Poland: Export Prospects for Developing Countries

Article excerpt

This is one of the largest and most rapidly growing markets for developing country products in central and eastern Europe.

Poland's imports have expanded rapidly over the last several years, with the share of developing countries in the total also rising at a steady pace. Among the countries of central and eastern Europe, Poland is the second largest market for developing countries, surpassed only by the Russian Federation. Poland's imports quadrupled in value between 1990 and 1993, reaching $21.3 billion. Developing countries accounted for 12%, or $2.6 billion worth of the country's total imports in 1993, compared with 7% in 1990.

Developing country producers appear to have particularly interesting opportunities in the large and extremely price-sensitive middle and lower segments of the market, which account for a large share in the turnover of fast-moving consumer goods. The success of a number of developing countries in penetrating this portion of the Polish market is a favourable indication of prospects for the future.

Import categories

Poland has become a sizeable market for developing countries not only for food products and mineral fuels, but also for manufactures. Manufactures accounted for nearly half of the country's imports from developing countries in 1992. Light manufactures, machinery and transport equipment held the largest share, about one-third of all imports from these countries. Poland also obtains a growing proportion of its imports of consumer goods from developing countries, which have become important suppliers of textiles, leather goods, clothing and electrical machinery.

Some of the country's main imports from developing countries are discussed below (see also the box on page 18).

Agro-based products:

Approximately one quarter of Poland's imports from developing, countries are agro-based products. The major items are bananas, coffee, tea, rice, cocoa beans, oilcakes and tobacco. Other significant purchases in this category are spices, fish, coconuts, grapes, corn, peanuts, palm oil, chocolate, cocoa paste and butter, preserved fruits, coffee and tea concentrates, and wine. Some agricultural products come exclusively from developing countries (for instance coconuts and peanuts).

Bananas. In 1992 Poland imported 171,700 tons of bananas from developing countries, valued at $65 million. Consumption of this fruit has been relatively high in recent years and continues to grow. The largest supplier is Ecuador, followed by Colombia and Costa Rica. Smaller quantities come from Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

Coffee. Coffee intake has been growing rapidly. Poland purchased 68,500 tons of coffee from developing countries in 1992, at a value of about $60 million. The largest source among developing countries was Indonesia, with supplies amounting to $15 million. Much smaller quantities came from Madagascar ($9 million) and Cote d'Ivoire ($8 million). This commodity was also purchased from VietNam, Thailand, India and Sierra Leone, and more limited volumes from the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Zimbabwe, Ecuador, Colombia, Cameroon and Brazil.

Tea. Poland is a major importer of tea, although coffee is increasingly preferred to tea. In 1992 tea purchased from developing countries registered 21,800 tons, worth $35 million, compared with only 12,000 tons in 1990. India, the largest supplier, provided $22.5 million worth in 1992. Other major sources were China, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Chile, Kenya and Indonesia sold small quantities to this market.

Rice. In 1992 Poland bought over 35,000 tons of rice from developing countries, at $12 million. Pakistan and Thailand were the only suppliers among developing countries that year. The largest source was China, providing nearly $10 million worth.

Cocoa beans. Poland bought 30,500 tons of cocoa beans in 1992, totalling $37 million, from developing countries. …