Poland - Commercial Guide
Market Challenges

Learn about barriers to market entry and local requirements, i.e., things to be aware of when entering the market for this country.

Last published date: 2019-10-13

Poland’s GDP per capita of  USD 33,472 continues to be less than  Western EU countries, representing 70 percent of the EU average.  Net household disposable income is USD 19,814, less than the OECD average of USD 33,604.  There is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20% of the population earn close to five times as much as the bottom 20%.

Poland’s overall commercial climate is positive.  The country is open to foreign investment as a source of capital, growth and jobs, and as a vehicle for technology transfer, research and development (R&D), and integration into global supply chains.  There are some limits on foreign ownership of companies in selected strategic sectors, and limits on the acquisition of real estate, especially agricultural and forest land.   In March 2018, the Sunday Trade Ban legislation went into effect, which is gradually phasing out Sunday retail commerce in Poland.  In 2019, stores may operate one Sunday a month, and in 2020 a total ban will be in effect.  Polish authorities have publicly favored introducing a digital services tax.  Since no draft has been released, the details of such a tax are unknown, but it would mainly affect foreign digital companies. Some investors have expressed concern about a lack of predictability, noting that policies are sometimes introduced quickly and without broad consultation, and that the role that state-owned firms have in the Polish economy can create obstacles to long-term growth. 

There are concerns that increased spending on social benefits and higher defense spending coupled with a reduction in the retirement age and a tight labor market will constrain GDP growth going forward, Poland’s economy is projected to perform well in the next few years in part because of an anticipated cyclical increase in the use of its EU development funds and continued, robust household spending.  Poland’s low birth rate, fast growth and emigration have created a shortage of labor.   Low unemployment in the larger cities drives firms to compete for qualified workers, and Poland has seen an influx of foreign workers, many from Ukraine, who help to balance any loss of domestic workers. 

Poland is among the global leaders for doing business and was ranked Poland 33rd on the World Bank’s  “Ease of Doing Business Index.”  Compared to other countries, Poland does well when it comes to cross-border trading and credit access and is improving in areas such as enforcing contracts and collecting taxes. Corruption is not a widespread problem in Poland. The country ranks 36th out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index.