Poland's finance minister has said he will maintain the current rate of excise on beer, the maximum level permitted by law, despite fears that the country's accession to the EU will encourage cross border shopping.

Polish brewers fear they may lose as much as 20% to 30% of the beer market as the country enters the EU, as Polish taxes on beer are at more than twice the rate paid by their neighbouring German and Czech competition.

"We have a current rate set and we are not about to change it on May 1," Finance Minister advisor Jaroslaw Neneman told reporters.

The ministry did say however that it would monitor the beer market after EU accession on May 1 and said is was prepared to lower the tax, if the market slumps "significantly."
 
"A 10% market fall would be significant, but this does not mean we will automatically act then," Neneman said.