Poland, the sixth most populous member of the European Union (EU) and the largest country in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region, is bordered by Germany in the west, Czech Republic and Slovakia in the south, Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania in the east and Baltic Sea in the north. Despite its vast destruction in World War II, Poland managed to achieve a high ranking in terms of “human development” and to preserve much of its cultural wealth.
Poland is a democracy with a President as Head of State and the government structure is managed by Council of Ministers led by a Prime Minister. The President is elected by popular vote every five years. Presently, Mr. Bronislaw Komorowski is the President and Mr. Donald Tusk is the Prime Minister. Mr. Tusk was re-elected as Prime Minister in 2011. The Polish parliament consists of a 460-member lower house and a 100-member Senate.
Poland is part of the Schengen Area and the EU single market. It joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004. The present day Poland, being the leading producer of potatoes and rye in Europe, is a country with great agricultural prospects and is often described as the future “bread basket of the European Union”.
Full Name : Republic of Poland
Capital : Warsaw
Type of Government : Republic
Area : 312,685 Square Kilometer
Population : 38,415,284 (July 2011 est.)
Language : Polish (97.8%)
Life expectancy : 72 years (men), 80 years (women)
Per capital GDP : US$ 20,100 (2011 est.)
GDP : US$ 765.6 billion (2011 est.)
Monetary Unit : 1 Polish zloty = 100 grosz
Poland's high income economy is considered to be one of the healthiest and fastest growing economies within the EU. Poland has pursued a policy of economic liberalization since 1990 and to-day stands out as a success story among transition economies.
The factors like strong domestic market, low private debt, flexible currency and non-dependency on a single export sector have made Poland a high income economy. Poland is the only European economy to have avoided the late 2000s recession and is a successful example of the transition from a centrally planned economy to a primarily market-based economy. As of now, the Polish economy has not entered a recession in the wake of the global financial crisis.
Restructuring and privatization of “sensitive sectors” such as coal, steel, rail transport and energy has been continuing since 1990. The biggest privatization has been the sale of the national telecom firm, Telekomunikacja Polska, to France Telecom in 2000. During the transformation to a market-oriented economy, the government privatized some banks, recapitalized the rest and introduced legal reforms that made the sector competitive.
Structural reforms in health care, education, the pension system and state administration have resulted in larger than expected fiscal pressures. GDP growth had been strong and steady since 1993 to 2000, with only a short slowdown from 2001 to 2002.
Although the Polish economy is currently undergoing development phase, there are many challenges ahead. The most notable task on the horizon is to prepare the economy allowing Poland to meet the strict economic criteria for entry into the Euro zone. The electricity generation sector in Poland is still largely fossil fuel based as renewable forms of energy currently only account for a small proportion of Poland's full energy generation capacity. However, the government has set targets for the development of renewable energy sources in Poland through the construction of wind farms and a number of hydro-electric stations.
Poland is a major part of the global tourism market and is currently experiencing an upward trend in its number of visitors, a trend which began shortly after joining the European Union. Tourism in Poland contributes to the country's overall economy and makes up a relatively large proportion of the country's service market. The most attractive urban destinations for tourists are Warsaw, Kraków, Wrocław, Poznań, Lublin and Toruń. Popular areas of natural beauty include Poland's Masurian Lake District and Białowieża Forest. Poland's main tourist offerings are city-sightseeing and extra-urban historical monuments, business trips, agrotourism, and mountain hiking. Poland was the 17th most visited country by foreign tourists in 2008.
Bilateral relations between Poland and Pakistan
Poland was one of aid contributors in 2005 Kashmir earthquake. Poland sent its military engineers, geological scientists, and rescue dogs. Poland also helped Pakistan to rebuild the earthquake-affected cities.
As of 2010, the bilateral trade reached $210 million dollars. Poland facilitated a number of Pakistani companies to open their offices in Poland to cater for the regional European market. Poland is considered as the largest shale gas repository and prominent geological surveying and exploration companies have business and investment relations with Pakistan.
The trading relationship between Pakistan and Poland emerged during the Government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Poland and Pakistan signed trade agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation on September 25, 1974. Pakistan and Poland signed another agreement on maritime trade on January 25, 1975. An agreement on civil aviation was signed on September 30, 1977. Trade relations improved when President of Pakistan paid a three-day official visit to Poland in April2007. Five bilateral agreements and MoUs covering mutually beneficial co-operation in the fields of defense, small and medium size enterprises, education, science, culture, economic co-operation, and the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry were signed. In near future, Poland is establishing a University of Silesia campus in Karachi. The results of the visit by Polish Trade Mission to Karachi in April 2009 were the signing of MoA for distribution and manufacturing of LPG Storage Tanks and other allied equipment and parts.
Opportunities for Pakistan
Pakistani experts, in the field of information technology, have caught attention of Polish companies leading them to build alliances. Since it is located in the centre of Europe, Poland could serve as a launching pad and a spring board for Pakistani products in Europe. Pakistan has several products that can be of interest to Poland, such as sports goods, surgical instruments, textiles and made ups, leather and its products, rice and horticulture products. Poland can supply electric equipment to Pakistan including diesel generators, railway equipment, agriculture machinery and spare parts, heavy vehicles and marine and diesel engines.
What does Poland Export?
Cars and other vehicle parts, color TV, ships & boats, furniture and parts, perfumery & cosmetics, unwrought copper & copper alloys, electric wire, iron/ steel structures, parts of telecom & sound recording equipment, medicaments, digital data processing machines, cigarettes, trucks & vans.
What does Poland Import?
Crude petroleum, cars and other vehicle parts, medicaments, ships & boats, electronic micro-circuits, optical instruments, chemical products, perfumery & cosmetics.
By Muhammad Arsalan