Scotland: a trading nation

A plan for growing Scotland's exports.


Country brief

Poland has been one of the fastest developing countries in the EU in recent years. Poland is currently the eighth-largest economy in the EU (World Bank).

Poland is located at the crossroads of European trade and transport routes. It can be an entry point to other Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries as well as emerging markets further east.

Key market information

Economic indicators


GDP 2017*


GDP per capita 2017*


GDP annual growth rate 2013-2017


GDP annual growth forecast 2018-2023




Projected population growth 2017-2050 (% change)


Average tariff


Scotland’s exports to Poland


Scotland’s exports to Poland 2017


Average annual growth in Scotland’s exports to Poland 2013-2017


Country rank in Scotland’s exports 2017


Scotland’s top export sectors to Poland, 2017**

Together, these account for around 80% of Scotland's goods and services exports to Poland

1. Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing

     2. Food and Drink
     3. Technology, Digital and Media
     4. Life Sciences
     5. Wholesale and Retail Trade

Poland imports from the world


Poland goods and services imports 2017*


Poland average annual Import growth 2013-2017*


Poland Top 15 Import Sectors

Poland Top 15 Import Sectors Chart

Sources: Economic indicators (World Bank, IMF World Economic Outlook), Scotland’s Exports (Export Statistics Scotland 2017), Country Imports (World Bank, UN Comtrade).

* denotes an indicator which has been converted into GB£ from US$ using the Bank of England’s average annual spot rate data. Note growth rates may vary depending on unit of currency used.

** These figures have been suppressed to prevent disclosure.

The Polish Economy

The pharmaceutical industry, agriculture, mining, and the banking and financial services sectors are some of the largest parts of the economy.

Key economic indicators are:

  • The Polish economy has been growing steadily at 5.1% of GDP in 2018. (OECD)
  • Exports as a % of Poland’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) were 55% in 2018. (OECD)
  • Unemployment is relatively low at 4.9% in 2017. (OECD)

Poland is a member of the EU, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international bodies. Goods manufactured in Scotland are exempt from import duties.

The Department for International Trade’s guide to doing business in Poland can be found here

Strengths of the Polish market include:

Poland ranks 33rd out of 190 countries in the World Bank rankings for ease of doing business in 2018.

  • Central location in Europe
  • A large domestic market
  • A highly qualified labour force
  • Increasing transparency

Benefits for Scottish businesses exporting to Poland include:

  • Access to emerging markets
  • English widely spoken
  • Strong, dynamic economy
  • An open, maturing market

What Scotland exports to Poland

Poland is Scotland’s 20th largest export market. Exports were worth £395nm in 2017. This represents 1.2% of Scotland’s total International exports. (Export Statistics Scotland). 

The top 5 Scottish export sectors to Poland are:

  • Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing
  • Food and Drink
  • Technology, Digital and Media
  • Life and Chemical Sciences
  • Retail and Wholesale

Poland’s priority sectors for economic development include:

  • Energy
  • Railways
  • Security
  • Defence
  • Financial Services
  • Retail and Wholesale

Sectoral Opportunities

When compared to the export performance of comparator countries (Norway, Finland, Ireland and Denmark), the Polish market presents potential export opportunities in the following subsectors:

  • Chemical Sciences
  • Manufacture of Computer, Electronic and Optical Equipment
  • Food
  • Mining support
  • Research
  • Business Support
  • Engineering
  • Machinery and Equipment

Infographic showing top opportunities in PolandExisting in-market support for Scottish businesses in Poland

Scottish Development International offer support from neighbouring Germany in their office in Dusseldorf. There are 4 staff supporting trade focused on the energy, science and technology and consumer industry sectors.

Trade Envoys

Martyn O’Reilly is the Scottish Government’s Trade Envoy based in Poland and his role is to help make connections between businesses in Scotland and Poland, provide market intelligence and raise awareness of opportunities.


There are currently 3 Global Scots in Poland covering financial services and construction. Poland is a priority country for expansion of the GlobalScot network. 

Department for International Trade

Contact the Department for International Trade team in Poland for more information and advice on opportunities for doing business in Poland. 

The British Polish Chamber of Commerce can offer advice, support and introductions for businesses to the Polish Market Place through its office in Warsaw.

University links

The University of Edinburgh is collaborating with the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences on the Horizon 2020 project EUDAT which is helping bridge the gap between research infrastructures and e-Infrastructures.

The University of Dundee is involved in the BEAt-DKD project with Medical University of Silesia. BEAt-DKD is a Horizon 2020 project to help diagnose and improve treatment of Diabetic Kidney Disease.

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