Development and Prospects of the Paper and Printing Sector in the Central and Eastern European Countries

wiiw Industry Study No. 1999/2,

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In Central and Eastern Europe, as in most economies, the paper and printing sector is of national importance because of its role in publishing and the media. It can be classified as a low-technology, but very skill-intensive sector comprising the more capital-intensive pulp and paper industry and the labour-intensive publishing and printing industry. Under the communist system, the paper and printing sector was neglected and even suppressed in all Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs). Since 1989, the sector has seized growing opportunities. After the transformational recession, recovery took place in most countries and growth is now influenced by business cycles on domestic and foreign markets. Looking at the whole Central and East European region, the small sector in terms of production, employment and export shares has the greatest significance in Slovenia and Slovakia, but has shown the best growth trends in Poland. Although a temporary decline in growth hit the sector in 1996, growth rates in the paper and printing sector have been again on the rise since 1997 and promise a positive future trend everywhere in the region except in Slovenia.