Foreign trade

Do you think that your products and services will find buyers abroad?  Would you like to buy goods directly from a foreign supplier because you think that your intermediary charges too large margin?  If so, it is high time you tried to get involved in foreign trade. Globalisation of economy, the development of modern information and communication technologies mean that nowadays the trade with foreign partners is much easier than two decades ago. However, easier by no means implies that it is easy.  Foreign trade will require good preparation, knowledge but also awareness of the related risk.  



At the time of Poland's accession to the European Union, in case of trade with other Members, the terms "export" and "import" ceased to apply. They have been replaced by intra-Community trade in goods.  
Import of goods from other EU countries is called intra-Community acquisition of goods.  You can find out more in the guide Import of goods from other EU countries.  Supply of goods to other EU countries is an intra-Community supply of goods.  You can find out more in the guide Supply of goods to other EU countries.

'Export' and ‘import' refer to trade with non-EU countries.  You can find more on export and import from the guides:  I export goods and  I import goods.  


Safe transactions

Differences between intra-EU trade and trade with third countries concern both separate provisions and procedures but also all forms of financing and hedging transactions, risk of activity, recovery mechanisms, the culture of doing business.  An important part of the activity in markets outside the EU is also the exchange rate risk.  In the Article on hedging transactions you will learn the most popular form of hedging against risk in foreign trade.  Here you can find out more about the financing of foreign trade.  Get to know also what rules are linked to the fixing of the applicable law for disputes arising from contracts with foreign partners.  

Support for foreign activity 

Outside the Union it is also much more difficult to find the relevant business partner and to obtain reliable information about him.  In this area, the following business organisations provide assisatnce (such as the Polish Chamber of Commerce) Trade Promotion and Investment of the Embassies of the Republic of Poland and the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development.  A very useful source of information is also the Portal of Export Promotion.  
In addition, the promotion programmes, inter alia, Go China and Go Africa are devoted to the support of Polish companies operating abroad .

You can also obtain subsidies for development of foreign activity in the framework of EU funds for the period 2014-2020 - in regional programmes and if you do business in the East of Poland - in the Programme Eastern Poland. Applications for support from the Programme for Eastern Poland you must submit to the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development, and in the regions - to the marshal offices or other institutions that have such tasks. From the Programme ‘Smart Growth' you can also get funding for participation in promotional events, specific sectoral and general programmes to promote business.  Information can be found on the website of the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development.  
 If you want to know more about funding opportunities for international activity under EU funds, contact European Funds Information Point.  
Polish Development Fund also offers support for international activity .  

Documents in international trade 

At an international level there are multiple ddocuments specific for this type of trade.  Find out more about this project from the article Basic documents in foreign trade.  

In trade in the markets of third countries specific documents happen to be useful, e.g. certificates of origin of goods and ATA carnets which facilitate the procedures relating to customs duties.  Here you will find information on invoicing in exports and imports.

Cooperating with international partners you will be required to legalise documents. You can find this information in the article on legalisation.  
The publications on TIR carnets present facilities related to customs services in the transport of goods.  
Knowledge of the Incoterms - a set of international rules that lay down the conditions of sale, is also useful in international activity.  
Get to know also the key elements of the contract with a foreign partner.  More information can be found here.  
When planning business abroad bear in mind the cultural differences.  Their awareness will allow you to avoid mistakes and establish appropriate communication with a foreign counterparty.  For more details, see the article Cultural differences in business.  


It's important to be aware of restrictions on international trade.  They are the effect of economic policy of the given country or economic area.  Their aim is to protect the market e.g. from excessive import of cheaper goods from abroad. Read more on this subject.



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