"I can see great opportunities for Austrian business and industry in the future"
Guadalajara, 27 May 2004 - On the fringe of the EU-Latin America/Caribbean Summit in Guadalajara, Mexico, Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner said that Austria has to place major emphasis on the partnership between Europe and Latin America. Ferrero-Waldner: "The fact that Austria will host the 2006 Latin America Summit was one of the major considerations underlying my decision to appoint an Austrian Latin America Co-ordinator. This is to ensure that Austria’s interests will already be taken account of in the decision-making process of the authorities in Brussels during the preparation stages for the EU-Latin America Summit of 2006 and that the ongoing exchange of experiences with these authorities enables us to respond in time to developments which also have a direct impact on our country," Ferrero-Waldner said.
The Foreign Minister further stated that she is attaching great significance to the co-operation of both world regions. "This strategic partnership is of great importance to the Austrian economy. Their experiences with transactions and foreign investments in Central and Eastern Europe have enabled Austrian businesses to successfully compete in overseas markets." While the Latin American countries are important business partners of the future, some efforts will have to be made in order to use the emerging opportunities. "In 2003, Austria exported goods worth approx. 630 million Euros to Latin America and imported goods worth approx. 538 million Euros. This is equivalent to about 0.8% of our overall exports and 0.67 % of our overall imports. We cannot be content with these figures, there is still great potential to be tapped - provided that we are making the required efforts", the Foreign Minister said.
Ferrero-Waldner also emphasised Austria’s favourable situation at the heart of the enlarged Union. "In the talks I also stressed the benefits Austria offers as a location of business in the enlarged Union and highlighted Austria’s position as a platform for partners from Latin America in the EU and particularly for business activities in Central and Eastern Europe."