Poland flag Poland: Investing in Poland

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Poland

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 40th out of 177 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 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.

 
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.

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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.
Bilateral investment conventions signed by Poland
Poland has signed more than 60 bilateral investment treaties. For more details consult this link.

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Latest Update: February 2024