MAJOR MACRO ECONOMIC INDICATORS
|GDP growth (%)||1.8||1.7||3.2||3.0|
|Inflation (yearly average) (%)||3.7||0.8||0.1||0.8|
|Budget balance (% GDP)||-3.7||-4.0||-3.3||-3.0|
|Current account balance (% GDP)||-3.8||-1.4||-2.0||-2.2|
|Public debt (% GDP)||54.4||55.7||49.0||50.0|
(e) Estimate (f) Forecast
- Market of 38 million inhabitants
- Proximity to West European markets
- Price competitiveness and qualified and inexpensive labour
- Integration into the German production chain
- Primary beneficiary of European structural funds
- Diversified economy (agriculture, various industries and services)
- Resilient financial sector
- Coal resources
- Insufficient investment/insufficient domestic savings
- Weakness in research and development
- Companies and banks dependent on their foreign parent companies
- Significant regional disparities between western and central Poland and the border regions with Ukraine and Belarus.
- High structural unemployment
- Demographic decline
Dynamic growth driven by domestic demand
In 2014, growth was dynamic, benefiting both from the resumption in domestic demand and the recovery in the Eurozone, particularly Germany, in the 1st half-year. The reduction in exports to Russia (4% of the total) had a limited effect. In 2015, growth should stabilise at a satisfactory level. Domestic demand will remain strong, with unemployment that will continue to decline and income that will benefit from low inflation, wage increases, a rise in small pensions and tax reductions for dependent children. Despite deceleration due to geopolitical uncertainties and the sluggish Eurozone, investment will retain its dynamism. The accessibility of credit will have a favourable effect. On the other hand, external trade will contribute slightly negatively to growth because, while imports will be driven by the dynamism of domestic demand, exports will remain confronted with external demand that is still disappointing. However, if the crisis in Eastern Europe does not get worse, exports (agri-food, automobiles, machines, household appliances and furniture) should gradually become more dynamic, in phase with the West European economy, particularly the German one (1/4 of outlets). As in 2014, companies will benefit from the dynamism of domestic demand, which is more than twice as big in the economy as exports.
Respectable public finances in spite of a flexible fiscal policy
In spite of a fiscal policy that has remained accommodating since the beginning of the crisis, the deficit and public debt have increased moderately. In 2014, the public finances benefited from the nationalisation of pension funds, which constitute the secondary cornerstone of pensions and, to a lesser extent, the increase in income related to the acceleration of growth. In 2015, the improvement will be less because, firstly, growth will be stable and secondly, the benefit of the pension reform will be limited to the retention of the pension contributions previously paid to the pension funds. Furthermore, the increase in social expenditure will not be compensated by the maintenance of the temporary freeze in civil servants' salaries.
European funds, competitive exports and transfers from emigrants strengthen the external accounts
The current deficit has reduced considerably in parallel with the reduction of the trade deficit. Furthermore, it is amply financed by European structural funds, which were renewed until 2020. Also, trade in services is in surplus thanks to tourism and international road transport, as are transfers, due to the increased presence of Polish workers in Western Europe. Lastly, European investments remain at a satisfactory level due to the integration of Polish production facilities into the European chain, the importance of the domestic market and the competitiveness of agri-food and manufacturing production. External debt represents 73% of GDP, but it is stable and more than a third corresponds to commitments of companies or banks in relation to their parent companies. However, more than half is denominated in euros, hence the monitoring performed by the central bank on the zloty, which has also been stable against the euro since 2012.
In spite of the European commitment, adopting the euro is not on the agenda
The centre-right government formed by the Civic Platform and the Polish People's Party, in place since 2007 and directed by Ewa Kopacz since the departure of Donald Tusk for the presidency of the European Council, will end its term of office in autumn 2015. Until then, few political initiatives are expected. Even though the country does not have a dispensation from the obligation to join the euro zone and, consequently, the banking union, adoption of the euro is not on the agenda, especially as the conservative Law and Justice Party of the former president Kaczynski, the incarnation of euroscepticism, is quite high in the polls. A NATO member, the country plans to spend more than €30 billion (the equivalent of nearly 1% of GDP) in modernising its defence equipment over the next ten years. This is in addition to the ordinary defence budget (1.95% of GDP). Also, the country intends to reduce its energy dependency on Russia, which covers 30% of its requirements and with which it has a common border via the enclave of Kaliningrad.
Standard bills of exchange and cheques are not widely used, as they must meet a number of formal issuing requirements in order to be valid.
Nevertheless, for dishonoured and protested bills and cheques, creditors may resort to a fast-track procedure resulting in an injunction to pay.
However one kind of bill of exchange is commonly used - it is thewekselin blanco, an incomplete promissory note bearing only the term "weksel" and the issuer’s signature at the time of issue.
The signature constitutes an irrevocable promise to pay and this undertaking is enforceable upon completion of the promissory note (amount, place and date of payment) in accordance with a prior agreement between issuer and beneficiary.
Wekselsin blancoare widely used, as they also constitute a guarantee of payment in commercial agreements and the rescheduling of payments.
Cash payments were commonly used in Poland by individuals and firms alike, but under the “Freedom of business activity Act” (Ustawa o swobodzie działalności gospodarczej), of 2 July 2004, which came into force on 21st August 2004, companies are required to make settlements via bank accounts for any transaction exceeding the equivalent in złotys of 15,000 Euros even when payable in several instalments.
This measure aims to counter fraudulent money laundering.
Bank transfers have become the most widely used payment method. Leading Polish banks – after an initial phase of privatisation and a second phase of concentration – use the SWIFT network, which offers a cheap, flexible and quick domestic and international funds transfer service.
Standard court procedure can be also fast and effective when creditor can provide documents from which clearly shows the amount of debt and the confirmation of delivery of the goods (or the proper performance of services) – especially documents approved (signed) by the debtor.
Court issues an order of payment which states that debtor should pay amount of debt in two weeks or set an written argue (in the same period of time). When order of payment is not argued and becomes enforceable court gives back ¾ of court fee paid by creditor with lawsuit (5% of the amount in dispute).
However in standard procedure it is quite easy for defendant to postpone the case. When defendant argues at the order of payment in this kind of procedure than it can take a long time before final verdict due to the lack of judges and large number of cases held in courts.
Since the term of limitation for receivables arising from a merchandise sales contract, and any ensuing past-due interest, is only two years, suppliers should exercise extreme vigilance.
From 1st January 2004, interest may be claimed as of the 31st day following delivery of the product or service, even where the parties have agreed to a longer payment time. The legal interest rate will apply from the 31st day until the contractual payment date.
Thereafter, in case of late payment, the tax penalty rate will apply and it will very often be higher than the legal interest rate, unless the contracting parties have agreed on a higher interest rate.
A Bill to implement the directive 2011/7/EU of 16 February 2011 on “combating late payment in commercial transactions” provides between the contracting parties a maximum payment term of 60 days. Similarly, default interest will be due the day after the deadline, without the need for a formal notice.
Implementing EU Directive, Poland introduced new rules regarding compensation for payment default in commercial transactions. The Act (Ustawa z dnia 8 marca 2013 r. o terminach zapłaty w transakcjach handlowych (Dz.U. 2013 nr 0 poz. 403)) imposed on debtors to pay the costs of recovery when the payment term expires. This amount is 40 euros - lump sum and it is possible to demand a larger amount if the costs of recovery will prove to be higher.
It is also advisable to seek an out-of-court settlement based on a payment schedule drawn up by a public notary, which includes anenforcement clausethat allows creditors, in the event of default by the debtor, to go directly to the enforcement stage, subject to acknowledgement by the court of the binding nature of this document.
Creditors may seek an injunction to pay (nakaz zaplaty) via a fast-track and less expensive procedure, provided they produce positive proof of debt (like unpaid bills of exchange, unpaid cheques orwekselsin blanco, or else acknowledgements of debt). If the judge is not convinced of the substance of the claim – a decision he alone is empowered to make – he may refer the case to full trial.
Since 1st January 2010, when the claims are certain, the district court of Lublin has jurisdiction throughout the country, to handle electronic injunctions to pay.
The clerk of the court examines the merits of the application, to which is attached the list of the available evidence, then, with its electronic signature, he validates the ruling granting the injunction to pay.
This procedure appeared to be fast, economic and flexible but it turned out that it can be quite opposite due to enormous amount of cases which are conducted.
Ordinary proceedings are partly in writing with the parties filing submissions accompanied by all supporting case documents (original or certified copies) and partly oral with the litigants, their lawyers, and their witnesses heard on the main hearing date.
At such legal proceedings, the judge is required, as far as possible, to attempt conciliation between the parties.
Although each party bears his own legal costs incurred in the course of the proceedings, after making a ruling the court will generally require the losing party to bear most of the cost of the procedure.
Commercial disputes are generally heard by the economic courts (sąd gospodarczy), falling under the jurisdiction of either district courts (sąd rejonowy) or regional courts (sąd okręgowy), depending on the value of the claim.