827-4673

E-mail: kig@kig.pl

Web site: http://www.kig.pl/

American Chamber of Commerce in Poland

Ms. Dorota Dabrowski, Executive Director

ul. Emilii Plater 53, Warsaw Financial Center, XIV floor

00-113 Warsaw

Telephone: (48) 22 520-5999

Fax: (48) 22) 520-5998

E-mail: office@amcham.com.pl

Web site: http://www.amcham.com.pl/

Country Government Offices:

Ministry of Environment

ul. Wawelska 52/54

00-922 Warsaw

Telephone: (48) 22 579-2900

Fax: (48) 22 579-2450

E-mail: info@mos.gov.pl

Web site: http://www.mos.gov.pl/

Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

ul. Wspolna 30

00-930 Warsaw

Telephone: (48) 22 623-1000

Fax: (48) 22 623-2750

E-mail: kancelaria@minrol.gov.pl

Web site: http://www.minrol.gov.pl/

Ministry of Finance

ul. Swietokrzyska 12

00-916 Warsaw

Telephone: (48) 22 694-5555

E-mail: kancelaria@mofnet.gov.pl

Web site: http://www.mofnet.gov.pl/

Ministry of Economy

Pl. Trzech Krzyzy 3/5

00-507 Warsaw

Telephone: (48) 22 693-5000, 693- 5904

Fax: (48) 22 693-4046

E-mail: mg@mg.gov.pl

Web site: http://www.mg.gov.pl/

Ministry of Treasury

ul. Krucza 36/Wspolna 6

00-522 Warsaw

Telephone: (48) 22 695 8000, 695 9000

Fax: (48) 22 628 0872, 621-3361

E-mail: minister@msp.gov.pl

Web site: http://www.mst.gov.pl/

Ministry of Administration and Digitization

ul. Królewska 27

00-060 Warsaw

Telephone: (48) 22 245-5920

Email: mac@mac.gov.pl

Web site: https://mac.gov.pl/

Information and Foreign Investment Agency

Mr. Sławomir Majman, President of the Board

ul. Bagatela 12

00-585 Warsaw

Telephone: (48) 22 334-9800

Fax: (48) 22 334-9999

E-mail: post@paiz.gov.pl,

Web site: http://www.paiz.gov.pl/

Central Statistical Office

Al. Niepodleglosci 208

00- 925 Warsaw

Telephone: (48) 22 608-3000

Fax: (48) 22 608-3860

E-mail: dane@stat.gov.pl

Web site: http://www.stat.gov.pl/

In-Country Market Research Firms:

Millward Brown SMG/KRC

ul. Nowoursynowska 154a

02-797 Warsaw

Telephone: (48) 22 545-2000

Fax: (48) 22 545-2100

E-mail: recepcja@moliera.smgkrc.pl

Web site: http://www.smgkrc.pl/

Pentor Research International

ul. Postepu 18B,

02-676 Warsaw

Telephone: (48) 22 565-1000

Fax: (48) 22 565-1075

E-mail: pentor@pentor.pl

Web site: http://www.pentor.pl/

Grupa IQS Sp z. o.o.
ul. Francuska 37
03-905 Warszawa
tel: +48 (22) 592 63 00
fax: +48 (22) 825 48 70
e-mail: kontakt@grupaiqs.pl
Web site: http://www.iqs-quant.com.pl/

Cracovian International Consultants (Cic)

ul. Straszewskiego 28, Suite 22

31-113 Kraków

tel: (48 12) 432 1661

fax: (48 12) 432 1660

E-mail: cic@cic.com.pl

Website: http://www.cic.com.pl/

PMR Ltd.

ul. Supniewskiego 9

31-527 Kraków

tel: (48) 12 618-9000

fax: (48 )12 618-9008

E-mail: info@pmrcorporate.com

Website: http://www.pmrcorporate.com/

Multilateral Development Bank Offices in Poland

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Warsaw Financial Center

13th Floor

ul. Emilii Plater 53

00-113 Warsaw

Telephone: (48) 22 520-5700

Fax: (48) 22 520-5800

E-mail: not published

Web site: http://www.ebrd.com/

World Bank

Warsaw Financial Center

9th Floor

ul. Emilii Plater 53

00-113 Warsaw

Telephone: (48) 22 520-8000

Fax: (48) 22 520-8001

E-mail: akowalczyk@worldbank.org

Web site: http://www.worldbank.org.pl/

International Monetary Fund

Regional Office for Central Europe and the Baltics

00-108 Warszawa

ul. Zielna 37c

Tel. +48 22 338 6700

Fax +48 22 338 6500

E-mail: cee-office@imf.org

Web site: http://www.imf.org/Poland

Country Major Commercial Banks and Financial Institutions

PKO BP

ul. Pulawska 15

02-515 Warszawa

Telephone: +48 81 535-65-65

Fax : not published

E-mail: informacje@pkobp.pl

Web site: http://www.pkobp.pl/

Bank Polska Kasa Opieki

Pekao S.A.

ul. Grzybowska 53/57

00-950 Warszawa

Telephone: +48 22 656 0000

Fax: +48 22 656 0004

E-mail: info@pekao.com.pl

Web site: http://www.pekao.com.pl/

ING Bank Slaski S.A.

ul. Sokolska 34

40-086 Katowice

Telephone: +48 32 357 7000

Fax: +48 32 357-7010, 357-7015

E-mail: mampytanie@bsk.com.pl

Web site: http://www.ing.pl/

BRE Bank SA

ul. Senatorska 18

00-950 Warszawa

Telephone: +48 22 829 0000

Fax: +48 22 829 0033

E-mail: piotr.rutkowski@brebank.pl

Web site: http://brebank.pl

Bank Zachodni WBK SA

Rynek 9/11

50-950 Wrocław

Telephone.: 1 9999
Telephone:  +48 22 586 80 05
Fax: +48 22 586 85 55
e-mail: artur.sikora@bzwbk.pl

http://prasa.bzwbk.pl

NBP

Polish National Bank

ul. Świętokrzyska 11/21
00-919 Warszawa
Telephone: (48) 22 653 10 00
Fax: (48) 22 653 2475
e-mail: sekretariat.gp@nbp.pl

Web site: http://www.nbp.pl

Giełda Papierów Wartościowych

Warsaw Stock Exchange

ul. Książęca 4

00-498 Warszawa

Telephone: +48 22 628 3232

Fax: +48 22 628 1754

e-mail: gpw@gpw.pl

Web site: http://www.gpw.pl

Związek Banków Polskich

Polish Bank Union

ul. Kruczkowskiego 8
00-380 Warszawa
Telephone: +48 22 48 68 180, 48 68 190
Fax: +48 22 48 68 100
e-mail: wp@zbp.pl

Web site: http://www.zbp.pl

Polska Izba Ubezpieczeń

The Polish Chamber of Insurance

ul. Wspólna 47/49

00-684 Warszawa

Telephone: +48 22 42 05 105

Fax: +48 22 420-5107

e-mail: office@piu.org.pl

Web site: http://www.piu.org.pl

Izba Zarządzających Funduszami i Aktywami

Chamber of Investment Fund Associations

ul. Nowy Świat 6/12

00-400 Warszawa

Telephone: +48 22 58 38 600

Fax: +48 22 58 38 601

e-mail: poczta@izfa.pl

Web site: http://www.izfa.pl

Izba Domów Maklerskich

The Chamber of Brokerage Houses

ul. Kopernika 17

00-359 Warszawa

Telephone: +48 22 828 1402/03, 827-3212

Fax: +48 22 827 8554

e-mail: biuro@idm.com.pl

Web site: http://www.idm.com.pl

Izba Gospodarcza Towarzystw Emerytalnych

Chamber of Pension Associations

Al. Jana Pawła II 34 lok.7

00-141 Warszawa

Tel. +48 22 620 6768

Fax +48 22 620 6738

E-mail: igte@igte.com.pl

Web site: http://www.igte.com.pl

Komisja Nadzoru Finansowego

Polish Financial Supervision Authority

Plac Powstańców Warszawy 1

00-950 Warszawa

Telephone: +48 22 262 5000

Fax: +48 22 262 5111

e-mail: knf@knf.gov.pl

Web site: http://www.knf.gov.pl

Market Research Return to top

To view market research reports produced by the U.S. Commercial Service, please go to the following website: http://www.export.gov/mrktresearch/index.asp and click on Country and Industry Market Reports.

Please note that these reports are only available to U.S. citizens and U.S. companies. Registration to the site is required, and is free.

Trade Events Return to top

Please visit the following links for information about upcoming trade events.

U.S. Trade Event Searchable Database: http://www.export.gov/eac/trade_events.asp

Trade Events in Poland: http://export.gov/poland/tradeevents/eg_pl_024715.asp

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Chapter 10: Guide to Our Services

The President’s National Export Initiative aims to double exports over five years by marshaling Federal agencies to prepare U.S. companies to export successfully, connect them with trade opportunities and support them once they do have exporting opportunities.

The U.S. Commercial Service offers customized solutions to help U.S. exporters, particularly small and medium sized businesses, successfully expand exports to new markets. Our global network of trade specialists will work one-on-one with you through every step of the exporting process, helping you to:

  • Target the best markets with our world-class research
  • Promote your products and services to qualified buyers
  • Meet the best distributors and agents for your products and services
  • Overcome potential challenges or trade barriers
  • Gain access to the full range of U.S. government trade promotion agencies and their services, including export training and potential trade financing sources

To learn more about the Federal Government’s trade promotion resources for new and experienced exporters, please click on the following link: www.export.gov.

For more information on the services the U.S. Commercial Service offers to U.S. exporters, please click on the following link: http://www.buyusa.gov.

U.S. exporters seeking general export information/assistance or country-specific commercial information can also contact the U.S. Department of Commerce's Trade Information Center at (800) USA-TRAD(E).

To the best of our knowledge, the information contained in this report is accurate as of the date published. However, The Department of Commerce does not take responsibility for actions readers may take based on the information contained herein. Readers should always conduct their own due diligence before entering into business ventures or other commercial arrangements. The Department of Commerce can assist companies in these endeavors.

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