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flag Poland Poland: Selling and Buying

In this page: Market Access Procedures | Reaching the Consumers | Distributing a Product | Organizing Goods Transport | Identifying a Supplier


Market Access Procedures

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Member of OECD
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party to the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls For Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies
Party of the International Coffee Agreement 2001
Main International Economic Cooperation
Member of the European Union
Member of the European Economic Area which has guaranteed, since 1 January 1993, the free movement of most goods between European countries.
Multilateral agreements and bilateral agreements with many countries.
Non Tariff Barriers
As it joined the European Union on 1 May 2004, Poland follows the commercial policy of the EU, including anti-dumping or anti-subsidy measures. The import regime of the European Union, especially in the sector of textile goods, is widespread in Poland. If the country integrated much of community legislation the day it joined the EU, a transition period was defined to adapt the rest of community benefits such as, for example, the free movement of salaried workers or coastal navigation services for some member States. In addition, Poland was given time until 2008 to bring up to standard its marketing authorizations for pharmaceutical products. Time was also given until 2005 to bring licenses for medical apparatus up to standard.
The EU has a liberal import regime where having to obtain import licenses is uncommon. However, you should ensure that importing a particular product does not need an import license.
At the European level, agricultural products are protected within the framework of the common agricultural policy and textile goods coming from China, Belarus, North Korea, Montenegro, Kosovo and Uzbekistan are subject to particular formalities and to import licenses or control procedures (export document, inspection document).
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Transactions carried out inside the EEA are free of duty.
The European Union's Common Customs Tariff (CCT) applies to goods from outside Europe. In general, duty is relatively low, especially for industrial goods (4.2% on average).

Customs Classification
The combined Nomenclature of the European Community (EC) integrates the HS nomenclature and has supplementary eight figure subdivisions and its own legal notes created for community purposes.
Import Procedures
When goods from inside the European community are introduced into Poland, the exporter is obliged to fill in, at the end of the month, a Declaration of Exchange of Goods or Intrastat Declaration.
The Customs declaration (SAD) is still in force for trade between Poland and third countries.

As part of the "SAFE" standards advocated by the World Customs Organization (WCO), the European Union has set up a new system of import controls, the "Import Control System" (ICS), which aims to secure the flow of goods at the time of their entry into the customs territory of the EU. This control system, part of the Community Program eCustomer, has been in effect since January 1, 2011. Since then, operators are required to pass an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) to the customs of the country of entry, prior to the introduction of goods into the customs territory of the European Union.
A new system, the Modernized Customs Code (MCC) of the European Union, is expected to be fully put into place by 2013 although there are concerns that this deadline may be missed due to the complexity of the project.
Importing Samples
Importing samples are not taxed.
For Further Information
Customs Service
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Finance

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Reaching the Consumers

Marketing Opportunities

Consumer Behavior
Even if advertising on TV, the Internet and in the press is important, the strongest vector for advertising remains word of mouth. The Polish are used to doing their shopping 7 days a week and at any time of day or night. Many stores stay open very late (10 pm) and even 24/24 (even in the country). Even if there are many big shopping centers and super and hypermarkets, the Polish consumer likes to do his shopping in different general stores and markets or small and medium size local shops. Whether a product is foreign or Polish is not very important.
Consumer Profile and Purchasing Power
The average age of the Polish population is 37. The unemployment rate was 11.8% in 2010. There are great differences in salaries according to the region and the sector of employment (the largest in the EU); the official average salary is 727 EUR. Consumer behavior depends on the level of their income. The low income of Polish people (on average EUR 730 gross per month) explains why they pay close attention to prices. But for the middle and upper classes (whose salaries are almost equivalent to the average in the EU 15) quality and brand are becoming more and more important as is service (during and after sales). Sales have become very fashionable.
Consumers Associations
UOKIK , Office for competition and consumer protection
SKP , Polish consumer association
Main Advertising Agencies
McCann Erickson Polska
Leo Burnett
J. Walter Thompson
Ogilvy & Mather Poland
Saatchi & Saatchi
BBDO Warsaw
Young & Rubicam

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Distributing a Product

Evolution of the Sector
In a few years, distribution has become practically a private sector and the number of outlets has risen considerably. However, nowadays, this sector remains unstructured with a majority of small shops in rural areas where hypermarkets have not yet set up business. On the other hand, in large towns, the big foreign groups have moved in and out of 900 supermarkets, 432 are of foreign origin. We can mention:
- Real which belongs to the Metro AG group and has 27 stores,
- Hypernova (Ahold group) with 27 stores,
- Tesco with 37 stores,
- Auchan, Geant and Carrefour (respectively 19, 17 and 14 outlets).
Among the discount stores, we can recognize the names:
- Biedronka,
- Plus discount, etc.
Modern distribution (hypermarkets, supermarkets, discount) has a market share in the food trade of 35%. It is estimated that, ten years from now, Poland will have an identical distribution system to that existing in western countries.

On the other hand, specialized distribution does not escape either from internationalization:
- in the DIY sector, we find Leroy Merlin (who bought out Conforama in Poland).
- for household appliances, Ikea... are on the scene
- for sports items, we find Décathlon, Go sport, etc.
Market Shares

Organizations in the Retail Sector
Polska Organizacja Handlu i Dystrybucji (Association of employers in big distribution companies)
Polska Rada Centrow Handlowych (Polish Council for Shopping Centers)

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Organizing Goods Transport

Main Useful Means of Transport
Poland's main ports are Gdansk and Szeczin-Swinoujscie. They have been considerably improved over the last few years with a view to European integration. More than 50 million of tons of maritime freight transit via Poland each year.

Goods freight by road represents 74.4 billion tonnes-kms.

The Polish rail network is the third-best rail network in Europe for its infrastructures, the second for the volume of goods transported, and is the leading employer in Poland. International lines (Intercity) give excellent service but the regional lines remain poor. Modernization is essential as regards signals and rolling stock, for about 40% of goods traffic is carried out by rail (47,400 million tons-km of freight).
Port of Gdansk
Port of Szczecin
Polish Airports
Sea Transport Organizations
Ministry of Transport, Construction and Maritime Economy
Ministry of Transport
Air Transport Organizations
Ministry of Infrastructure and Development
Civil aviation transport office
Road Transport Organizations
Ministry of Transport, Construction and Maritime Economy
General inspectorate for road transport
Institute for road transport
Rail Transport Organizations
Ministry of Transport, Construction and Maritime Economy
Rail transport office

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
Industry in Poland contributes 38.2% to GDP, including 7.9% by the building sector, which is the most dynamic sector. The best situation concerns the sectors of industrial processing (excluding the textile industry), paper, chemical products, transport vehicles, rubber, synthetic materials, metals, the mechanical industries and medical, optical and precision apparatus industry, IT, foodstuffs and tobacco goods and furniture.

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories - Poland - Directory of companies in Poland.
Biz Poland - Find a business in Poland. - Information about companies in Poland. - Database of Polish companies. - Poland's Yellow Pages. - Poland on the Internet - Directory of companies in Poland.
Tele Adreson - Directory of Polish companies.
TeleAdreson - Find a company in Poland.
Yellow Pages - Find a business in Poland.
Manufacturers Associations of the Main Industries
47 professional associations listed for Poland.
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Polish Chambers of Commerce
Enterprises Federation
JADE Poland - JADE European Confederation of Junior Enterprises
Employers of Poland

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Last Updates: October 2014