A new very good electronic source on Poland: PNB, April 4, 1997

Fri, 4 Apr 1997 16:20:56 +0200 (MET DST)

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Date: Fri, 04 Apr 1997 13:12:44 +0200 (Central Europe Daylight Time)
To: pnb@ikp.atm.com.pl
From: Polish News Bulletin <pnb@ikp.atm.com.pl>
Subject: PNB, April 4, 1997

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April 4, 1997


News - Politics

Krzaklewski to Vote Against Constitution
Jagielinski's Resignation Still Not Approved
Senate Appoints New Broadcasting Council Member
AWS Sets Terms for Election Candidates
ROP: Referendum Together with Elections
Insurance to Be Tax-Deductible?
Miller on Immigrants Rights
Kuszewski on Doctors' Resignations
CBOS: Politicians Less Trusted
No Polish Troops for Albania
Tuberculosis Rate Still High
WSI: Pay Increases Planned?

News - Economy and Business

NIFs to Hit Stock Exchangein Late June
Shipbuilders Prepare to Resume Work
NBP Ceases to Finance Budget Deficit
Hop Growers Protest
Gdansk Refinery Takes over Jedlicze
Saint Gobain's New Plant Opens
Rumours on Russian-Polish Fishing Dispute Dispelled
Economists on Threats to Free Market
Czech Skoda Eyes Star Truck Maker
Poland Blacklisted in U.S. Trade Report

Analyses and Commentaries

Fishermen Feel Neglected by Government

News - Politics
Krzaklewski to Vote Against Constitution
Solidarity chairman Marian Krzaklewski declared yesterday that
he would vote against the new Constitution in the May 25 referendum.
"We shall do all we can to make sure that the provisions of the constitution
that are confrontational vis-a-vis the civic constitution bill do
not come into force," he said, adding that the amendments introduced
to the bill by the president made the constitution "even more confrontational."

Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek, secretary of the Episcopate of Poland,
said that the Church will urge the faithful to take part in the referendum
without telling them how to vote. "This is something that every
citizen must decide for himself."

The results of the voting in the National Assembly could provide
some guide to voter behaviour in the constitutional referendum.
The Constitution was backed by all senators and deputies from the
SLD, Freedom Union (UW) and Labour Union (UP) caucuses and by 131
Polish Peasant Party (PSL) MPs; six PSL members were against and five

The Constitution was backed by all but one independent MP, the
German minority, PPS and Nowa Demokracja.(Based on 4 April 1997 issues of
Gazeta Wyborcza No. 79,
p. 2; Rzeczpospolita No. 79, p. 2).

Jagielinski's Resignation Still Not Approved
Aleksandra Jakubowska, government spokeswoman, said that Prime
Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz would definitely accept the resignation
tendered by Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Roman Jagielinski
of the PSL peasant party. However, the prime minister is not certain
whether the PSL would still like Jaroslaw Kalinowski, also from the
PSL, to take over the positions vacated by Jagielinski. The meeting
of the two government coalition parties slated to be held yesterday
(Apr. 3), did not take place, and was postponed until next Tuesday
(Apr. 8).

At a news conference yesterday, Jakubowska assured that, within
a matter of days, the prime minister was going seek approval from
President Aleksander Kwasniewski for Jagielinski's dismissal, following
official procedures according to which the president appoints or
replaces members of government upon the premier's request. According
to her, Cimoszewicz is not going to wait until a no-confidence vote
for Jagielinski is held in the Sejm. The spokeswoman explained that
the delay in accepting the agriculture minister's resignation was
caused by urgent matters which the prime minister had had to attend

Jakubowska told the press that the prime minister would not appoint
Jagielinski's successor until he met with the PSL. She also added
that, if the peasant party re-affirmed its support for Kalinowski,
the premier would consider the candidate.

In the meantime, the PSL is standing firm over its decision made
over six weeks ago for the party's representatives not to attend government
coalition meetings with the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) until Jagielinski
is recalled.

(Based on 4 April 1997 issues of Rzeczpospolita No. 79,
p. 2; Zycie No. 79, p. 2; Gazeta Wyborcza No. 79, p. 3;
Nowa Europa No. 79, p. 2).

Senate Appoints New Broadcasting Council Member
The Senate has chosen Jan Sek, a senator from the PSL peasant party,
to represent the House on the National Broadcasting Council during
the next six-year term of office. In a vote held yesterday (Apr. 3),
Sek saw off the challenge of his rival candidate, Senator Elzbieta
Solska (independent, member of the PSL caucus) obtaining seventy-five
votes to five, with five abstentions. Krystyna Czuba, journalist from
the Catholic Radio Maryja, who was the third candidate for the position,
withdrew just before the vote. Sek will replace Witold Knychalski,
also connected to the PSL, whose term in office expires this month.

Sek was recommended as a candidate for the Broadcasting Council by
the PSL. His current functions include chairmanship of the Senate
committee for relations with Polish communities abroad, and membership
of the programme council of the public television company TVP. Sek
is also a faculty member of the UMCS University of Lublin.

The terms of office of two other members of the Broadcasting Council
also expire this month, namely: Robert Kwiatkowski representing
the Sejm, and Jan Szafraniec representing the president. Kwiatkowski
is likely to be re-appointed, this time, as the president's representative,
while Adam Halber, deputy to the Sejm from the Democratic Left Alliance
(SLD), is considered the likely candidate to be chosen by the Sejm.

The Senate also looked into the changes proposed by its committee
to the bill on barristers and solicitors. The senators were very critical
of the provision forbidding marriages between judges and barristers
or solicitors, which they believed to be at odds with the Polish Constitution
and with international conventions on human rights. Justice Minister
Leszek Kubicki repelled these accusations claiming that the relevant
provisions ensured all citizens the constitutional right to a fair
trial, while the senators' concerted disapproval was the result of
successful lobbying by the legal community. The vote on the changes
to the bill proposed by the Senate committee is to be held today.(Based on 4
April 1997 issues of Zycie No. 79, p. 3; Rzeczpospolita
No. 79, p. 2; Nowa Europa No. 79, p. 2).

AWS Sets Terms for Election Candidates
The Coordinating Team of Solidarity Elections Action (AWS) has
the conditions by which its candidates running for the Sejm will
have to comply. The AWS leaders agreed yesterday (Apr. 3) that every
candidate wishing to run for parliament from the AWS would have
to sign a special document, thus making a commitment that they would
not quit the AWS caucus if they were elected. If they did, such a
member of parliament would have to forfeit his or her seat, or pay
a certain amount of money.

None of the political parties and organisations affiliated to the
AWS will be guaranteed a specific number of places for its candidates
on the lists of election candidates to be put forward in particular
constituencies or on the preference list for the national leaders
(who, provided that a given party or coalition receives the number
of votes required to get into the Sejm, may be granted parliamentary
seats without actually running in any particular constituency). The
name of the party or organisation to which a given person belongs
may be listed alongside the name of the candidate. The lists of candidates
are to be compiled at a local level, but overall supervision will
rest with the AWS National Election Committee headed by Marian Krzaklewski,
Solidarity chairman.(Based on 4 April 1997 issues of Gazeta Wyborcza No. 79,
p. 3; Zycie No. 79, p. 2; Rzeczpospolita No. 79, p.

ROP: Referendum Together with Elections
Jan Olszewski's Movement for the Reconstruction of Poland is demanding
that the constitutional referendum be combined with the parliamentary
elections thus saving over 60 million zloty which could then be used
to rescue the Stocznia Gdanska shipyard and to satisfy other social

Since the parliamentary majority rejected the concept for submitting
two constitution bills to a referendum, the referendum, scheduled
on May 25, will be "of a confrontational character", Olszewski believes.
He, therefore, suggests that the pilgrimage of Pope John Paul II to
Poland will as a result be held "under conditions of social and
political confrontation." This is why the ROP has proposed to hold
the referendum after the pilgrimage, and, at best, to hold it jointly
with the parliamentary elections.

The ROP leadership also voiced their opinion of the issue of
of the concordat which, they claim, has been thus far blocked by the
left because of their doubts of an ideological nature. Now, Olszewski
argues, the concordat is being ratified in a situation where the matter
would be resolved anyway in a few months by the new parliament. (Based on 4
April 1997 issue of Rzeczpospolita No.79, p.2)

Insurance to Be Tax-Deductible?
Opening the East-West insurance conference held in Warsaw, Marek Belka,
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, refused to rule out
the possibility that people buying insurance with pension funds could
pay lower taxes. Pension funds are to be the pillar of the new social
insurance system.

Minister Belka pointed out, however, that any projects in this area
have to match the financial abilities of the state.

Belka announced that the capital of the PZU State Insurance Company
would be increased soon and the company would be privatised. As of
January 1, 1999 foreign insurance firms can operate freely on the
Polish market.

The Warsaw conference, held under the auspices of the OECD, was
by 80 visitors from 50 countries, including all the OECD members.
They discussed the problems faced by the insurance business in post-communist
countries.(Based on 4 April, 1997 issue of Gazeta Wyborcza No.79,

Miller on Immigrants Rights
"Refugees' rights are not violated in Poland," Minister of Internal
Affairs and Administration Leszek Miller declared in response to charges
levelled by the Ombudsman.

A week ago Ombudsman Adam Zielinski accused the Ministry of violating
the rights of refugees by delaying the review of their applications.
The Ombudsman also criticised the practice of keeping refugees in
ordinary jails instead of special detention centres and the shortage
of interpreters, which delays the hearings of refugees.

Deputy Minister Katarzyna Piekarska in charge of immigration admitted
that the period for reviewing applications for refugee status was
too long in Poland. But this, she explained, resulted from the fact
that several thousand applications were being reviewed by only nine

Presently refugee status - i.e. the status of victim of persecution
suffered in his homeland - is being sought by 3200 emigres from throughout
the world. Of these Poland provides 700 people with essential living
conditions in special centres financed from the budget.

"Poland has to reckon with the possibility of an increasingly large
number of immigrants settling in Poland," Minister Miller said in
a press conference yesterday. In order to make activities in this
area efficient and meet West European standards, a special framework
has to be built. The Minister observed that so far immigrants have
treated Poland as a transit country. But soon more and more foreigners
from poor countries and those troubled by war will be coming here
to stay permanently.

The press conference was accompanied to the sounds of protests coming
from outside where several tens of refugees from Somalia demanded
favourable decisions regarding their applications and better treatment
in refugees' centres.

The legislation on employment and on combating unemployment gives
immigrants, who have obtained refugee status, the same rights as those
enjoyed by Polish citizens.(Based on 4 April 1997 issues of Rzeczpospolita
p.1; Zycie No.79, p.2; Gazeta Wyborcza No.79, p.4)

Kuszewski on Doctors' Resignations
"Their resignations should be accepted. This is a free country where
a doctor can earn as much as he wants or resign," Vice-Minister of
Health Krzysztof Kuszewski said ambiguously yesterday when asked what
he had to offer for doctors in the Lomza voivodship who had handed
in their notice. In protest against low pay in the ambulance service,
around 150 doctors employed therein (mostly as their second job) handed
in their resignations earlier this week, and those are scheduled to
take effect on July 1.

Meeting with doctors' representatives in Lomza, Kuszewski explained
that he was not personally able to satisfy doctors' pay demands, adding
that this was a problem their employer should settle through organisational
changes introduced in the ambulance service. According to the vice-minister,
the service is overstaffed and a reduction in their number would
mean higher pay. Lomza voivod Mieczyslaw Baginski announced in turn
that he would look for reserves to finance pay increases from his
budget, while ambulance service director Andrzej Stalewski declared
that a reform package would be ready within a week. He has asked the
voivod to allocate an additional PLN 900,000 for pay increases, agreeing
that rates per hour in the ambulance service are embarrassing,
even compared to low rates elsewhere in the health sector.

"The vice-minister has obviously not come to Lomza with a sack of
money, and is merely suggesting that we alter the service's functioning
and look for savings," protesters observed after the meeting. Meanwhile,
the protest committee of the National Union of Doctors (OZZL) is scheduled
to meet today to decide if doctors in other regions should follow
suit in this form of protest.

Kuszewski also met with health service representatives in Bialystok,
where he encouraged them to speed up the process of transforming health
service institutions into financially autonomous companies. Doctors
fear that this might lead to lay-offs, although most health institutions
in the Bialystok voivodship have already taken steps to be restructured
in anticipation of the national health insurance reform.

(Based on 4 April 1997 issues of: Gazeta Wyborcza No.
79, p. 4; Rzeczpospolita No. 79, p. 1).

CBOS: Politicians Less Trusted
Since January, public confidence in prominent coalition and opposition
politicians has dropped, a CBOS poll for March reported.

Jacek Kuron (Freedom Union) remains the most trusted politician with
a 68 percent rating, followed by Sejm Speaker Jozef Zych-65 percent,
President Aleksander Kwasniewski-62 percent, Tadeusz Mazowiecki (Freedom
Union)-54 percent, Premier Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz-53 percent (8 percent
drop from January), central bank president Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz-
46 percent (8 percent drop), Aleksander Malachowski (Labour Union)-45
percent, Polish Peasants Party leader Waldemar Pawlak-42 percent (9
percent drop), Foreign Minister Dariusz Rosati-40 percent, Solidarity
and AWS leader Marian Krzaklewski-39 percent.

Confidence in politicians occupying the lower regions of the
trust ratings also dropped: by 7 percent towards leader of Solidarity's
Mazowsze chapter Maciej Jankowski, by 7 percent towards ex-foreign
minister Andrzej Olechowski, by 6 percent towards Minister of Administration
and Internal Affairs Leszek Miller as well as towards ex-president
Lech Walesa and Labour Union leader Ryszard Bugaj.(Based on 4 April 1997
issue of Gazeta Wyborcza No.79,
p. 4)

No Polish Troops for Albania
The Government Defence Committee (KSORM) decided yesterday, April
3, that Poland would only be sending medical aid and not troops or
policing personnel to Albania. Deputy Foreign Minister Robert Mroziewicz
said after the Committee's meeting yesterday that a military transport
carrying humanitarian aid would be flying to Albania within the next
few days.

Defence Minister Stanislaw Dobrzanski said that the commission
responsible for analysing the offers of supplying armaments and avionics
for the Huzar attack helicopter had concluded talks with the bidders.
However, he said that it would be some time before the final decisions
are made.

The Committee were highly critical of the performance of Poland's
meteorological services, which failed to issue any advance warning
of the gale-force winds of last week.

Mroziewicz also said that the Committee had decided to allocate
5 million zloty out of budget reserves for undertakings related to
the implementation of the international convention banning chemical
warfare. Poland must urgently dispose of stockpiles of adamsite
amassed by the Germans in Poland during World War II.

The Committee decided yesterday to set up three special teams.
One will deal with crisis situations and be headed by deputy interior
minister Zbigniew Sobotka, another will be led by economic minister
Wieslaw Kaczmarek and will be in charge of the coordination of the
arms trade, while the third, will be headed by one of Kaczmarek's
deputies and will be preoccupied with the state of the country's defence
preparedness.(Based on 4 April 1997 issues of Rzeczpospolita No. 79,
p. 2; Nowa Europa No. 79. p. 2).

Tuberculosis Rate Still High
Although the rate of tuberculosis in Poland is dropping, it still
remains one of the highest in the world: in 1995 over 18,000 Poles
suffered from the illness and each year over 1,000 Poles die from

The rate of contagious disease in Poland is growing, among others
due to the policy of open borders and increased population migration.(Based
on 4 April 1997 issue of Zycie Warszawy No.79,
p. 4)

WSI: Pay Increases Planned?
According to unofficial sources quoted by Gazeta Wyborcza,
the Defence Ministry (MON) is planning pay increases for senior
officers in the military information services (WSI), and new nominations
for generals are expected in military intelligence and counter-intelligence.

The respective decisions are said to have been adopted shortly after
ex-chief of Staff Tadeusz Wilecki informed the military prosecutor
of instances of the misusing of the WSI for political purposes.
Defence Minister Stanislaw Dobrzanski confirmed yesterday that he
had recommended pay raises for WSI commanders, but stressed that
this had nothing to do with politics. Adding that the timing was merely
a coincidence, he stressed that no final decision had yet been adopted.
If endorsed, this would mean higher pay (by around PLN 200) for around
10 senior WSI officers.

Meanwhile, Solidarity Elections Action (AWS) representative Romuald
Szeremietiew believes that the military information services have
played a significant role in Wilecki's dismissal. "Whenever there
are promotions and pay raises, we should obviously ask why they
have been offered," he observes. (Based on Gazeta Wyborcza No. 79, 4 April
1997, p. 4).

News - Economy and Business
NIFs to Hit Stock Exchangein Late June
The mass privatisation programme's 15 National Investment Funds
will hit the Warsaw Stock Exchange in late June after the Securities
Commission (KPW) yesterday permitted their public trading.

Holders of mass privatisation certificates will be able to exchange
them into NIF stock as of May 12, Deputy Treasury Minister Ewa Freyberg

KPW Chairman Jacek Socha said that the introduction of NIFs onto the
exchange will confirm Poland's leadership among Central and Eastern
European capital markets. Also, the move will expand the Polish market
and combine its public and non- public segments "because the NIFs
are public, while the portfolio companies are predominately non-public."
This will not hurt the market, Socha said, "since all the funds have
approved the reporting requirements for the public market."

In all, 31,026,185 shares of each fund will be released onto the WSE,
including the 26,372,257 shares offered by the Treasury in exchange
for mass privatisation certificates (25,672,257 shares corresponding
to the number of certificates collected by citizens by Nov. 22, 1996,
plus 400,000 shares set aside for complaints and 300,000 set aside
for the execution of a Constitutional Tribunal ruling dated Sept 3,
1996). Moreover, the government has allocated 4,653,928 shares
as remuneration for management companies.

WSE Chairman Wieslaw Rozlucki said that the NIFs' entry onto the
would make it possible to increase the exchange's capital by more
than 10 percent. He added that stock investors would now have a wider
choice because they would receive direct access to 500 companies covered
by the mass privatisation programme.

It is not certain how many mass privatisation certificates are held
in private hands and how large a percentage of the certificates
has been soaked up by large institutional investors and banks like
PRO BP and Pekao SA. Newspapers report that the Catholic station Radio
Maryja has also been collecting certificates to help the Gdansk shipyard.
Some unconfirmed reports suggest that the station has amassed as many
as 1 million certificates.

After the certificates hit the exchange, the market will determine
the NIFs' real value, analysts say, and it will quickly become evident
which fund is the best and which is the worst. The price of an NIF
certificate currently hovers around Zl 150 on the secondary market.(Based on
the 4 April 1997 issues of Rzeczpospolita, No. 79,
p. 1; Nowa Europa, No. 79, p. 3; and Zycie Warszawy,
No. 79, p. 1).

Shipbuilders Prepare to Resume Work
Some 800 of Gdansk's shipworkers may resume work next week after Pekao
SA bank reportedly promised a loan for the completion of a ship currently
under construction. Sources suggest the bank will also provide
money for the building of another ship, a bulk carrier ordered by
Germany's Schoeller.

The Solidarity for Gdansk Shipyard association, which is raising funds
for the bankrupt enterprise, announced a new issue of Zl 14 million
worth of help-the-yard tokens distributed among the public. The first
batch of Zl 17 million worth of tokens has nearly sold out, the association's
Aleksandra Mietlicka told reporters.

It has not been disclosed as yet who will invest in the resumption
of production at the yard. Pekao SA Spokeswoman Beata Wojcik said
that talks are in progress with the potential investor "even though
a formal application in the matter has yet to be received."

Roman Galezewski, vice chairman of the shipyard's Solidarity
said that the ship completion project is "excellent business" requiring
little investment. The ship is 60-percent finished and 80 percent
of the material needed for its construction has already been purchased,
Galezewski said. (Based on the 4 April 1997 issues of Nowa Europa, No.
79, p. 5; and Rzeczpospolita, No. 79, p. 7).

NBP Ceases to Finance Budget Deficit
The Finance Ministry has decided that the NBP central bank will no
longer finance the state budget deficit. The decision is congruent
with the new Constitution (which must yet be endorsed in a nation-wide
referendum), banning government institutions from financing the
state deficit by drawing credit from the central bank.

NBP President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz told Gazeta Wyborcza
that the Ministry's decision and the new Constitution's ban on the
NBP's financing the budget deficit will serve to reduce inflation.

She explained that financing the deficit by the NBP stoked inflation
because in essence it would print empty money, thereby increasing
the money supply.

The NBP President noted that until now, successive budget laws had
forced the central bank into buying Treasury bills as a means of financing
the deficit. Moreover, those laws overrode a provision contained in
a law on the NBP, which limited the value of Treasury bills purchased
by the central bank to 2 percent of planned budget receipts.

In Gronkiewicz-Waltz's opinion, the fact that the central bank will
no longer finance the deficit may also increase the attractiveness
of Treasury papers because the government will be forced to seek other
sources of financing the deficit.

Another article of the new Constitution stipulates that public debt
cannot exceed 60 percent of GDP.

In 1996, public debt amounted to almost PLN185.4 billion or 51.2
of the GDP.

Poland's foreign debt owned to the Paris and London Clubs, totalling
almost PLN106 billion, constitutes a large part of the aforementioned

The remainder of the public debt is made up of the state budget's
domestic debts (for example loans obtained through the sale of Treasury
papers).(Based on 4 April 1997 issue of Gazeta Wyborcza No.79,

Hop Growers Protest
Over 300 hop growers demonstrated yesterday (April 3) in front of
the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Premier's Chancellery
buildings in Warsaw demanding state protection for domestic hop growers.

In recent months, hop growers have encountered major problems in selling
hop following last year's hop glut: Polish breweries need an estimated
2600 tons of hop per year while last year's harvest yielded 3400 tons.
The planters are demanding that the remainder by bought by the Agricultural
Market Agency but this year's budget law does not provide funds for
that purpose.

Hop growers claim that the present problems are also being caused
by German restrictions on Polish hop exports.

A delegation from the protesters was received by Deputy Premier and
Agriculture Minister Roman Jagielinski, who assured that he would
motion for the emergency procurement of hop. At the same time he pointed
out that such a measure could only be taken at the expense of the
procurement of other agricultural products, especially dairy ones
and grain.

Jagielinski also promised to motion for preferential credits for hop
procurement and processing, which would bear only a 6-8 percent annual

Some Polish breweries buy hop abroad because it is cheaper than hop
grown at home. Hop production in Poland is expensive because plantations
are widely dispersed and the yield is low while capital input is high.

Representatives of the Hop Growers Union have been invited to
in the preparation a programme for developing Polish hop production.(Based
on 4 April 1997 issue of Rzeczpospolita No.79,
p. 9; Nowa Europa No.79, p 5)

Gdansk Refinery Takes over Jedlicze
The Gdansk refinery is to take over 75 per cent of Jedlicze, a
small refinery in the south of Poland. A letter of intent was signed

The company that will emerge as a result of the deal will hold 61
per cent of the home lubricants market, Chairman of the Gdansk refinery
Wlodzimierz Dyrka said yesterday. The operation is another step towards
establishing two competing fuel producer groups: centred around the
Gdansk refinery and around the Plock refinery.

The Gdansk refinery is the second largest, after Plock, national
of fuels. Last year it processed almost 3 million tons of oil, but
its performance was not as good as in 1995; with the 14 per cent increase
in its revenue, up to 3.2 billion zloty, the company's net profits
decreased from 177 million to 71.7 million zloty and its net profit
amounted to 46 million as against 125.1 million zloty in 1995.

Owing to the release of fuel prices on February 13 of this year the
price of fuel produced by refineries will depend on world prices for
raw materials and on market demand. On Wednesday the refinery management
reduced the wholesale price of diesel oil by 30 zloty per ton.

The refinery is preparing for the privatisation programme for the
fuel industry, which has been endorsed by the government. The enterprise
is to contribute to the Polska Nafta holding 75 per cent of its shares
while employees will get 15 per cent. Until the end of April offers
from strategic investors will be accepted. The privatisation process
is expected to be completed by the end of next year at the earliest.(Based
on 4 April 1997 issue of Gazeta Wyborcza No.79,

Saint Gobain's New Plant Opens
Polfloat Saint-Gobain glassworks, the largest French investment
project in Poland, was opened yesterday in Strzemieszyce near Dabrowa
Gornicza. The DM 180-million facility will offer jobs to 280 employees,
manufacturing 550 tons of float glass per day. Initially, approximately
50 percent of its production will be exported, but domestic demand
is expected to grow in the coming years.

"The Polish government has granted us no concessions," general
director Guy Rolli stressed yesterday. The glassworks has been constructed
just outside the Katowice Special Economic Zone, and Saint Gobain's
request to expand has been turned down. The concern's new project
in cooperation with the South Korean glass producer Hanglas is likely
to be located within the Zone, however, where a DM 55-million car
window factory is to be built.

Saint Gobain has invested DM 250 million in Poland since 1993,
and it now employs a workforce of over 1,200 in its 10 facilities
in Poland. (Based on 4 April 1997 issues of: Rzeczpospolita No. 79,
p. 9; Nowa Europa No. 79, p. 5).

Rumours on Russian-Polish Fishing Dispute Dispelled
Neither the Russian environmental protection authority, nor the
fishing authority have any objections concerning the Polish fishing
boats currently operating in the Sea of Okhotsk. Vice-Minister Amerkhan
Amerkhanov of the environmental authorities stated yesterday (Apr.
3) that Polish vessels were respecting the relevant fishing agreement,
and, since the case of the trawler Aquarius (detained in late
February and released about four weeks later) had been settled,
none of the boats had had problems with the environmental protection

Vice-Minister Galina Shapovalova of the Russian fishing authority
also said that the Polish boats currently fishing in the Sea of Okhotsk
were not violating any legal regulations.

Polish Minister of Transport and Shipping Boguslaw Liberadzki
has requested Aleksandr Rodin, the head of the Russian fishing authority,
to clarify rumours of alleged objections raised by the Russian side
concerning the legality of fishing by Polish boats in the Sea of Okhotsk.
As well as this issue, the Polish side is making every effort to gain
authorisation to transfer a part of the fishing limit for Alaska pollack
which it had been granted in the Bering Sea to the Sea of Okhotsk.(Based on
4 April 1997 issue of Rzeczpospolita No. 79,
p. 9).

Economists on Threats to Free Market
At a seminar on economic legislative initiatives held in Warsaw
yesterday, members of the Polish Economists Association expressed
concern over the threats to Poland's free market economy posed by
the excessive powers of executive authorities in issuing legislative
acts by way of administrative decisions.

In a recently published report, the Association distinguished
three main areas of threat to the free market:

- undermining the security of economic turnover and burdening
companies with the cost of introducing legislative changes. An example
of this is the finance minister's power to revoke or change - on the
grounds of protecting public interest - decisions issued by fiscal

- limiting competition, for example by granting partial excise
tax exemptions to selected companies.

- political and property corruption: state interventionism increases
administration workers' influence on the allocation of goods, services
and privileges, thereby opening the floodgates of corrupt practices.

The authors of the report believe that the above threats necessitate
the introduction of legislative changes. (Based on 4 April 1997 issue of
Nowa Europa No.79, p.

Czech Skoda Eyes Star Truck Maker
The Czech Republic's state-owned Skoda car-makers are interested in
buying into Poland's Star truck company through taking over the stock
currently held by the government, yesterday's Financial Times

The Treasury would not confirm the report but one official told
Rzeczpospolita that "the Treasury may sell the Star stock
it holds, but it is not known when." The official added that the transaction
would require all the necessary pre-privatisation procedures, including
financial analyses and a public invitation to negotiation.

Star was privatised in 1994 as a result of a bank-led arrangement
with creditors. The government holds less than 46 percent of the company's
stock, including a pool of shares set aside for employees.

Sobieslaw Zasada Centrum is the second largest shareholder in Star
with 28 percent of the stock soaked up on the secondary market.(Based on the
4 April 1997 issue of Rzeczpospolita, No.
79, p. 8).

Poland Blacklisted in U.S. Trade Report
Poland is again listed among the 46 countries putting up various trade
barriers against U.S. businesses in the latest annual report released
by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The report, which examines the United States' commercial relations
with other countries, criticises the Polish system for product safety
certification, which the report believes is incompatible with international
standards. The office is critical of Poland's practice of requiring
the testing of foreign products. Still, the authors of the report
concede that Poland is reforming this system.

In the protection of international intellectual property rights, the
Polish government has made major progress, the report states, helping
reduce piracy of American copyrights. However, piracy and copyright
violations continue, the report warns.

The office is also critical of the sanitary regulations and controls
used by Poland with regard to imported plants, which the office believes
hits American grain exporters. (Based on the 3 April 1997 issue of Nowa
Europa, No. 78,
p. 3).

Analyses and Commentaries
Fishermen Feel Neglected by Government
Polish fishermen have been protesting loudly for some time now over
the intrusion of Danish fishing vessels into the Polish economic zone.
They complain about unfair competition and the risk of overfishing
in Poland's fishing grounds.

However, the Ministry of Transport and Shipping maintain that foreign
boats were only allowed into the Polish zone because the Polish fishermen
were not using up the herring and sprat quotas awarded to them anyway.
In keeping with international maritime convention, in such cases littoral
states should open their fishing grounds to other countries on specified
terms. The Danes, who incidentally signed contracts with Polish companies,
are abiding by the relevant agreements and regulations, the Ministry

The grave financial plight of Poland's fishermen is due in part to
the fact that the bulk of the profits from their catch ends up in
the hands of middlemen. While retail prices of fish keep going up,
procurement prices hardly change at all. The fishermen themselves
are to blame for this problem because they are unable to organise
and set up the kind of fish exchanges other countries have, which
are controlled by fishing organisations.

The Poles accuse their Danish counterparts of sending huge 40-metre
boats from the North Sea to the Baltic; these boats are powered by
engines that are several times more powerful than the Polish equivalent
while their fishing capacity is forty or more times greater.

The claims of overfishing are backed up by Dr. Jan Netzl, of the Sea
Fisheries Institute of Gdynia, who claims that the quotas awarded
by the International Baltic Fisheries Commission are much too high.
In the case of cod, overfishing is already an undisputed fact. According
to the Gdynia scientist, the quotas are based on the level of biomass
in the Baltic in the 1980s, which was then very high, and that ironically
was due to pollution, chiefly mineral fertilisers washed from the
fields and organic effluent dumped into the sea.
(Based on 3 April 1997 issue of Nowa Europa No. 78, p.

The PNB is a non-profit organization publishing a daily
digest of the Polish press. No legal responsibility is accepted for
any errors or omissions or misleading statements, however caused,
in either source or final texts.

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