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flag Poland Poland: Economic and Political Outline

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline

 

Economic Indicators

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 Indicators 20112012201320142015 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 515.52490.69517.71e552.23593.76
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 4.52.01.6e3.2e3.3
GDP per Capita (USD) 13,38012,73213e14,330e15,407
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -5.4-3.8-3.3e-2.6-2.3
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 56.255.657.1e49.4e49.0
Inflation Rate (%) 4.33.70.90.10.8
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force) 9.610.110.39.59.5
Current Account (billions USD) -25.77-18.26-7.11e-8.51-12.55
Current Account (in % of GDP) -5.0-3.7-1.4e-1.5e-2.1

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database , Last Available Data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

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.

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 12.6 30.4 57.0
Value Added (in % of GDP) 3.3 33.2 63.5
Value Added (Annual % Change) 4.7 4.1 0.3

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

 
 
 
Monetary Indicators 20092010201120122013
Polish Zloty (PLN) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 3.123.022.963.263.16

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

 
 

Learn more about Market Analyses about Poland on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
67.0/100
Position:
Moderately Free
World Rank:
50/178
Regional Rank:
23/43

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2014 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation

 

Business environment ranking

Definition:

The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

Score:
7.29
World Rank:
29/82

Source: The Economist - Business Environment Rankings 2014-2018

 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

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Foreign Trade in Figures

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.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20092010201120122013
Imports of Goods (million USD) 149,459178,049210,597199,060203,550
Exports of Goods (million USD) 136,503159,724188,696183,420202,055
Imports of Services (million USD) 23,57629,51231,83531,79833,584
Exports of Services (million USD) 28,59632,73437,53637,90440,353
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -12.414.05.5-0.61.8
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -6.312.97.94.35.0
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 38.342.344.945.344.2
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 37.640.543.145.146.1
Trade Balance (million USD) -7,621-11,798-14,036-6,6943,282
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -2,822-8,712-8,374-73210,014
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 75.982.888.090.390.3

Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank , Last Available Data

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2013
Germany 25.0%
United Kingdom 6.5%
Czech Republic 6.1%
France 5.6%
Russia 5.3%
See More Countries 51.4%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2013
Germany 21.5%
Russia 12.3%
China 9.4%
Italy 5.2%
Netherlands 3.8%
See More Countries 47.7%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 
 

Main Products

- bn USD of products exported in 2013
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 4.7%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 3.4%
Seats, whether or not convertible into beds, and...Seats, whether or not convertible into beds, and parts thereof, n.e.s. (excl. medical, surgical, dental or veterinary of heading 9402) 2.4%
Television receivers, whether or not incorporating...Television receivers, whether or not incorporating radio-broadcast receivers or sound or video recording or reproducing apparatus; video monitors and video projectors 2.3%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 2.3%
See More Products 84.9%
- bn USD of products imported in 2013
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 8.8%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 2.9%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 2.5%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 2.2%
Automatic data processing machines and units...Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 1.9%
See More Products 81.7%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 
See More Products
More imports (Intracen Data)
More exports (Intracen Data)
 
 
 

Main Services

- bn USD of services exported in 2011
29.14%
28.30%
26.52%
5.67%
4.29%
1.55%
1.40%
1.29%
1.10%
0.72%
0.01%
- bn USD of services imported in 2011
26.38%
25.71%
21.46%
7.55%
6.03%
3.38%
2.64%
2.33%
2.22%
1.88%
0.41%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministries
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of the Treasury
Statistical Office
Polish Office of Statistics
Central Bank
Polish Central Bank
Stock Exchange
Warsaw Stock Exchange
Search Engines
Wirtualna Polska
Sharelook.pl
Wroclaw
Economic Portals
Business in Poland information website
Onet

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Political Outline

Executive Power
The President is the head of State, elected by universal suffrage for a five year term. The Prime Minister is the head of the government. He is appointed by the President, an appointment which must be confirmed by the lower house of Parliament (as a general rule, he is the leader of the majority party or coalition), for a four year term of office. The Prime Minister holds the executive power, which includes the enforcement of the law and the management of the country's current affairs. The Council of Ministers is proposed by the Prime Minister and approved by the lower house before being appointed by the President.
Legislative Power
The legislative power in Poland is bi-cameral. Parliament is composed of the Senate (upper house, which has 100 seats and whose members are elected by a majority vote on a provincial basis, for a four year term of office) and of the Sejm (lower house, which has 460 seats and whose members are elected by a complex system of proportional representation, for a four year term of office). The President has the right to veto legislation passed by Parliament, but the latter can supplant him by a majority of two thirds of the Sejm.
Main Political Parties
Poland has a multi-party system and is generally governed by a coalition government. The country's main political parties are:
- The SLD (Democratic Left Alliance), a successor of the communist party, recast as a social democratic party;
- The PO (Civic Platform), a liberal conservative party;
- The PD (Democratic Party), a liberal social party;
- The UP (Labour Union), a social democratic party rooted in the anti-communist opposition;
- The PiS (Law and Justice), a right wing group based on a platform of law and order;
- The LPR (Polish Family League), an extreme right nationalist and Roman Catholic party (anti EU);
- The PSL (Polish Peasant Party), a group situated center left, representing the farming community;
- The SRP (Self defense of the Polish Republic), a left wing party with the Polish unions.
Current Political Leaders
President : Bronislaw Komorowski (President by interim until next elections)
Prime Minister: Donald TUSK (since 16 November 2007)
Deputy Prime Ministers: Waldemar PAWLAK (since 16 November 2007) and Grzegorz SCHETYNA (since 16 November 2007)
Next Election Dates
Presidential elections: October 2015
Sejm : October 2015
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures the violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire sent to partner organizations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and activists of human rights, including the main criteria - 44 in total - to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
19/180
Evolution:
3 places up compared to 2013

Source: Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2014, Reporters Without Borders

 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Free
Political Freedom:
1/7

Map of freedom 2014
Source: Freedom House

 

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Last Updates: October 2014