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Last updated : Nov 2009
Poland Business
Poland Business Overview - TravelPuppy.com

Being the largest economy in ex-Soviet Eastern Europe, the fate of Poland was, and still is, central to that of the whole region. The economic input of the agricultural sector declined little by little throughout the 1990s and now accounts for just 3 per cent of the GDP, but still employs one-quarter of the workforce. Livestock and meat are main export earners; rye, wheat, oats, sugar beet and potatoes are the main crops. In the industrial sector, Poland’s once significant coal mining industry – like its counterparts elsewhere in Europe – has been scaled down in recent years. Other significant industries are shipbuilding, textiles, steel, cement, chemicals and food processing. Again following the trend across the continent, industry’s contribution to the GDP has dropped to below 30 per cent, while the service sector has seen rapid growth.

With the collapse of the communist system at the end of the 1980s, Poland adopted the ‘big bang’ approach of rapid transition to a market economy: price controls (including subsidies) were removed at a stroke; production, distribution and trade were deregulated; large parts of the economy were privatised using a voucher system; the tax and fiscal systems were overhauled; and the national currency (the Zloty) was made fully convertible. The shock of these measures and the fall down of the Comecon trading system threw the economy into temporary crisis, but it recovered rapidly and by the mid-1990s was growing strongly. Many of those parts of the economy still under state ownership – including a number of important industrial enterprises – were privatised, although at a more leisurely pace. By 2000 the private sector accounted for 70% of GDP. Over the next two years the economy suffered mild recession, but by the end of 2003 growth had reached 3.4% and is still rising. Inflation is currently just below 3%. Unemployment, however, has risen consistently since 2000 to its current level of 20.2%, which is one of the highest levels in Europe. This, in turn, has led to the growth of aninformal or ‘grey’ economy, in which as many as 2 million people may be engaged.

Poland became a full member of the European Union in May 2004 as one of 10 new entrants. The decision to join was endorsed by 77% of the electorate in a June 2003 national referendum. Within the EU, Poland may be expected to work with its fellow members of the ‘Visegrad Group’ Hungary and the Czech and Slovak Republics – who are also joining the European Union. Where necessary, they will seek to protect their regional interests against the large and powerful Western European economies. Poland’s most important trading partners are Germany and the ‘Visegrad Group’ countries. Trade with other members of the European Union, including the UK, has already grown substantially during the last decade and is set to increase further.


In Poland, a formal approach is preferential and it is therefore advisable to give plenty of notice of an intended visit. Employees in state organisations do not take a lunch break, but they have their main meal after 1500 hrs.

Office hours: Mon-Fri 0800-1600.

Commercial Information

The following organisation can offer advice:

Polish Chamber of Commerce (Krajowa Izba Gospodarcza), PO Box 361, Trebacka 4, 00-074 Warsaw

Telephone: (22) 630 9600

Fax: (22) 827 4673

E-mail: kigcp@kig.pl

Website: www.kig.pl


The main conference venues are in Warsaw. Events are also hosted in Kraków, while Wroclaw, Gdansk and other towns are used occasionally.
Useful travel links
Doing Business about business with Poland
Poland Business Information on Businesses in Poland