WARSAW - Poland is increasingly shipping its products to new markets, including the Middle East, Asia and post-Soviet countries, as the central European heavyweight seeks to reduce its dependence on the struggling eurozone.

"We are reaching for those markets," BZ WBK bank economist Piotr Bielski told AFP.  "This is very important because the geographical diversification of Polish exports means that we will be increasingly immune to the situation in the eurozone."

Poland's S&A for example -- which produces amber jewelry -- has seen interest from the United States and Europe steadily drop over the last five years due to the 2007 financial crisis and subsequent eurozone crisis.

"That being the case we had time to prepare for diversification, to find a new market," said CEO Adam Pstragowski.

The company entered the Russian market in 2009 and United Arab Emirates in 2010. That same year its exports to China picked up steam after Shanghai's World Expo. Now they are setting their sights on Turkey.

Poland's economy had long depended on domestic demand from its population of 38 million people, but exports boomed with European Union membership in 2004.  Poland's exports, which run the gamut from machinery to meat, made up less than 20 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 1999. That percentage has now doubled.

Exports became heavily weighted towards the eurozone, with one quarter going to Germany alone.

When the eurozone, of which Poland is not a member, was growing that was not a problem. But the global financial and eurozone debt crisis exposed the dark side of that dependence.

International trade nevertheless continues to drive the economy in the ex-communist country -- which was the only EU member to maintain annual growth over the last two decades -- but its geography is changing.

"There was a continued trend of faster export growth to developing and less-developed markets than to developed markets," the economy ministry said in an August report.

As a whole, Polish goods exports grew by six percent in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2012, reaching nearly 74.2 billion euros ($97.4 billion), according to initial data from the Central Statistical Office.

But the extent of growth varied considerably from region to region.

Exports to the European Union grew by 1.9 percent in the first half of the year to 55.1 billion euros and by 1.1 percent to the eurozone -- with exports to certain eurozone members, such as France and Italy, actually falling. But exports to the ex-Soviet nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) grew by 12.7 percent to 7.2 billion euros.

To other developing nations, minus the CIS states, exports grew by 22.8 percent to 6.5 billion euros. Exports to China were up 22.5 percent for example.

It's important to note that these growth rates to new markets are starting "from a very low base, so they are not huge amounts," said Krzysztof Marczewski from Poland's Institute for Market, Consumption and Business Cycles Research.

But "up till now it was hard to do anything in this area because companies were afraid of new markets. And so it's actually a surprise that there's been this sudden activity," he said.

He ascribes multiple reasons for such clear market diversification, which he says is only in its second year: "weak domestic demand, weak demand from the eurozone, capacity for increased production, relatively low production costs."

The government has also been active in encouraging firms to diversify, with the economy ministry running campaigns such as "Go China" and "Go Africa".

But traditional markets still make up the lion's share of Poland's exports, with more than 60 percent going to northern and southern Europe according to the BZ WBK bank.

"We remain very dependent on the situation in the eurozone, given the importance of our exports notably to that region," Prime Minister Donald Tusk said last month, when discussing the revised 2013 budget.

And now that the eurozone shed its 18-month recession in the second quarter of the year, Marczewski says the key question is whether the diversification will continue.

"Will it end when the outlook improves in western Europe? Is it a short spell or is this the beginning of a new trend?"