The paper undertakes a detailed examination of the special economic zone programme in Poland in the field of regional and industrial policy. The programme was implemented in 1995-1997 and nowadays in Poland operate 14 special economic zones established in the purpose of acceleration economic development in chosen regions. The main method for attracting capital and technology is the preferential tax policy (long term income tax exemptions) for specific domains of economic activity. The research allowed to evaluate results of zones activity especially related to the regional development and industrial restructurisation process. There are clear evidence of both positive (development of modern industry branches) and negative effects (economic activity substitution) of special economic zone programme in Poland. Attention then turns to the Polish integration with the European Union in the field of competitiveness policy, where several problems related to special economic zones had occurred.