Table of Contents
|Location and Size||Credit and Collections|
|Legal System||Business Climate|
Location and Size
Poland is located in Central Europe, east of Germany. It features 440 km of coastline on the Baltic Sea to the north. Its 312,685 sq km makes it slightly smaller than the U.S. state of New Mexico. Warsaw, Poland’s capital, is a city of 1.71 million located on the Vistula River in east central Poland.
Poland is a republic divided into 16 provinces operating under a multiparty parliamentary system.
- Executive: Chief of state: President Andrzej Duda; head of government: Prime Minister Mateusz; Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, cabinet: Council of Ministers responsible to the prime minister and the Sejm; the prime minister proposes, the president appoints, and the Sejm approves the Council of Ministers
- Legislative: Bicameral legislature consists of an upper house, the Senate or Senat (100 seats; members elected by a majority vote on a provincial basis to serve four-year terms), and a lower house, the Sejm (460 seats; members elected under a complex system of proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
- Judicial: Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the National Council of the Judiciary for an indefinite period); Constitutional Tribunal (judges are chosen by the Sejm for nine-year terms)
Poland has a codified civil law system. Changes are gradually being introduced as part of broader democratization process. The system provides for limited judicial review of legislative acts, but rulings of the Constitutional Tribunal are final.
- Population: 37,991,766 (2023 est.)
- Population growth rate: -0.28% (2023)
- Languages: Polish (official) 98.2%, Silesian 1.4%, other 1.1%, unspecified 1.2%; note – data represents the language spoken at home; shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census
- Literacy: 99.8 % (2023 est.)
- Ethnic Make-up: Polish 96.9%, Silesian 1.1%, German 0.2%, Ukrainian 0.1%, other and unspecified 1.7% (2023 est.)
- Religions: Catholic 85% (includes Roman Catholic 84.8% and other Catholic 0.3%), Orthodox 1.3% (almost all are Polish Autocephalous Orthodox), Protestant 0.4% (mainly Augsburg Evangelical and Pentecostal), other 0.3% (includes Jehovah’s Witness, Buddhist, Hare Krishna, Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Muslim, Jewish, Church of Jesus Christ), unspecified 12.9%
With a flexible exchange rate, a legally independent central bank with an IMF credit line, access to international markets, and healthy economic policies, Poland continues to experience economic growth. Increasingly concerned about Russia’s activities in the region, Poland has agreed to host the next NATO summit in July 2016. Low rates of investment in agriculture have made Poland uncompetitive in food production, but the automotive, pharmaceutical, aviation, steel, and machinery sectors have made it one of the EU’s strongest economic performers. The private sector now accounts for two-thirds of GDP.
Leading Markets (2023): Germany 9.6%, UK 6.1%, UAE 5.9%, Iraq 5.8%, US 5.5%, Italy 5.4%, France 4.2%, Spain 4.0%
Leading Exports – Commodities: machinery and transport equipment 37.8%, intermediate manufactured goods 23.7%, miscellaneous manufactured goods 17.1%, food and live animals 7.6%
Leading Suppliers (2023): China 10%, Germany 9.1%, Russia 8.4%, US 5.1%, Italy 4.8%
Leading Imports – Commodities: Machinery and transport equipment 38%, intermediate manufactured goods 21%, chemicals 15%, minerals, fuels, lubricants, and related materials 9%
Top Industries: Machine building, iron and steel, coal mining, chemicals, shipbuilding, food processing, glass, beverages, textiles
Top Agricultural Products: Potatoes, fruits, vegetables, wheat; poultry, eggs, pork, dairy
Comparative Economic Indicators – 2023
|Population growth rate (%)*||-0.16||-0.24||0.1||-0.11||-0.02||0.04|
Age Structure (%)
(15 to 64 years old)
Age Structure (%)
(65+ years old)
|Unemployment rate (%)||4.9||0.8||2.9||5.2||8.1||9.2|
|Population below poverty line (%)||17.6||5.7||9.7||13.3||12.3||3.8|
|GDP** (USD billion)||
|GDP real growth rate (%)||4.7||2.4||4.3||1.5||3.4||2.5|
|GDP per capita** (USD)||29,600.0||18,900.0||35,500.0||27,900.0||33,100.0||8,800.0|
|Public debt (% of GDP)||50.6||53.4||34.7||15.5||50.9||71.0|
|Industrial production growth rate (%)||7.5||5.6||7.5||-1.0||2.7||3.1|
|Exports (USD billions)||224.6||28.65||144.8||353.0||80.8||39.7|
|Imports (USD billions)||223.8||31.58||134.7||239.0||80.1||49.0|
|Reserves of foreign exchange and gold (USD billions)||113.3||7.31||148.0||432.6||3.60||18.8|
|Exchange rates (per USD) 7/20/2023||3.85||2.04||22.93||65.58||0.89||25.57|
|Exchange rates (per EUR) 7/20/2023||4.32||2.30||25.75||73.58||n/a||28.70|
Economic Data from CIA World Factbook
Credit and Collections
It is a common practice in Poland and other Eastern European countries to delay payments as long as possible, even if they are capable of paying on time. These buyers then negotiate the payment with a significant discount.
Polish commercial law does not require a written contract as the basis for legal action before an Arbitration Court . This is unlike some other countries in Eastern Europe, such as Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine. It is recommended that sellers into Poland have such a written contract with the buyer. And, that is it signed by someone with the authorization (as shown on the public register) to sign contracts for the buyer.
Statute of Limitations
- Open Account: 2 years
- Promissory Notes: 2 years
- Written Contract: 2 years
- Oral Agreement: 2 years
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.
A permanent arbitration tribunal to settle disputes arising from international commercial activities operates through the Polish Chamber of Commerce.
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:
- The 1923 Geneva Protocol on Arbitration Clauses
- The 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of International Arbitration Awards
- The 1961 Geneva European Convention on International Trade Arbitration
- The 1972 Moscow Convention on Arbitration Resolution of Civil Law Disputes in Economic and Scientific Cooperation
Coface Country Rating: A3 — Changes in, generally good, but somewhat volatile, political and economic environment can affect corporate payment behavior. A basically secure business environment can, nonetheless, give rise to occasional difficulties for companies. Corporate default probability is quite acceptable on average.
Coface Business Climate Rating: A2 — The political and economic situation is good. A basically stable and efficient business environment, nonetheless, leaves room for improvement.
Poland has a very stable economy and offers investors an attractive business environment. During the recent global economic downturn, Poland had been the only country in Europe to show growth in GDP.
Investors are attracted to Poland’s well-educated, skilled, low-cost labor force. Although productivity remains below Western standards, it is rising rapidly, and unit costs are competitive. Its proximity to major markets and European Union (EU) membership are also a draw. Other positives include its political stability, strong economic performance in turbulent times, and its prospects for long-term growth.
In order to improve its economic performance over the longer term, Poland will need to address some of the remaining deficiencies in its road and rail infrastructure and its business environment. An inefficient commercial court system, a rigid labor code, bureaucratic red tape, burdensome tax system, and persistent low-level corruption keep the private sector from performing up to its full potential.
Economic Freedom: According to the 2023 Index of Economic Freedom, Poland’s economic freedom score is 67.7, making its economy the freest in the 2023 Index. Poland is ranked 23rd out of 44 countries in the Europe region, and its overall score is above the world average.
Market Access: A member of the European Union and NATO, Poland is a stable country with a commitment to free trade. It has free-trade agreements with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), parties to the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), and bilaterally with the Baltic States, Turkey and Israel. Foreign companies generally enjoy unrestricted access to the Polish market. Polish law, however, limits foreign ownership of companies in selected strategic sectors, and still limits foreign acquisition of real estate, especially agricultural land.
Intellectual Property Rights: 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 report they no longer consider physical piracy a serious problem in Poland, although the prevalence of internet piracy is a growing issue.
Exchange Control: Foreign currencies can be used freely for settling accounts. 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.
Corruption: 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 in the past decade, as the Polish parliament established the Central Corruption Office (CBA) which answers directly to the office of the Prime Minister and is the primary law enforcement agency responsible for investigating public corruption.
Political Violence: Poland is a politically stable country. Constitutional transfers of power are orderly. 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.
- For meetings at large corporations dress conservatively. For smaller companies, executives will typically be dressed in a casual business style with slacks or even jeans and a sweater or jacket. The Polish do not appreciate displays of wealth, so keep jewelry to a minimum and avoid flashy, expensive clothing. Make sure that clothing is clean and well-pressed.
- Punctuality is important. If you anticipate that you will be late, send a text message or call your host. Appointments should be made a week in advance and confirmed a day or two before.
- Have plenty of business cards on hand, and offer yours first, upon introduction.
- When entering the boardroom, wait for your host to point out your seat.
- Speak conservatively and be brief when making presentations. Long silences are part of the Polish business culture; do not make small talk during this time.
- The Polish feel that relationship building is important in business. Meet over a cup of coffee or dessert or for lunch. Make small talk before discussing business, and don’t be too pushy or overt with business topics during the meal.
- A firm handshake upon meeting or leaving is standard; do not exhibit demonstrative behavior such as hugging or backslapping with business clients.
- Showing respect to older people is a big part of the culture in Poland. Open doors or give up your seat on the bus or train to an elderly person. It is also standard etiquette in Poland to open and hold doors for women.
This information is provided by ABC-Amega Inc. Providing international receivable management and debt collection services for exporters to more than 200 countries. For further information, contact [email protected].