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14 November 2000
Poland: July 2000

“The Trade Policy Review Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) concluded its second review of Poland's trade policies on 3 and 5 July 2000. The text of the Chairperson's concluding remarks is attached as a summary of the salient points which emerged during the discussion.

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Summary of Secretariat report
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The review enables the TPRB to conduct a collective examination of the full range of trade policies and practices of each WTO member countries at regular periodic intervals to monitor significant trends and developments which may have an impact on the global trading system.

The review is based on two reports which are prepared respectively by the WTO Secretariat and the government under review and which cover all aspects of the country's trade policies, including its domestic laws and regulations, the institutional framework, bilateral, regional and other preferential agreements, the wider economic needs and the external environment. A record of the discussion and the Chairperson's summing-up together with these two reports will be published in due course at the complete trade policy review of Poland and will be available from the WTO Secretariat, Centre William Rappard, 154 rue de Lausanne, 1211 Geneva 21.

Since December 1989, the following reports have been completed: Argentina (1992 and 1999), Australia (1989, 1994 and 1998), Austria (1992), Bahrain (2000) Bangladesh (1992 and 2000), Benin (1997), Bolivia (1993 and 1999), Botswana (1998), Brazil (1992, 1996 and 2000), Burkina Faso (1998), Cameroon (1995), Canada (1990, 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1998), Chile (1991 and 1997), Colombia (1990 and 1996), Costa Rica (1995), C˘te d’Ivoire (1995), Cyprus (1997), the Czech Republic (1996), the Dominican Republic (1996), Egypt (1992 and 1999), El Salvador (1996), the European Communities (1991, 1993, 1995, 1997 and 2.000), Fiji (1997), Finland (1992), Ghana (1992), Guinea (1999), Hong Kong (1990, 1994 and 1998), Hungary (1991 and 1998), Iceland (1994 and 2000), India (1993 and 1998), Indonesia (1991, 1994 and 1998), Israel (1994 and 1999), Jamaica (1998), Japan (1990, 1992, 1995 and 1998), Kenya (1993 and 2000), Korea, Rep. of (1992, 1996 and 2000), Lesotho (1998), Macau (1994), Malaysia (1993 and 1997), Mali (1998), Mauritius (1995), Mexico (1993 and 1997), Morocco (1989 and 1996), New Zealand (1990 and 1996), Namibia (1998), Nicaragua (1999), Nigeria (1991 and 1998), Norway (1991, 1996 and 2000), Pakistan (1995), Papua New Guinea (1999), Paraguay (1997), Peru (1994 and 2000), the Philippines (1993), Poland (1993 and 2000), Romania (1992 and 1999), Senegal (1994), Singapore (1992, 1996 and 2000), Slovak Republic (1995), the Solomon Islands (1998), South Africa (1993 and 1998), Sri Lanka(1995), Swaziland (1998), Sweden (1990 and 1994), Switzerland (1991 and 1996), Tanzania (2000), Thailand (1991, 1995 and 1999), Togo (1999), Trinidad and Tobago (1998), Tunisia (1994), Turkey (1994 and 1998), the United States (1989, 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1999), Uganda (1995), Uruguay (1992 and 1998), Venezuela (1996), Zambia (1996) and Zimbabwe (1994).


We have had an open and informative discussion of Poland's trade policies. TPRB Members were clearly impressed by Poland's economic transformation to a market economy. The economy is performing robustly and future growth prospects are favourable. This has been achieved by generally prudent macroeconomic policies combined with structural reforms, particularly trade and investment liberalization. Members acknowledged the remarkable results of the Polish transition process, including in the privatization of state-owned enterprises; this has undoubtedly played a significant role in attracting foreign investment. Members commented favourably on Poland's priority target of accession to the EU which would create the opportunity for further reform as Poland increasingly harmonized its policies with EU requirements. This was to be expected given Poland's cultural and political ties.

On trade-related policies, Members appreciated Poland's active efforts within the WTO and noted its support for a broad-based round of multilateral negotiations. Members also appreciated Poland's overall commitment to liberal trade and investment policies. Some Members expressed divergent views on the net trade-creating effects of Poland's regional liberalization to date and of EU accession. While some Members justified Poland's high and increasing level of agricultural support on the grounds of multifunctionality and food security, others questioned the adverse impact these policies were having on Polish efficiency and consumers. These Members encouraged Poland to reduce market distortions on such commodities, including the use of high tariffs, price support and direct outlays, such as export subsidies and deficiency payments. Poland's application of strict SPS measures were also questioned as being overly restrictive.

Members appreciated that Poland's tariffs were generally low. Nevertheless, some Members noted that Poland's preferential rates were well below MFN levels, thereby raising concerns of possible trade diverting effects, for example, on motor vehicles. Members invited Poland to reduce the gap between preferential and MFN tariffs. They also commented on the wide tariff disparities, including high tariff peaks, and the advantages to Poland of also simplifying its tariff structure by reducing the high number of different MFN and preferential rates. Members also invited Poland to facilitate imports from developing countries, and from LDCs in particular.

Members also sought additional details in a number of areas, including:

- the balance of Poland's regional trade objectives within its multilateral goals;
- effects of EU accession on other trading partners;
- recent increases in tariffs, especially on agricultural products;
- the absence of bindings on certain products, such as motor vehicles;
- preferential tariffs, including product coverage, for developing trading partners;
- possible discriminatory impact on imports of domestic excise and other taxes;
- technical standards and conformity testing procedures;
- delays in customs clearances, including imposition of fees;
- privatization plans for difficult areas, such as hard-coal mining, steel and chemicals;
- intellectual property protection, including enforcement;
- subsidies;
- liberalization of services under GATS, and progress on ratification of the Fifth Protocol; and
- preference margins on government procurement, and Poland's intended membership of the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement.

Members appreciated the comprehensive written and oral responses provided by the Polish delegation at the meeting and its undertaking to follow up with written responses as soon as possible.

In conclusion, it is my view that Members were very appreciative of Poland's successful economic transformation, and were greatly impressed by its economic performance since the last Review in 1992. Members now have a much greater understanding of Poland's trade and trade-related policies, and encouraged Poland to continue with the reforms. While Members accepted the beneficial impact on Poland of its regional arrangements, they encouraged Poland to pursue a vigorous multilateralization of regional preferences. This would benefit not only Poland's long term economic interests but also the overall multilateral trading system.