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In this page: FDI in Figures | What to consider if you invest in Poland | Protection of Foreign Investment | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Office Real Estate and Land Ownership | Investment Aid | Investment Opportunities | Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer | Finding Assistance For Further Information

 

FDI in Figures

Poland figures among the most attractive countries in Europe in terms of FDI. According to UNCTAD's World Investment Report 2023, FDI inflows to Poland reached USD 29.4 billion in 2022, in line with the record-high level of USD 29.5 billion registered one year earlier and more than twice the pre-COVID level. In the same year, the total inward stock of foreign investments stood at USD 269.8 billion, around 39.2% of the country’s GDP. The National Bank of Poland (NBP) has reported that in 2022, FDI amounted to PLN 140.3 billion (4.5% of the GDP). According to the central bank, in 2022 reinvestments of profits totalled PLN 75.8 billion, inflow of capital against debt instruments amounted to PLN 35.7 billion, and inflow of capital against shares and other equity instruments came to PLN28.8 billion. The largest investors in the country in terms of stock are the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, France, and Spain; with investments directed mainly towards manufacturing (33.1%), wholesale and retail (15.7%), financial and insurance activities (11.7%), and real estate sectors (9.9% - data NBP). In the 2023 rankings by fDi Intelligence from the Financial Times group, two Polish economic zones achieved global recognition: the Katowice Special Economic Zone (KSSE) in south-western Poland secured the top spot in Europe for the seventh time and ranked fourth globally; meanwhile, the Lodz Special Economic Zone in central Poland was named the tenth best free zone worldwide. According to the latest figures from the OECD, in the first half of 2023, FDI inflows to Poland totalled USD 13.2 billion, down by 31.7% compared to the same period one year earlier (when FDI inflows stood at USD 19.3 billion).

Poland’s main assets are its strategic position, large population, its European Union membership, economic stability, skilled labour at a competitive cost and a fiscal system attractive to businesses. Moreover, Poland has a number of dynamic Special Economic Zones, and the government founded the Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIZ) to improve conditions for FDIs. However, Polish law limits foreign ownership of companies in selected strategic sectors and restricts the acquisition of real estate, especially agricultural and forest land. Furthermore, a new law came into force giving the President of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection the authority to review FDIs by non-EEA and non-OECD investors on the grounds of public security, order and health. In 2022, Poland widened and extended its controls on new foreign direct investments for another three years, until mid-2025. Overall, the Polish business climate is good and the country ranks 29th out of 82 countries in the Economist Business Environment ranking, 41st among the 132 economies on the Global Innovation Index 2023 and 42nd out of 184 countries on the 2023 Index of Economic Freedom.

 
Foreign Direct Investment 202020212022
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 15,19529,58029,462
FDI Stock (million USD) 256,008270,719269,840
Number of Greenfield Investments* 472513509
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 23,64423,16817,793

Source: UNCTAD, Latest data available.

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.

 

FDI STOCKS BY COUNTRY AND INDUSTRY

Main Investing Countries 2022, in %
Germany 19.4
France 9.1
Netherlands 8.9
United States 8.7
United Kingdom 4.9
Spain 4.3
Main Invested Sectors 2022, in %
Manufacturing 33.1
Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles 15.7
Financial and insurance activities 11.7
Real estate 9.9
Professional, scientific and technical services 9.2
Construction 5.6
Information and communication 5.4
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply 3.7

Source: OECD's Statistics, Latest data available.

 
Form of Company Preferred By Foreign Investors
Companies can be established as: joint-stock companies, limited liability companies, and partnerships.
Form of Establishment Preferred By Foreign Investors
A company
Main Foreign Companies
For a list of major foreign companies in Poland consult this link.
Sources of Statistics
Central Statistical Office

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What to consider if you invest in Poland

Strong Points

Strong points for FDI in Poland:

  • Growing economy
  • Central geographical location in the heart of Europe
  • Multilingual workforce, qualified, able to export trades (at a low cost) and whose productivity is growing rapidly
  • Stable banking sector and a controlled currency
  • A healthy and resilient economy even during economic crises
  • Unlike other Central European countries, its population does not face over-indebtedness.
Weak Points

Disadvantages for FDI in Poland:

  • Rigidity of the labour market
  • Slow administrative procedures (120th country for the speed of starting a business according to the World Bank)
  • Current account in deficit 
  • The adoption of the euro initially planned for 2012 has been jeopardised by the financial crisis, thereby delaying its beneficial effects on the economy.
  • The relatively unstable political landscape slows down the implementation of necessary reforms.
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
Poland’s well-diversified economy reduces its vulnerability to external shocks, although it depends heavily on the EU as an export market. Poland is one of the most attractive locations for foreign investments.

Regional aid is the most popular type of aid for companies carrying out investment projects in Poland. It is granted only for “initial” or “new” investments, which are generally defined as investments related to: setting-up of a new establishment; extension of the capacity of an existing establishment; diversification of the output of an establishment into products not previously produced. The maximum level of aid a project can receive depends on the size of the company and where in Poland the project is to be located.

Regional aid available in Poland can be granted in different forms, such as corporate income tax (CIT) exemption in so-called special economic zones (SEZ), government grants (support from domestic budget) and cash grants or loans from EU funds.
The government grant (Multi-Annual Support Programme – MASP) is a regional aid scheme financed by the Polish government and dedicated to supporting large investments in the so-called “priority sectors”: automotive, electronics, aviation, biotechnology, modern services (particularly IT centres, BPOs and telecommunications) and R&D;
In the case of companies registered in Poland, cash grants from EU funds can be obtained for R&D, including: Innovative new investments, which use new technologies; Energy efficiency projects; Production of energy from renewable sources.
State aid can be granted for R&D projects that carries out fundamental research; industrial research or experimental development. Entrepreneurs conducting activities in the area of research and development may benefit from an income tax relief.

Poland does place limits on foreign ownership and foreign equity for a limited number of sectors.  Polish law limits non-EU citizens to 49 percent ownership of a company’s capital shares in the air transport, radio and television broadcasting, and airport and seaport operations sectors.  Licenses and concessions for defense production and management of seaports are granted on the basis of national treatment for investors from OECD countries. The Law on Freedom of Economic Activity (LFEA) requires companies to obtain government concessions, licenses, or permits to conduct business in certain sectors, such as broadcasting, aviation, energy, weapons/military equipment, mining, and private security services.

In May 2020, the Polish government approved regulations aimed at making it difficult for investors from outside the European Union to take over at low cost companies that Poland considers strategic to its economy. The regulations were part of a government rescue package worth more than PLN 300 billion to help the country survive the new coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic crisis.

The Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH) supports both the foreign expansion of Polish business and the inflow of FDI into Poland.

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Protection of Foreign Investment

Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By Poland
Poland has signed more than 60 bilateral investment treaties. For more details consult this link.
International Controversies Registered By UNCTAD
The ISDS Navigator contains information about known international arbitration cases initiated by investors against States pursuant to international investment agreements. Poland is involved in 7 cases as Home State of claimant and in 30 cases as Respondent State.
Organizations Offering Their Assistance in Case of Disagreement
ICCWBO , International court of arbitration, International chamber of commerce
ICSID , International Center for settlement of Investment Disputes
Member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
Poland is a signatory to the Convention of the MIGA.
 
Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors Poland Eastern Europe & Central Asia United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 7.0 7.5 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 2.0 5.0 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 9.0 6.8 9.0 5.0

Source: The World Bank - Doing Business, Latest data available.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Poland allows both foreign and domestic entities to establish and own business enterprises and engage in most forms of remunerative activity per the Entrepreneurs’ Law which went into effect on April 30, 2018.
Acquisition of Holdings
Taking a majority holding in the capital of a Polish company is allowed, as long as an authorisation is obtained.
Obligation to Declare
The investment promotion agency in the country gives information about the authorisations necessary for setting up business.
Competent Organisation For the Declaration
Ministry of Environment
Ministry of the Interior
Energy Regulatory Office
National Broadcasting Council
Civil Aviation Authority
Requests For Specific Authorisations
Polish law limits non-EU citizens to 49 percent ownership of a company’s capital shares in the air transport, radio and television broadcasting, and airport and seaport operations sectors.  Licenses and concessions for defense production and management of seaports are granted on the basis of national treatment for investors from OECD countries.

The Law on Freedom of Economic Activity (LFEA) requires companies to obtain government concessions, licenses, or permits to conduct business in certain sectors, such as broadcasting, aviation, energy, weapons/military equipment, mining, and private security services.

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Office Real Estate and Land Ownership

Possible Temporary Solutions
Regus; Inoffice
The Possibility of Buying Land and Industrial and Commercial Buildings
Polish law restricts foreign investment in certain land and real estate.  Land usage types such as technology and industrial parks, business and logistic centers, transport, housing plots, farmland in special economic zones, household gardens and plots up to two hectares are exempt from agricultural land purchase restrictions.
Risk of Expropriation
Article 21 of the Polish Constitution states: "expropriation is admissible only for public purposes and upon equitable compensation." The government must pay full compensation at market value for the expropriated property.

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Investment Aid

Forms of Aid
Regional aid is the most popular type of aid for companies carrying out investment projects in Poland. Regional aid available in Poland can be granted in different forms, such as:

  • Corporate income tax (CIT) exemption in so-called special economic zones (SEZ);
  • Government grants (support from domestic budget);
  • Cash grants or loans from EU funds.

The Polish Investment Agency provides more information.

Privileged Domains
The government seeks to expand the economy by supporting high-tech investments, increasing productivity and foreign trade, and supporting entrepreneurship, scientific research, and innovation through the use of domestic and EU funding.

The government grant (Multi-Annual Support Programme – MASP) is a regional aid scheme financed by the Polish government and dedicated to supporting large investments in priority sectors (automotive, electronics, aviation, biotechnology, modern services, particularly IT centres, BPOs and telecommunications and R&D) and human capital formation.
Privileged Geographical Zones
SEZs Special economic zones were created in the mid-1990s and cover selected parts of Poland where companies can operate on preferential terms and conditions. This type of support is also a type of regional aid and is available based on a SEZ permit until the SEZ ceases existence – which at present is set for 31 December 2026 for all 14 SEZs. In the case of investment in special economic areas, investors can benefit from tax relief. Companies investing in Poland are able to benefit from corporate income tax exemption for business activities conducted within SEZs. In addition, in the case of hiring in regions with high levels of unemployment, companies can benefit from tax reductions.
Free-trade zones
There are Special Economic Zones (not free zones) , such as Mielec Euro-Park Special Economic Zone and Wałbrzych Special Economic Zone INVEST-PARK.
Public aid and funding organisations
European Union, Special Economic Zones Authorities, Ministry of Economy, local Labor Office.
 
 

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Investment Opportunities

The Key Sectors of the National Economy
Mechanical engineering, iron and steel industry, coal mining, chemical products, food processing, poultry industry, automobile.
High Potential Sectors
Information technology, business processing centres, environment and green building, cybersecurity, software for mobile applications.
Privatization Programmes
The Polish Government has invited foreign investors to participate in most of the major privatisation programmes, such that the level of foreign ownership in the Polish economy is high. This is especially the case in the banking sector, where foreign-controlled banks hold over 70% of assets. Major privatisations are finished and the focus is on consolidation and improvement of efficiency in entities still under state control.
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Tenders Info , Tenders in Poland
Ted - European Public Market , Business opportunities in EU 27
DgMarket , Tenders Worldwide

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Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer

Monopolistic Sectors
Energy, finance, mining.

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Finding Assistance For Further Information

Investment Aid Agency
Polish Agency for industrial development
Other Useful Resources
Poland's official website
Doing Business Guides
Doing Business in Poland (PwC Guide)
Guide to doing business in Poland (Garrigues)
Doing Business in Poland - UHY
 
 
 
 

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Latest Update: July 2024