The principal aims of Poland's foreign trade policy were
twofold : I/ the economic structural aim - the industrialisation
of the country as the result of agricultural overpopulation, 2/
the economic and political aim - the economic independence from
The industrialisation of the country had to solve the
problem of the agricultural overpopulation, as the emigration and
the agrarian reform were only fragmentary and temporary solution?.
In 192I the population of Poland numbered circa 27.2 mill.,
while in I939 circa 35 mill.The hidden structural unemployment
was estimated at 5-7 mill.Poland,la.cking several essential raw
materials as Iran ore, semi -base metals, cotton as well as having
only a small output of machinery had to rely to a large extent
on imports in her industrial expansion. The industrialisation
was to be achieved by importing as many means of production as
possible and by providing the industries with raw materials. This
could be done : I/ by expanding imports in the way of increased
exports and foreign credits, these latter being a temporary measure only.2/ By using the available foreign exchange for imports
as much as possible for industrialisation purposes i.e. by influ.
encing properly the structure of imports.3/ By developing export
not only numerically but also by quality shifting them from raw
materials to more elaborately transformed goods and thus increasing the employment home.4/ Bar reducing the invisible imports
as shipping services, costs of middlemen in foreign trade etc.
The second aim - the economic independence from Germany was created by Germany herself. The export embargo on the
engineering products in first few post -war years, designed to make impossible Poland's reconstruction,then the German effort in
1925 to gain a trade monopoly inn Poland's market by the means
of black mail With closing coal imports from Polish Upper Silesia
- simply forced Poland to fight for her life.This economic struggle with Germany caused Poland to replace her export and import
markets.It resulted partially in the development of national
industries, partially shifting foreign trade to other countries. The basis of these latter means were the relations with
Great Britain and the British Empire.
In the light of to -day's experiences,hopes and difficulties
it seems necessary to draw the following conclusions from this
recently past period:
1 /.It is dangerous for the economic stability and development of the country to finance the reconstruction work by means
of private credits, liable to the withdrawal at the private initiative at a short notice.
The burden of the so- financed reconstruction hampered Poland's economic development and her foreign trade during almost
all the inter-war period.
2 /.The volume of the foreign trade was to a very large extent dependant on factors, outside the sovereign will of the economically weaker States.The best efforts of their government
and citizens together could not counter -act the influence of
these factors,being the resultant of international clashes of
economic forces.Thus the freedom of action in the field of foreign trade was for Poland very restricted.But at the same time
the results achieved prove the value of such even restricted
This actual limitation as well as the efficiency of the
national foreign trade in profiting from even the restricted
scope of action in the past period are often overlooked.They
both ought to be taken into account by partisans and critics of
the idea of a planned organization of the world trade.
3 /.The lack of development of trade relations between Poland and France notwithstanding reciprocal efforts proves that
the political alliance and good will from both sides are not
sufficient to foster trade relations without a real structural
4 /.As regards Polish- British trade - the experiences of the
past period proved that beside the complementary character of
the trade of both countries,the good quality of British goods
and willingness to buy them - the reciprocal knowledge of the
market conditions, in the full meaning of this word, and their
practical application are an essential factor for the development of the trade relations between the two countries.