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3.5 Potential trade opportunities

Overview

As early as in the 1990s, EU countries were the major trading partners with Poland.  Now Germany is the country’s biggest export destination and import source, sharing 26% and 22% in Poland’s total exports and total imports respectively, in 2009. While European countries maintain a dominant share in Poland’s external trade, Poland’s imports from Asia have been ever-increasing in recent years, thanks to the rising interests in sourcing from Asia, especially the Chinese mainland. In 2009, China was the second largest supplier of Poland, sharing more than 9% the country’s total imports.

Foreign trade turnover in Poland

Source: GUS

Given their small order size, Polish importers used to rely heavily on Western European distributors, for example, German, to import bulk quantities from the Far East, resulting in an increase of import costs by as high as of 20-30%. This situation has changed in recent years, since Asian suppliers, including Hong Kong and mainland companies, reduced their minimum order quantities due to more intense competition in mature markets. Meanwhile, on the back of a strengthening of import demand, Polish importers’ ability in placing larger orders with overseas suppliers has also been enhanced. While some Polish importers have started to increase sourcing from Asia through traders/agents, many others are considering or utilising the option of direct imports.

Polish imports by country, 2009 (Total: US$150 billion)

Total imports by countries, 2009

 

 

US$ million

% Growth 08/09

% Share in 2009

1.

Germany

33,419

-31.2

22.4

2.

China

13,914

-17.2

9.3

3.

Russia

12,834

-37.5

8.5

4.

Italy

10,166

-25.7

6.8

5.

France

6,893

-30.7

4.6

6.

Netherlands

5,435

-24.9

3.6

7.

Czech Republic

5,400

-28.3

3.6

8.

Republic of Korea

4,481

-13.1

3.0

9.

United Kingdom

4,418

-26.0

3.0

10.

Belgium

3,467

-31.0

2.3

Source: GUS

Polish exports by country, 2009 (Total: US$137 billion)

Total exports by countries, 2009

 

 

US$ million

% Growth 08/09

% Share in 2009

1.

Germany

35,680

-17.2

26.1

2.

France

9,499

-11.0

6.9

3.

Italy

9,341

-9.1

6.9

4.

United Kingdom

8,772

-11.4

6.4

5.

Czech Republic

8,006

-18.3

5.8

6.

Netherlands

5,799

-16.1

4.2

7.

Russia

5,015

-43.8

3.7

8.

Hungary

3,699

-22.8

2.7

9.

Sweden

3,667

-32.9

2.7

10.

Spain

3,590

-17.2

2.6

Source: GUS

Despite captivating suppliers worldwide, Poland is still very much uncharted territory to most Hong Kong suppliers. While Hong Kong’s exports to the region remain scanty, sales growth has been impressive in recent years. 

Hong Kong’s trade with Poland

Source: Census & Statistics Department, HKSAR Government

Thanks to limited production of consumer goods in Poland, Hong Kong’s trade with Poland has fared well in recent years. Over the past six years, Hong Kong’s total exports to Poland expanded by 84% or a compound annual growth rate of 13%. Riding on Poland’s resilient economic performance during the global recession and a gradual global recovery, trade between Hong Kong and Poland is expected to maintain its momentum over the coming years, taking into account the growing trend of direct sourcing among Polish companies. Product-wise, Hong Kong companies look set to have good potential in electronics (including parts and components), gifts and premium, fashion products, toys and games, jewellery, and watches and clocks from a medium- to long-term perspective.

Hong Kong’s total exports of selected products to Poland

(US$ million)

2006

2007

2008

2009

Value

Growth

Value

Growth

Value

Growth

Value

Growth

Total exports

462

+31%

612

+32%

726

+19%

533

-27%

Electronics^

251

+39%

333

+33%

388

+17%

260

-33%

Telecom equipment

20

+20%

49

+141%

95

+96%

67

-29%

AV equipment

40

+15%

58

+44%

87

+49%

39

-56%

IT equipment

42

-16%

52

+25%

59

+13%

46

-21%

Gifts and premium*

72

+32%

97

+36%

121

+25%

95

-21%

Household electrical appliances

9

+9%

10

+4%

25

+160%

27

+10%

Fashion products

78

+24%

97

+25%

104

+7%

73

-30%

Clothing

57

+26%

66

+14%

69

+6%

54

-23%

Footwear

5

-10%

9

+88%

6

-40%

5

-13%

Travel goods and handbags

16

+30%

22

+42%

29

+31%

14

-52%

Toys and games

38

+38%

50

+33%

60

+20%

47

-22%

Jewellery

5

+71%

10

+114%

20

+89%

14

-27%

Watches and clocks

10

+40%

14

+35%

13

-10%

14

+13%

^ Includes finished electronic products and parts and components of electronic products
* Includes items covered in other categories
Source: Census & Statistics Department, HKSAR Government

Hong Kong as a platform for Sino-Polish trade

Sharing a common communist background, Poland maintains a close trade relation with China. While Poland, with rising incomes, has been buying more from China, the country has also been exporting more to China in recent years. Despite the global recession, Poland’s imports from China expanded by 310% or a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33% during 2004-2009, while Poland’s exports to China grew by 208% or a CAGR of 25%. This encouraging growth trend is not expected to taper despite the economic slowdown in Europe, but gather steam as Polish companies will continue their journey to the East, especially the Chinese mainland, for sourcing products that can offer better value for money, while Chinese enterprises will continue their investment and commercial presence in Poland.

Bilateral trade between Poland and China

Source: China Customs

While the presence of Hong Kong companies or investors in Poland remains rather low, Hong Kong, as a facilitator, will have an increasing role to play amid ever-growing Sino-Poland economic trade and investment. Apart from the provision of various trade-related services such as financial and logistic supports to traders and investors from both sides, Hong Kong can leverage on its knowledge and network in the Asian region to assist Polish traders and investors to explore the lucrative Asian market, while helping Chinese enterprises to use Poland as a gateway to the gigantic EU market given its extensive experience of doing trade in Europe.

 

Content provided by Hong Kong Trade Development Council
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