flag Poland Poland: Investing

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 2021 World Investment Report, FDI inflows to Poland remained stable in 2020, reaching USD 10 billion, in line with the USD 10.8 billion recorded a year earlier, despite the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic which caused a contraction of 42% of global FDI. Total investment stocks in the country stood at USD 236.5 billion in 2020. Poland ranked fifth globally in terms of the value of greenfield projects announced in the same year, for a total of USD 24.3 billion (UNCTAD). Major projects include the construction of a cloud region in Poland by Google for USD 1.8 billion. Poland is the first largest recipient of FDI inflows in Central Europe. The majority of stocks are held by the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France, with investments directed mainly towards the manufacturing, financial and insurance activities, wholesale and retail, and real estate sectors. In addition, data from the past few years showed a high percentage of investors coming from China and South Korea. According to the latest figures from OECD, in the first half of 2021 FDI inflows to Poland totalled USD 12.3 billion, up by 27.4% compared to the same period one year earlier (when FDI inflows stood at USD 9.6 billion).

Poland’s main assets are its strategic position, a large population, its European Union membership, economic stability, cheap skilled labour costs 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 FDI. Under the 2021-2027 EU budget, Poland will receive USD 78.4 billion in cohesion funds as well as approximately USD 27 billion in grants and USD 40 billion in loan access from the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility. However, Polish law limits foreign ownership of companies in selected strategic sectors and restricts 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. Overall, the Polish business climate is good and the World Bank ranks Poland 40th out of 190 countries in its latest Doing Business ranking, seven positions lower compared to the previous edition.

 
Foreign Direct Investment 201820192020
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 15,99610,85310,080
FDI Stock (million USD) 229,527234,925248,732
Number of Greenfield Investments* 445448465
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 18,22024,46224,299

Source: UNCTAD, Latest available data.

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 2019, in %
Netherlands 21.5
Germany 18.6
Luxembourg 12.6
France 8.9
Spain 4.2
Austria 3.9
Cyprus 3.9
United Kingdom 3.5
Main Invested Sectors 2019, in %
Manufacturing 32.5
Financial and insurance activities 16.3
Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles 14.9
Real estate 9.6
Professional, scientific and technical services 6.6
Information and communication 5.5

Source: OECD's Statistics - Latest available data.

 
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

Return to top

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 are 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.

Return to top

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: Doing Business - Latest available data.

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action.

Return to top

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.

Return to top

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.

Return to top

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.
 
 

Return to top

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

Return to top

Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer

Monopolistic Sectors
Energy, finance, mining.

Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.

 

© Export Entreprises SA, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: June 2022