Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, and other issues that affect trade.
Poland is an important and dynamic market located in the heart of Central Europe. American exporters and investors are drawn to Poland due to the country’s large population, well-educated and competitive workforce, strong prospects for economic growth, and location affording broader access to the European Union market of 447.7 million citizens.
With 38 million people, Poland is the largest single market among the “new” European Union (EU) states and 5th among all EU member states. Poland joined the EU in 2004, and its adoption of EU legislation has led to economic reforms that have improved the environment for business and boosted economic growth. Poland shares a single market and many harmonized economic rules with the EU, while retaining its own currency and monetary policy.
With an estimated 2021 GDP of $675 billion (€574 million - EUROSTAT), Poland is the EU’s sixth largest economy (EUROSTAT). According to the World Bank, Poland’s well-diversified economy is among Europe’s least affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Following a GDP decline of 2.7% in 2020, GDP increased by 5.7% in 2021. However, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) forecasts that Poland’s GDP will grow by only 4.4% in 2022 and by 1.8%in 2023. This slowdown is mainly due to the announced EU embargo on Russian oil that will exert additional upward pressure on energy prices. The core inflation rate is expected to remain high in 2022 (10.8% according to the National Bank of Poland (NBP)). Fiscal policy will support economic activity, buoyed by spending from EU funds, but tightening monetary policy will limit economic growth. However, growing exports, household consumption, low unemployment (3.4% in 2021 – Statistics Poland), rising wages, and EU fund spending are the driving forces fueling the country’s still strong economic performance. In addition, infrastructure spending and capital investment (with EU support) contribute to Poland’s economic growth. The EU budget for 2021-2027 provides €75 billion for Poland (in current prices), thereby making Poland the biggest net EU fund beneficiary among all the member states (European Commission). Poland’s exports in 2021 increased by 22.8% and were valued at $339.3 billion in current prices (Statistics Poland), and imports increased by 28.8%, valued at $339.7 billion. Poland’s chief export markets in 2021 were: Germany 28.7%, Czech Republic 5.9%, France 5.7%, UK 5.1%, Italy 4.6%, and the Netherlands 4.3%. Poland’s chief import partners in the same period were Germany 20.9%, China 14.9%, Russia 6%, Italy 5%, and the Netherlands 4.1% (Statistics Poland). In 2021, bilateral trade in goods between Poland and the United States declined to $15.6 billion, a 14.7% increase from $13.6 billion in 2020 (Census.gov). U.S. exports in goods increased from $5 billion in 2020 to $5.8 billion in 2021. However, Polish exports to the U.S. increased from $8.6 billion to $9.7 billion during the same time period (Census.gov). Poland now ranks as the United States’ 41st largest export market (ITA – Annual U.S. Goods Trade with Global Partners). There is abundant potential for U.S. firms in Poland. Poles continue to demonstrate a strong affinity for the United States and its products. This, in addition to the size and location of the domestic market, as well as the access it affords to the larger EU market, makes Poland a very promising export market for U.S. firms.
Poland is open to foreign direct investment (FDI), and U.S. companies represent one of the largest groups of foreign investors in the country at 9.4% of all FDI in Poland in 2020 (NBP). U.S. companies operate in a wide range of industry sectors, employing 290,000 people in Poland (AmCham database). Leading sectors have historically included automotive, aerospace, information technology hardware and software, food products, transportation, pharmaceuticals, paper production, appliances, and financial services. Investment and export opportunities also exist in the energy sector as Poland seeks to diversify its energy mix, as well as in defense and digital technologies. Poland is also a popular location for business processing centers, including call centers, shared services centers, and research and development (R&D) operations.