Poland achieved a foreign trade surplus for the first time in history in January-May this year, according to the data of stats office GUS. Foreign trade balance in the period showed a token surplus of EUR 65 mln. The following is a list of Poland's 9 greatest export ”hits” - products whose foreign sales contributed to this historic change in the Polish economy.
Poland holds a strong position on the European market in terms pork exports, but it is frequently facing barriers and obstacles that hamper its growth.
In 2013, exports rose on big foreign demand for pork, despite the decline in swine population in Poland. Polish exports of swine, meat, fat and skin hit a record value of some EUR 986 mln, up by 14.5% on EUR 861 mln in 2012.
However, already in February this year, Polish pork exports fell by 14% y/y as the Eurasian Customs Union (Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan) banned the imports after the ASF (African Swine Fever) virus was found on the territory of Poland.
The ASF virus detection also took its toll on exports to Ukraine, which dropped by 89%, Japan (-41%), South Korea (-31%) and China (-19%). At the same time, an increase was recorded in Polish pork exports to most EU states, including Slovakia (+38%), Germany (+29%) and Italy (+27%). In January-February 2014, Polish exports of swine, meat, fat and skin reached 98k tons, down by 1% y/y.
7. TV sets
Poland is also one of the biggest TV set makers in Europe. Among producers based in the country, there are such concerns as LG, Sharp, Toshiba or Samsung.
Similarly as in household appliances sector, most of the output – some 90% - is sold abroad. But such dependence on foreign markets resulted in a collapse of production following the outbreak of the crisis in the euro-zone, even if last year brought a deceleration of the negative trend. Over 20 mln TV sets and monitors a year roll off production lines in Poland, according to the data of stats office GUS.
“This results from the fact that we are good, we are appreciated in Europe and beyond,” Polish household appliances employers' lobby CECED Polska representative Wojciech Konecki told broadcaster Polskie Radio in early May. Poland is known to be a “very good location” for TV sets and washing machine production, he added. “Poland produces over 20 mln TV sets already and half of European sales come from Poland – these are massive amounts.”
Polish furniture exports should grow to EUR 7.3 bln in 2014 from EUR 6.9 bln a year earlier, furniture industry researcher B+R Studio estimates.
90% of furniture made in Poland is exported. As a result, the segment is not only important for the Polish economy in general, but it also constitutes the key component in the structure of the Polish exports – in 2013, furniture exports were worth more than the entire exports to Italy (EUR 6.57 bln).
Germany is the biggest importer of Polish furniture. Poland is also increasingly exporting to non-EU states, among others to the Middle Eastern markets, and successfully realizing contracts with African countries.
In terms of output, Poland ranks number four in Europe, after Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. In the global comparison, also the US, China and Brazil are ahead of Poland in terms of furniture production.
In the Polish ship and boat building industry, nearly 1k companies are active in the field of yacht and yacht fittings production, show the GUS data. According to the Polish yacht industry and water sports chamber PIPJSW, some 22k yachts are made a year.
Polish producers specialize in exports – nearly 95% of yachts made by Polish shipyards are sold to foreign customers. Most go to markets such as France, Germany, Spain and Scandinavia. Poland also holds the impressive position of the world's second-biggest (after the US) producer of boats with a length of up to 10 meters.
While the value of Polish yacht exports represents as little as 0.15% of the entire exports value, it is one of the few industry branches in Poland where so many firms enjoy the status of international luxury brands.
For example, Gdansk-based Sunreef, the world's sole serial producer of large catamarans, launched a catamaran worth almost EUR 11 mln in July 2010, the biggest catamaran in the world at the time. Sunreef is currently the leader in its market segment.