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Poland - Overview

Contents extracted from the comprehensive atlas of international trade by Export Entreprises


Capital:: Warsaw
Area:: 313 km2
Total Population:: 38.536
Annual growth rate:: 0.00%
Density:: 127.00/km2
Urban population:: 61%
Population of Warsaw (3.350), Katowice (2.746), Lodz (1.429), Krakow (1.250), Gdansk (866)
Official language: The official language is Polish.
Other languages spoken: Polish belongs to the family of West Slavic languages (with Czech and Slovakian).
The most spoken foreign languages are German and English, but it is useful to know a few words of Polish to travel around the country, especially outside large urban areas.
Business language: According to the type of company you contact, the geographical location and the sector of activity, it may be difficult to find someone who speaks English. Insufficient knowledge of English and German often makes it necessary to bring in an interpreter. However, the younger generations speak English more and more frequently.
Ethnic Origins:: 97.8% Poles ; 0.4% Germans ; 0.1% Belarusians ; 0.1% Ukrainians and 2.7% other nationalities.
Beliefs: Catholics 95%
Orthodox Christians 1.8%
Others 3.2%.
Telephone codes:
To make a call from: 0
To make a call to: +48
Internet suffix:: .pl
Type of State::
Poland (official name: Republic of Poland) is a republic based on parliamentary democracy. The country joined the European Union in May 2004.
Type of economy::
Upper-middle-income economy, OECD member, Ex-Transition country, Emerging Financial Market
EU member since 2004; high GDP growth rate

Economic overview

As a member of the European Union since 2004, Poland 's economic situation was strengthened with its integration into the community. Poland was the only country in the EU which maintained positive growth throughout the global economic crisis which began in 2008. Still, growth slowed down (1.5% in 2013) due to the economy's dependency on the EU, which is the destination of the majority of Polish exports. A recovery is expected in 2014, with growth estimated at 2.5% of the GDP.

The economic slowdown has led to a wave of social discontnet - the Polish population has raised demands for lowering the retirement age and increasing the minimum wage. However, the Polish economy has many advantages: it uses the resources from the European Structural Funds efficiently, has a resilient banking system, strong domestic demand and adapted fiscal policy. The priority of the Donald Tusk administration is to find a balance between measures to reform public finances and efforts to stimulate economic growth. The conservative 2014 budget restricts public spending (a wagefreeze in the state sector) while trying to stimulate economic growth. The state deficit should be reduced under 3.6% of the GDP in 2014 (compared to 4.1% in 2013), which is still above the European limit (3%). Despite its controversies, the government is planning to carry out a pension reform. The country must also deal with population population, carry out structural reforms such as pension reform and agricultural taxation reform, as well as manage the risk presented by the economic downturn of its trading partners and monitor its public debt.

The unemployment rate, which rose during the global economic crisis and the eurozone crisis, has been decreasing and at the end of 2013 it stood at 10.2% of the active population according to the OECD. There are large disparities between the east and the west of the country.

Main industries

In Poland, agriculture employs less than 13% of the active population and contributes to about 3.5% of the GDP. The country is generally self-sufficient as far as food is concerned. The main crops are rye, potatoes, beetroot, wheat and dairy products. The country also breeds pigs and sheep as livestock farming. Poland is relatively rich in natural resources and the main minerals produced are coal, sulfur, copper, lead and zinc. 

The manufacturing industry is the economy driver, contributing to over 30% of the GDP, whereas the tertiary sector represents about 65% of the GDP. The traditional industrial sectors (steel industry, shipbuilding) have been in decline. The country's main industrial sectors are machine manufacturing, telecommunications, environment, transport, construction, industrial food processing and information technologies. The automobile industry has resisted well the effects of the economic crisis because this sector was placed at the niche at the right time when there was a high demand for small economic vehicles, which was exactly what Poland was producing.

The service sector is booming, including financial services, logistics, hotel services, utilities and IT.

Foreign trade overview

Poland is an open country to foreign investment. During the 2010-2012 period, trade represented more than 90% of the GDP. The geographical location of Poland gives it a strategic importance. Poland is in fact situated half-way between Paris and Moscow and between Stockholm and Budapest, and it has important ports which are connected to the North Sea through the Baltic Sea. In addition, the country constitutes an excellent place for the export of merchandise to the former Soviet republics.

Since Poland became a member of the European Union, its exports have increased more than 30%, in particular towards Russia (more than 75%). Since the eruozone crisis, Polish exports to the CIS nad China have been growing.The Polish trade balance, structurally a deficit, worsened due to the global economic slowdown and the euro zone crisis, but since 2012 it has been showing signs of improvement thanks to the combination of exports recovery and weak domestic demand. 

The three main trade partners of the country are the European Union, Russia and China.


According to the UNCTAD 2013 World Investment Report, Poland ranks 14th among the countries deemed most attractive by transnational companies for the period 2013-2015. FDI inflows to Poland reflect the international economic situation. They slowed down following the eurozone crisis of 2012-2013 and should start performing more dynamically upon the economic recovery. Poland figures among the most attractive countries in Europe in terms of FDI.  Its main assets are its strategic position, a large population, its membership in the European Union, economic stability and a fiscal system attractive to businesses.
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