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Poland has been one of the fastest developing countries in the EU in recent years. In 2017 it was ranked by the World Bank as the 27th easiest country in which to do business.
Poland is located at the crossroads of European trade and transport routes. It can be an entry point to other Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries as well as emerging markets further east.
€85.2 billion from EU structural and cohesion funds for the years 2014 to 2020 will be invested in a range of projects in Poland.
The largest UK investors in Poland include Tesco Plc, Rolls Royce, Glaxo SmithKline, AVIVA Plc, BP, Shell Overseas Holdings Ltd, HSBC, BUPA and Unilever.
Benefits for UK businesses exporting to Poland include:
Strengths of the Polish market include:
Doing business in Poland is very similar to doing business in the UK. If your product or service is successful in the UK, there is a good chance you will be successful in Poland.
However, there are challenges. These include:
Poland has a healthy economy, with the World Bank predicting GDP growth to be around 3% for the period 2017 to 2019.
Growth is expected as a result of:
The EU has allocated €85.2 billion to Poland through the structural and cohesion fund programme. This will help maintain Poland as a market offering growth, stability and good prospects for UK business. The EU funds will contribute to investment in Polish:
The Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region offers considerable potential to British business. Economic forecasts for CEE are very positive, with GDP expected to grow over the next few years. Poland can act as a gateway into the other CEE markets.
The CEE region:
Poland is also a member of the Schengen area.
Contact the SOLVIT team if you have market access issues relating to the operation of the Single Market.
UN comtrade ranked Poland’s top imports of goods in 2016 as:
The top imports of services in 2015 were:
The UK and Poland enjoy a growing trading relationship, which was valued at £15 billion in 2016. Poland was the 20th largest export market for United Kingdom, with 1.4% of United Kingdom exports. UK exports to Poland have doubled over the past 10 years, to £5.6 billion in 2015, according to the Office of National Statistics.
UK companies bidding for Polish tenders are usually required to submit certain certificates along with their tender bid. These certificates do not exist in the UK, but there are equivalent UK documents or substitutes that are acceptable.5.1 Energy
Poland has announced plans to build 2 new 3 gigawatt (GW) nuclear plants. The first plant is scheduled to open in 2024, at an estimated cost of £7 to £11 billion. Delivery is being managed by the state-owned company, PGE S.A.
There are opportunities for:
The Polish government has made upgrading the rail network a national priority. This is to align the country with the rest of Europe’s advanced trans-European rail network. There is expected to be billions of pounds worth of investment in Polish railways between now and 2030.
There are opportunities for:
Public security and crime reduction is of major importance to the Polish government. New security strategies and programmes are already in place or are being created in Poland. These include:
Cyber security is regarded one of the most important issues due to:
Polish businesses are looking for solutions to secure access to critical data in the areas of cloud computing and mobile devices.
One of the best business areas for UK companies is sophisticated electronic security equipment as there is little domestic production of this.
There are opportunities for:
The Polish government has adopted a modernisation plan for the Polish armed forces for the period to 2022. The major opportunities for UK companies are within 14 operational programmes, and focus mainly on air force, naval upgrade and land carriers.
Poland has developed a well-regulated, stable financial market, overseen by the National Bank of Poland (NBP) and the Financial Supervision Commission (KNF). Many of the banks in Poland are owned by foreign parent companies.
IT expenditure in financial services sector has grown considerably in the CEE region.
There are opportunities in:
Poland’s retail sector market is highly competitive, but there is huge potential for new UK entrants. Poland has the largest retail market in the CEE region. It has:
The private healthcare sector is continually expanding. In particular, high annual growth rates are expected for:
There are also opportunities for:
The main routes to market include:
Direct sales into the Polish market can be difficult. It is often more effective to approach the market through local business partners with the ability to distribute and provide technical support.
Licensing and franchising are increasingly popular.
Invest in Poland provides information on setting up a company or a branch office in Poland.
Polish legislation, although harmonised with EU requirements is complex.7.1 Standards and technical regulations
Products and packaging should meet EU standards.
Local product law may vary. The Polish Norms Committee is responsible for issuing standards and certification.
Labels should be in Polish.7.2 Intellectual property (IP)
Trademarks, designs, patents and copyright are the principal forms of IP protection available to companies and individuals.
IP law, especially for patent protection, is not totally harmonised within the EU.
Poland is a member of the main international conventions protecting intellectual property.
The Polish Patent Office has responsibility for intellectual property.
Poland has a double taxation agreement with the UK. Poland also has an investment promotion and protection (IPPA) treaty with the UK.8.1 Value Added Tax (VAT)
The basic VAT rate is 23%, which is applied to the majority of goods and services.
VAT at 8% is applied to certain goods and services such as fire protection, specific groceries, hotel services, social housing programme modernisation.
5% VAT applies to supply certain (basic) food products.8.2 Company tax
Corporate income tax is 19%.
Find more information about corporate taxation on the Invest in Poland website.8.3 Income tax
Income tax is in 2 bands at 18% and 32%.
Find more information on income tax on the Invest in Poland website.8.4 Customs
The internal market of the European Union is a single market which allows the free movement of goods and services. Therefore, no import duties apply.