The Śląskie Voivodeship is one of the most important exporters among the Polish voivodeships. For the last years, foreign trade in the region has been characteristic of systematic growth in export activity to the UE countries.
In 2003, the region's share in Poland's export was at the level of 16.6% and was slightly lower when compared to the Mazowieckie Voivodeship (18%). The value of this index places the Śląskie on the 2nd position in Poland.
The share in import in the same year was 9.3% (3rd position in Poland).
The high growth speed was also characteristic of export and import value as calculated per one inhabitant of the Śląskie Voivodeship. The per capita export in 2003 was 1,800 USD (as compared to the country's average of 1,400 USD and in relation to 1995 it grew by 1,000 USD. The high export value per one inhabitant proves high competitiveness among the enterprises operating in the region that are able to offer attractive commodities for foreign recipients.
It is particularly note-worthy that in the recent years, there has been a positive balance of the foreign trade sales in the Śląskie Voivodeship.
The analysis of the Voivodeship's value of export to the European Union countries indicates that in the last years this export has been growing consistently. This proves the fact that the exporters take the opportunities arising from the accession to the EU for obtaining the EU sales market.
In 2003, the following sections were predominant in the region's goods export structure: vehicles, aircrafts, sailing units as well as the co-acting transport devices - 27.3%, machines and mechanical devices, electric equipment as well as electronic equipment and the parties thereto - 22.3%, precious metals and common metal products - 19.2% as well as mineral products - 14.1%.
The import structure was not subject to significant change. Among the goods imported, the car transport means are predominant, as well as power engineering machines and devices and plastic products. In the last years, among the major imported products, the computer systems and computer technology electronic devices appeared. The demand for the high-tech goods is heralding the changes occurring in the Voivodeship's economy.
The majority of the goods and services are imported from Italy, Germany, Czech Republic and France.
The biggest Silesian export volume falls within the European countries. In 1999-2003, their share grew from 88.4% to 92.05, i.e. by over 3.6 percentage points. The value of the goods and services exported to this group of countries in 2003 grew, when compared to 1999, by almost 110%. The highest growth was observed in the export to the Baltic Republics (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) - over 170% as well as to the countries of the old European Union and Community of Independent States (both 113%).