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Letter of credit as a form of security for payments in international transactions

Bearing in mind the universality of international transactions and the risks that entrepreneurs face, the letter should pay attention to risk-reducing methods offered by banks. Paweł Dyrduł, associate lawyer from the law firm KG Legal Kiełtyka Gładkowski Professional Partnership based in Krakow, discusses the instrument of the letter of credit as a form of payment as well as the form of limiting the risk involved with transactions.

The essence of international trade

Progressive globalization has imposed on domestic companies – even on local ones – relationships with other international companies. Examples of such a connection, which may be either direct or indirect, include: competition with foreign entities, adaptation of manufactured products to international standards, the use of developed and implemented technological and management solutions.

An international commercial transaction is a transaction involving a cross-border element, so it comes down to transactions between entities based in different countries. Foreign trade can be considered in two perspectives: narrow and broad. In the narrow sense, the subject of foreign trade is material goods. Broad sense includes, for example, current and assets and credit turnovers, purchase of goods and intangible services.

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ACCESS TO PUBLIC INFORMATION IN POLAND

Everyone has a right to obtain information on the activities of the Polish Ministry of Justice. It relates to the functioning of the Polish judicial system and explanation of Polish regulations in the scope foreseen in the legal provisions. This issue has been fully regulated by the Act on Access to Public Information, as well as by the Order No. 197/14/BM of the Minister of Justice dated 18 December 2015 on making public information available.

This mechanism is very useful for the purposes of pursuing a variety of cross border cases, particularly related to international legal issues. The information is delivered in the Polish language, upon the relevant application.

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BUYING REAL PROPERTY IN POLAND BY FOREIGNERS FROM EU (from the EEA and the Swiss Confederation)

In accordance with article 8 paragraph 2 of the Act on the acquisition of real estate by foreigners, reflecting the provisions of the Treaty of accession of Poland to the European Union in respect of the acquisition of real estate by foreigners, it is not required to obtain a consent by foreigners who are the nationals of or entrepreneurs of the Member States of the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation. The last restriction on the obligation to obtain a permit (consent) to acquire real estate and forestry by the said foreigners has expired on 30 April 2016, and since 01 May 2016 foreigners from the EEA and the Swiss Confederation do not need to have the permission of the Minister of the Interior to acquire any real estate.

A legal person that is a commercial company based in Poland, where the majority shareholder is a legal entity based abroad, is a foreign national within the meaning of the Act on the acquisition of the real estate by foreigners. At the same time, such entity is an entity from the European Economic Area by the fact that it is established in Poland which is an EEA member state, qualifying as a legal person from the EEA.

In view of the above, a commercial company based in Poland, controlled by a company based abroad is a foreigner from the EEA. Such entity is regulated by article 8 paragraph 2 of the Act on acquisition of real estate by foreigners which means that currently such entity does not have to be granted the permission of the Minister of the Interior to acquire any real estate.

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Polish government’s report on the acquisition of Polish real estate by foreigners and companies with foreign capital

The Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration prepares annually a document reporting extensively and accurately the entire international trade in the Polish real estate (link to the full text of the report in Polish).

According to the report, in 2016, foreigners received a total of 252 permits for the acquisition of land with a total area of 79.89 hectares. The vast majority of applications had been approved. The report highlights the active role of the German, Dutch and Ukrainian capital. In Poland, the acquisition of real estate by foreigners in principle requires the permit of the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration. The source of legal restrictions is the Act on the acquisition of real estate by foreigners as of 24 March 1920. The relevant permit is also necessary for the purchase or acquisition by foreigners of shares in companies that are owners or perpetual users of real estate. 

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WHERE CAN WE FIND THE INFORMATION ABOUT POLISH BUSINESS ENTITIES

In Poland there are two records of entities carrying out economic activities:

– the National Court Register (Polish: KRS – Krajowy Rejestr Sądowy)

Polish National Court Register is a centralized database that consists of three separate registers: the register of entrepreneurs; the register of associations, social and professional organisations, foundations and public health care facilities; the registry of debtors. The task of the Polish National Court Register is to provide information on the legal status of a registered entity (e.g. company), the most important elements of its financial situation and its representation. Making the entry in the National Court Register is also possible by electronic access to the Registry Court. The company’s application for the entry to the register is subject to a fee amounting to 500 PLN.

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