January 22nd 2009,
Number 106




Dear Readers,

Analyses and forecasts concerning economic situation for 2009 clearly rank Poland among countries prone to keep the highest GDP growth in Europe. In this week’s Newsletter we inform about the good condition of Polish companies, faring well despite the global slowdown on world’s markets. Further information regards a contest for financial subsidies in the frame of Eastern Poland Development programme starting in February. Applications may be sent in to the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP). You may also find information on the current stages of the contest for projects in the Innovative Economy - Operational Programme (IE OP). At the end, data concerning 2008 tourist tendencies in Warsaw.

Pleasant reading!

PAIiIZ’s editorial team

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The European Commission’s forecasts for 2009 indicate that Poland is to keep one of the highest GDP in Europe

The European Commission (EC) published its latest forecast on economic situation and especially GDP growth in the EU for 2009.

The latest EC economic forecast places Poland among countries with the highest economic growth and at the same time ranks the country among those bound to retain positive GDP this year. Only Slovakia (2.7%) outstripped Poland in terms of 2008 GDP growth. On the other hand, a whole range of other European countries recorded negative results: Belgium (-1.8%), the Czech Republic (-1.7%), Hungary (-1.6%), Portugal (-1.6%), France (-1.8%), Spain (-2%), Germany (-2.3%), the UK (-2.8%) and Ireland (-5%).

The EC experts emphasised that government spending, investments and fall in inflation pressure will have a positive influence on economies.

Comparing the latest forecasts with the November prognoses, the EC lowered GDP forecasts on average by 2%. Polish GDP is expected to reach 2% against the previously estimated 3.8%. (the European Commission, Rzeczpospolita)

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Contest for projects within the programme “Eastern Poland Development” to start in February

In February the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP) opens a contest for projects in the frame of the 1.3. measure of the Eastern Poland Development 2007-2013. Beneficiaries from five voivodships situated in the east of Poland may compete for funds amounting to near 112 million EUR.

The contest is open to entrepreneurs, universities, R&D institutions, agencies and regional development foundations as well as local governments and federations of communes but also to non-governmental organisations.

Projects eligible for financial grants should concern backstage base preparation for R&D projects, building construction for scientific and research purposes as well as plans of investment lot preparation in the region of eastern Poland.

Applications may be sent in starting from the day an appropriate decree by the Minister of Regional Development comes into force till the end of September. Details regarding the contest will be published in press and on the websites of the Ministry of Regional Development and the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP).

The aim of the 1.3. EPD OP measure Support for Innovation consists in improving conditions for business activity development in Poland. Part of the projects to be realised in the frame of the 1.3. measure has already been selected during the Programme’s preparatory stage and included in the list of individual projects. The list contains projects whose realisation is bound to result vital in achieving the whole Programme’s targets.

For more information on the contests visit www.parp.gov.pl, www.mrr.gov.pl or www.PolskaWschodnia.gov.pl (PARP)

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Over ¼ of Polish companies plan to employ new workers

Every forth Polish company declares plans of staff increase in 2009. One in five firms expects better economic results than last year.

The above estimates come from a survey done by a global management consulting firm Hay Group and attended by 2600 companies from 91 countries. 100 big Polish companies participated in the survey. The “Rzeczpospolita” daily informs that while 31% of the firms fear decline in their economic performance, Polish companies still display fairly outstanding optimism.

As many as 62% of Polish companies stick to staff increase plans. Almost half of the companies want to retain the current level of employment and the remaining 25% envisage slashing jobs. Enterprises declare also reductions in budgets earmarked for prospective increase in remuneration, in fact, 2/5 of the firms have already axed planed salary rise, 17% will delay any planed salary increases and another 17% want to freeze salaries altogether. Generally, the survey suggests salary increase to hover at 3%-6%.

Companies from other parts of the world tend to be even more thrifty in economic planning as 2/3 of the firms have already adjusted or is about to introduce changes in their previously arranged salary budgets. (Rzeczpospolita, Hay Poland)

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  • 77.5% of the Polish export goes to the EU markets

    Over ¾ of Polish export is directed to the EU markets - results from the data provided by the Central Statistical Office (GUS) for January-November 2008.

    Trade balance with the EU is positive and the export excess over import recorded in that period accounted for 4.7 billion USD. The highest percentage of Polish export i.e. 25% goes to Germany. (GUS, PAP)

  • 364 projects to be granted subsidies for e-economy development

    The Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP) closed the first application round for e-economy grants for entrepreneurs. 364 projects from all over Poland will be granted financial subsidies in the frame of 8.1. and 8.2. measures of the Innovative Economy - Operational Programme (IE OP). The biggest number of grants will go to entrepreneurs from the Mazowsze and Małopolska regions while the lowest amount of projects to take advantage of the funds originates from the ¦więtokrzyskie and Lublin voivodships. (PARP)

  • Exchange rates (as of 22.01.2009):










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Polish-American industry park in Katowice

The Katowice-based industry park “Euro-Centrum” and the US-Polish Trade Council signed in Katowice a co-operation agreement. The agreement will enable both organisations to attract experience and capital from at least several American IT companies.

According to the president of Katowice Piotr Uszoka, the agreement proclaims a long-term co-operation of the Industry Park and the US-Polish Trade Council. The aim consists in enabling small size companies to develop into fully-fledged businesses and provide them with favourable work conditions. - Big companies from the sector of new technologies often look for small, effective and already experienced enterprises to either buy out or invest, provide the missing know-how and develop - said the president Uszok in an interview with PAP.

At the same time companies conducting business activity and developing research activities tend to invest in areas with substantial intellectual potential i.e. in regions where students and graduates would be able to work in the new technologies industry.

Piotr Moncarz PhD, the US-Polish Trade Council director and chairman said that DisplayLink will take advantage of the Polish know-how to develop new generation products, to date, developed only in San Francisco and Cambridge. In fact, DisplayLink specialising in simultaneous multi screen operations opened last year its R&D centre in the Katowice industry park. According to Mr Moncarz, the park is in line to attract further investment oriented to new product development.

The project "Euro-Centrum" initiated in 2005 assumes 84 companies to be created and localised in the park which are to offer employment to 800 workers. The park is situated in Katowice district called Ligota on a 3.5 ha lot and occupies 10 buildings of a former chemical machines factory. The joint office, exhibition, service, storage and production space at the disposal of the park accounts for 15 thousand sq m. A smaller part of the park is also located in Chełm ¦l±ski where on a 1 ha lot a 705 sq m building geared towards local enterprise development purposes was constructed.

The "Euro-Centrum" aims at improving the regions competitiveness through modern office and technical infrastructure thus facilitating new technologies production to be situated in the region and also easing access to consulting and training services in the field of the EU funds application. (PAP)

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SEZ vs. crisis

The Kamienna Góra Special Economic Zone is bound to issue at least six business activity permissions this year. Efforts to expand lots able to host businesses eligible to tax concessions are in progress.

Last autumn the SEZ management applied to the Ministry of Economy for a permission to change the SEZ’s borders in Lubań, Gryfów ¦l±ski, Nowogrodziec, Dobroszyce and Ostrów Wielkopolski. Thus in March this year a decision concerning elimination of lots not attracting investors’ attention should be taken. In turn, new decree will enable realisation of new projects prepared by six new investors. The projects’ realisation is bound to, in the long run, increase the SEZ’s employment rate by 20%.

- We are also in a position to include two big plants i.e. the former Kamodex in Kamienna Góra and an Olsztyn-based furniture factory. We have currently been looking for investors. - ensures Szymon Madera, president of the Kamienna Góra SEZ.

Regardless of the changes in borders of the zone, negotiations with new investors are in progress. The Zone’s management expects the majority of the companies to apply for business activity permissions what in the long-term will positively influence investment and employment rates in the region.

In 2008 the Kamienna Góra SEZ issued six permissions and entered in co-operation with another strategic investor. Toyota is about to construct a plant in Nowogrodziec. Undoubtedly last year was also successful for Ostrów Wilkopolski where three new companies decided to invest. Besides the SEZ managed to redevelop a part of the former Zakłady Naprawcze Taboru Kolejowego in Lubań and initiate the construction of another plant in Kamienna Góra.

According to president Madera, no visible drop in investors’ interest can be seen, although admittedly realisation deadlines of selected construction projects were postponed. It is also estimated that job reductions which may take place, should not exceed employment levels declared in agreements allowing business activity in the SEZ.

The role and positive impact the Kaminenna Góra - based SEZ exerts on the whole region earned it the Dolny ¦l±sk Economic Certificate. It was the SEZ’s contribution to the region’s development, service quality improvement, innovation and employment increase that helped the SEZ in acquiring the distinction indicating the place’s economic and residents' friendly environment. (Kamienna Góra SEZ)

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HSBC report: Polish economy the strongest in the CEE region

HSBC analysts claim that the Polish economy has solid foundations protecting it from the effects of the global economic slowdown and allowing it to retain its good economic condition in 2009. In this respect Poland stands out from among other countries of the region already suffering from the economic upheaval.

HSBC, one of the biggest world banks, published its economic forecasts for the current year. In the Global Economics 2009 report, the bank analyses all European economies. The preliminary economic forecasts for the Polish economy and the outlook for the general economic situation give scope for moderate optimism. According to the HSBC data, Poland results to have the most stable economy in the CEE region and is expected to suffer from the economic slowdown to a less extend than other countries of the region. Ukraine is prone to suffer most severely as the country faces not only another political crisis but also a possible GDP fall, bound to dip to -9%. Also Russia and Hungary should get ready for negative GDP dynamics which is estimated to hover at -2%. Juliet Samson, chief HSBC economist for EMEA, confirms that Poland stands a good chance of avoiding the most serious problems normally connected with global slowdown.

Juliet Samson emphasised also that Poland may still count on a 3% economic growth in 2009 which is mainly feasible thanks to low tax rates, strong internal demand and UE funds inflow. At the same time the HSBC specialists predict the fall in export to become the country’s biggest problem. Yet due to the fact that the share of export in the Poland’s GDP does not exceed 33%, the country should not suffer from the shrinking export performance to a similar extend as other countries in the region, e.g. in the Czech Republic export forms 66% of the national GDP and 69% in Hungary. Poland faces also a potential slowdown in investment inflow although there are projects initiated in 2008 to be continued and completed in the current year. (HSBC, wnp.pl)

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8.9 million tourists visited Warsaw in 2008

According to a survey conducted by IPSOS at the request of the Warsaw City Council, last year the capital of Poland hosted 8.9 million tourists.

Source: Warsaw City Council

The Warsaw Tourist Office at the capital’s City Council presented a summary of the 2008 tourist season in Warsaw. Results of the survey conducted by IPSOS were presented on a press conference. - The survey was conducted between March and December 2008, what gives a fairly in-depth insight into tourist tendencies in the capital - said Katarzyna Ratajczyk, director of the Promotion Department at the Warsaw City Council.

In 2008 Warsaw was visited by 8.9 million tourists i.e. both foreign and Polish visitors who spent at least one night in the city. The number accounts for double the amount of tourists who visited Krakow i.e. 4.1 million. City sightseeing ranks among the major aims of visiting the city. It is the Poles from abroad who stay the longest i.e. more than 10 days while young people between 20-24 tend to stay for over 6 days. From among European countries German visitors are the most numerous.

Also the number of business trips to Warsaw is on the rise. - It is worth emphasising that business tourists tend to spend four times more than an “ordinary” tourist. - says Barbara Tekieli, director of the capital’s Official Tourist Office. Ms Tekieli provided details on tourist service in the capital for 2008 emphasising the undoubtedly record-high number of tourist publications issued last year i.e. over 1 million and the astounding 250 thousand guests served by the Warsaw tourist information points. Ms Katarzyna Ratajczyk informed also about a publication of a 4 sheet Warsaw city plan prepared in Braille which is to be distributed in associations, schools and libraries geared towards the blind. (Warsaw City Council)

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