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Poland

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Poland country brief

Key engagement

Australia and Poland established diplomatic ties in 1972.

Several high-level visits in recent years have served to strengthen relations.

Outlook

Poland is a growing market for Australia's commercial interests.

Between 2015 and 2019, total merchandise trade between Australia and Poland experienced growth of 11.2 per cent per annum.

Bilateral relations

The Polish community in Australia plays an important and active role in promoting people-to-people contact and commercial and academic ties through several community organisations, bilateral business councils and institutes.

During the Second World War, Australian and Polish forces fought alongside each other in the Siege of Tobruk in 1941, and a number of Australian aircrews flew in support of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944.

Foreign policy

Poland is a member of numerous international organisations including: The World Trade Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United Nations, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Health Organization and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Poland is a member of the Visegrad Four (with the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary), which aims to promote closer cooperation between these four central European countries to further their European integration. All four countries joined the European Union in May 2004. Poland joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1999. Poland is also a member of the Three Seas Initiative that includes the 12 European Union member states located between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic Seas.

Polish Foreign Policy Strategy 2017-2021

Fast facts

Polish visitors to Australia (Year ended June 2020)
17,400
Australian resident returns from Poland (Year ended June 2020)
17,600
Resident Australian population born in Poland (2016 census)
45,365
Australian residents of Poland descent (2016 census)
183,974
Polish working holidaymakers (2019-20)
470
Polish student enrolments in Australia (2019)
1,676

High level engagement

January 2020 - President of the Senate, Senator the Hon Scott Ryan, visited Poland for the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

August 2018 - His Excellency Mr Andrzej Duda, President of Poland, visited Australia and met then PM the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP.

Agreements with Poland

Bilateral agreements between Australia and Poland include: the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments Agreement (1991); Double Taxation Agreement (1991); Extradition Treaty (1999); Air Services Agreement (2005); a Joint Communiqué on Cooperation in Environmental Technologies, Goods and Services (2006); a Social Security Agreement (2010); and a Memorandum of Understanding on a bilateral Work and Holiday Maker Visa Arrangement, which entered into force in 2014.

Texts of bilateral agreements are available at the Australian Treaties Database.

Public diplomacy

The Polish community in Australia has championed Polish-Australian cultural ties. Poland has many clubs, cultural centres, community groups, theatres and groups throughout Australia. Pol-Art is the largest Polish-Australian cultural event and is held every three years in different Australian capital cities. The most recent event was held in Brisbane in 2018. Several famous Australian landmarks were named by (or in honour of) Polish explorer, Paul Edmund Strzelecki.

The Australian Embassy in Warsaw hosts and supports a number of activities throughout the year to commemorate international days and showcase Australian culture, people-to-people and historical links to Poland. Past activities have included film festivals, performances and book launches by Australian writers. The Embassy regularly supports activities in support of LGBTI rights in Poland, including the Warsaw Equality Parade held in May or June each year.

Following the catastrophic bushfires of the 2019/20 summer, generous donations were coordinated by a volunteer fire brigade in southern Poland (Poreba Spytkowska) and made to Kosciuszko National Park.

In 2012, the Australian Government contributed AUD$500,000 to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Fund. The funds will assist with essential preservation works at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site in Poland.

Australian Embassy in Warsaw

Facebook: Australia in Poland, Czech Republic and Lithuania

Twitter: @AusAmbPoland

Economic diplomacy

Poland is a growing market for Australia. In 2019, Australia's two-way goods and services trade with Poland was valued at nearly $2.0 billion, dominated by merchandise imports from Poland. Total merchandise imports from Poland were valued at $1.2 billion, compared with Australian merchandise exports to Poland of $578 million. Australia's major exports were coal, other ores and concentrates.

Service imports from Poland were valued at $78 million in 2019, compared to Australian services exports of $140 million. Australian investment in Poland has grown over the past few years, to $1.2 billion in 2019.

Poland trade/economic fact sheet [PDF]

Australia continues to seek opportunities to promote Australian business and raise awareness of potential benefits of increased trade between Australia and Europe, including Poland. This work has intensified since the launch of the Australia-EU FTA negotiations in June 2018.

More information about the Australia-EU FTA.

Business

Several Australian companies have a commercial presence in Poland, including: Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (infrastructure), Goodman Group (logistics), Balamara Resources (coal mining), Amcor (packaging), and ResMed (medical technology).

The Australian Embassy in Warsaw promotes Australia’s trade and investment interests in Poland. The Embassy actively supports Austrade’s efforts to promote Australian food and wine in Poland.

Austrade’s Warsaw office is also responsible for Ukraine, Greece, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Russia.

Travel

See Smartraveller for information on travelling to Poland.

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