By TMF Group
Importing and exporting in Poland can be simple or full of regulation, and it all depends on where you are in the world.
One of the fastest-developing countries in the European Union (EU), and ranked as the 27th easiest country for business by the World Bank, Poland is a sought-after export destination for many foreign investors. Likewise, its highly-educated and worldly population of more than 38 million consumers drives high demand for imports, both from within and outside the EU.
Located at the crossroads of European trade and transport routes, Poland is often used as an entry point to other Central and Eastern European countries (CEE), as well as the emerging markets further east. Poland is a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and other international bodies, as well as part of the Schengen area. It also has a healthy economy, with the World Bank predicting growth of around 3% for the period 2017 to 2019, partly as a result of increased exports and domestic consumption.
Importing and exporting in Poland can be simple or full of regulation, and it all depends on where you are in the world. Being a full member of the EU means the door is open to trade from other EU countries, and that regulations are harmonised with those in the Union. However, EU regulations can be a complex thing to deal with if you are located outside of the Union; they are set up to protect the interests of members, and so you may need to work harder to be seen and heard from the Americas or Asia.
Most Polish imports are not for direct consumer consumption, but capital goods needed for manufacturing and industrial retooling. So, if you persist as an exporter, there is demand in Poland for electrical equipment, machinery, vehicles, plastics, fuels, iron and steel, ships and boats, rubber and meat. The top imported services include travel, business services, R&D, transportation, construction services and insurance services. But note: direct sales into the Polish market can be difficult. It is often more effective to approach the market through local business partners with the ability to distribute and provide local technical support. Licensing and franchising are increasingly popular.
While products and packaging should meet EU standards, labels should be in Polish. Local standards and certifications are governed by the Polish Norms Committee.
Importing in Poland
Most goods are in free circulation between EU member states and they can be easily moved without customs controls or charges. The exception, of course, is in the case of certain sensitive items, such as tobacco, weaponry, agricultural products, surveillance and goods dictated by quantitative restrictions. All EU member states subscribe to the common trade policy toward imports from third countries.
No import licenses are generally necessary within the EU, but the Union does have quantitative restrictions in position to oversee certain goods being imported from certain countries. Some goods may be liable to tariff quotas, and traders with Hong Kong should be particularly wary.
The Polish Ministry of Economy issues import permits and concessions and also regulates quotas. However, other Polish ministries have special jurisdiction over products such as: tobacco (Ministry of Agriculture); permits related to air, sea or road transport (MInistry of Transportation); or natural resources (Ministry of Environmental Protection).
In most cases, before an issuing Ministry grants import permission on a product, the product must be reviewed and recommended for import into Poland by one or more inspectorates or technical associations, depending on the nature of the product. This can be a costly, lengthy and confusing process. Some products, once imported, also require registration, especially those that can affect consumer health.
There are, naturally, restrictions in place that prohibit certain goods, including pirate or counterfeit items, chemical products, genetically-modified organisms (GMO), and live animals and animal products.
Poland has an official “import list”, which includes goods for which licenses are required, their code numbers, any applicable restrictions, and the agency that will issue the relevant license. The list also indicates whether the license is required under Polish or EU law. The license may be required from any number of official bodies, including the Ministry of Development’s Department of Trade and Services or Department of Sensitive Goods Trading and Technical Security, or the Agricultural Market Agency External Trade Office.
Exporting to Poland from outside the EU
The official model for written declarations to customs is the Single Administrative Document, or SAD, which describes goods and their movement around the world. This is essential for trade outside the EU, or of non-EU goods. Once goods are brought into the EU customs territory they are subject to customs supervision until customs formalities are completed, and are then covered by a Summary Declaration which is filed by either the person who brought the goods into the customs territory, any person who assumes responsibility for carriage of the goods following entry, or the person in whose name they are acting. This SAD serves as the EU importer’s declaration, and encompasses both customs duties and VAT. It is valid in all EU member states, and in members of the European Free Trade Association, or EFTA, which is the EU plus Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
All companies established outside of the EU are required to have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number if they want to lodge a customs declaration or an entry / exit summary declaration. This must be formally requested from the Polish authorities. Once a company has received an EORI number, it can be used for exports to any EU member state, and the owner can request Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status, which can give quicker access to certain simplified customs procedures.Restrictions and directives under EU law.
Those looking to export to Poland should also be aware of the following:
- The EU Battery Directive, which seeks to protect the environment by restricting the sale of batteries and accumulators that contain mercury or cadmium, and by promoting a high level of collection and recycling.
- Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), which applies to all chemicals manufactured or imported into the EU in quantities exceeding one metric ton.
- Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, which requires exporters to register relevant products with a national WEEE authority or arrange for this to be done by a local partner.
- Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS), which imposes restrictions on the use of certain chemicals in electrical and electronic equipment.
- EU Cosmetics Directive, which governs consumer safety.
- There are also strict regulations over agricultural and rural development, and fisheries.
Talk to us
While this is merely a brief overview, our experts in Poland can help you to navigate the minefields of importing and exporting to or from the country.
Get in touch to discuss your unique business needs.
Compliments of TMF Group , a member of the EACCNY