Country Listing

Poland Table of Contents



Salient Features: Wide-ranging measures taken beginning in 1990 to convert communist economy into market-oriented system, including commercialization of interest and exchange rates, abolition of price subsidies and wage indexation, and encouragement of foreign investment. Enterprise privatization, a central policy goal, met with uneven success; substantial portion of production capacity remained state-owned in 1993.

Mining: Major deposits of industrially useful minerals exploited, including coal, copper, lead, zinc, sulfur, and salt. Natural gas and petroleum reserves expanded, with new gas discoveries 1980s and early 1990s.

Energy: Coal, major energy source, generated 70 percent of electrical power, 80 percent of total energy, 1989. Imported and domestic petroleum and natural gas other major fuels. Imported fuel and power 21 percent of total import expenses in 1990. Nuclear program ended for financial, environmental reasons. Major reorganization planned for fuel-energy sector in early 1990s, including market pricing.

Manufacturing: Employed 25.2 percent of labor force in 1989. Principal branches food products, machinery and computer equipment, metals and metal products, textiles and clothing, transport equipment (including ships), and chemical products. In light and heavy industry, many plants outmoded and required wholesale modernization and Western investment. After 1990 consumer goods production up to bolster exports.

Agriculture: Never collectivized on large scale in communist era. In 1989 some 79 percent of agricultural production from private land, 17 percent from state farms. In 1989 agriculture employed 25.7 percent of labor force. Private farms, much more numerous, also mostly small and inefficient, suffering from poor availability of materials and infrastructure. Major reform and land redistribution contemplated. Main products: grains, potatoes, sugar beets, fodder, pigs, and cattle.

Foreign Trade: Principal exports coal, copper, coke, sulfur, ships, foods, and chemicals. Principal imports crude oil, iron ore, fertilizers, wheat, machinery, and electronic equipment. Maintained 60 percent of trade with members of Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon) in 1980s; major shift away from that group by 1990. Associate membership in European Community (EC) 1991 began reemphasis on opening Western markets; Comecon group export share declined to 9.8 percent 1991.

Currency: Zloty; exchange rate March 1993, US$1 equalled 15,900 zlotys (see Glossary).

Fiscal Year: calendar year.

Data as of October 1992