Poland - Foreign Trade
Economic liberalization in Poland has led to a gradual opening up of the economy. Exports accounted for 40.4 percent of GDP in 2006, 40.8 percent in 2007 and, according to preliminary data, 39.4 percent in 2008. Imports accounted for 42.2 percent of GDP in 2006, 43.7 percent in 2007 and, according to preliminary data, 42.8 percent in 2008.
As the economic transformation in Poland has progressed, the focus of trade has shifted from central and eastern European countries towards the EU countries. According to preliminary data, in 2008, trade with EU countries accounted for 77.5 percent of Poland's exports and 61.4 percent of its imports. Germany is Poland's largest trading partner, accounting for 25.0 percent of exports and 22.8 percent of imports in 2008. In 2008, trade with EU countries other than Germany accounted for 52.5 percent of exports and 38.6 percent of imports.
Poland's external trade is dominated by intra-industry trade (for example, exports and imports of commodities in the same industry or production group in a given time). The most significant export items in 2008 were machinery and transport equipment (for example, cars, vehicles, ships, boats, parts and accessories to motor vehicles), manufactured goods and miscellaneous manufactured articles (for example, other consumer goods). The most significant imported items are similar to those which dominate exports, with chemicals and related products playing a relatively more important role than in the case of exports. Imports consist mostly of manufactured goods. Measured by official balance of payments statistics, the trade deficit was U.S.$5.6 billion in 2004, U.S.$2.8 billion in 2005, U.S.$7.0 billion in 2006, U.S.$15.6 billion in 2007 and U.S.$24.4 billion in 2008. Poland's exports of goods in U.S. dollar terms have grown from approximately U.S.$18.4 billion in 1994 to U.S.$177.3 billion in 2008.
Up to the end of 2005 Poland had experienced an improvement in the balance of trade, as a result of exports growing faster than imports. In 2006, this situation reversed and the balance of trade deteriorated as a result of faster growth of imports than exports, mainly due to the stronger zloty. This trend continued in 2007 and 2008.
In 2005, the value of exports increased by 17.8 percent, while the value of imports increased by 13.3 percent. In 2006, the value of exports increased by 21.9 percent and the value of imports increased by 25.5 percent. In 2007, the value of exports increased by 23.7 percent and the value of imports increased by 30.5 percent. In 2008, the value of exports increased by 22.0 percent and the value of imports increased by 24.2 percent.
The growth of Polish exports can be attributed to a much higher growth in demand in Poland's main export markets, as well as improvement in price competitiveness of, and demand for, Polish goods. Much of the rise in exports stemmed from significant growth in sales of machinery and transport equipment (for example, cars, vehicles, ships, boats and parts and accessories to motor vehicles).
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