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Public Papers - 1990 - March

White House Fact Sheet on the Poland-United States Business and Economic Treaty

1990-03-21

The President and Polish Prime Minister Mazowiecki today signed a treaty concerning business and economic relations. The treaty is an important and vital step in enhancing the attractiveness of the investment and business environment in Poland.

This treaty, the first U.S. economic agreement with a newly democratic Eastern European country, is intended to encourage and facilitate U.S. investment by providing internationally recognized protections and standards. Some of the key elements of the treaty include:

Treatment of Investment. U.S. investors in Poland will be treated the same as Polish nationals or investors from other countries, whichever is more favorable.

Expropriation. The United States and Poland agreed to internationally recognized standards for expropriation: expropriation will be permitted only for a public purpose and must include prompt payment at fair market value.

Transfer of Funds. The Government of the Republic of Poland has agreed to permit the immediate and complete repatriation of export earnings and capital from Poland to the United States. In addition, the Poles have agreed to progressively eliminate restrictions on repatriation of U.S. investor zloty profits, with no restrictions for profits beyond 1995. Current Polish laws place a 15 percent cap on zloty profits to be repatriated.

Dispute Settlement. The United States and Poland agreed to abide by internationally recognized standards for arbitration which ensure that an investor has the right to go to international arbitration after 6 months for any type of dispute.

Business Rights. The treaty guarantees that U.S. firms will have the right to:

-- market goods and services both at the wholesale and retail level;

-- obtain access to public utilities and financial institutions;

-- obtain commercial rental space and raw materials on a nondiscriminatory basis;

-- conduct market studies and distribute commercial information of all kinds; and

-- obtain registrations, licenses, permits, and other approvals on an expeditious basis.

Intellectual Property Rights. Poland has agreed to adopt major new intellectual property standards which are among the most sophisticated in the world in areas such as:

-- adherence to the Paris Act of the Berne Convention;

-- copyright protection for computer software;

-- product as well as process patent protection for pharmaceuticals and chemicals. The Government of the Republic of Poland will provide protection for U.S. patent holders by enacting legislation within the immediate future;

-- protection for integrated circuit layout designs; and

-- protection of proprietary information.

Ombudsman Office. The Government of the Republic of Poland will designate a Deputy President of the Agency for Foreign Investments to serve as an ombudsman for U.S. investors. The Deputy President will serve as the government coordinator and problemsolver for U.S. investors experiencing difficulties with registration, licensing, nondiscriminatory access to utilities, and regulatory and other matters.

Tourism. The United States and Poland agreed to encourage the growth of tourism and provide tourism services on a fair and equitable basis.

Investment Procedures. The Government of the Republic of Poland also commits to the following procedures in applying its investment laws:

-- A permit for entry of U.S. investments shall be issued automatically within 60 days, unless the U.S. investor is notified in writing of the grounds and reason for denial.

-- In evaluating the impact of the proposed investment on the environment, the standards used shall be the same as those applied to domestic enterprises.

-- Restrictions on the entry of U.S. investment on the grounds that it threatens Polish state economic interests shall be used only in exceptional cases and not for the purpose of limiting competition.

-- In 2 years the Governments of the Republic of Poland and of the United States will review the statutory provisions on screening with a view to narrowing the scope of investments that require a formal entry permit and subsequently phasing out such permits.

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