Vienna, 8 June 2013 – "Exports are the drivers of economic growth in Europe. This is also true for Austria: Foreign trade accounts for 6 out of every 10 euros we earn, and 70 percent of our exports go to other EU nations. The development of new export markets is essential to ensure competitiveness, growth and prosperity for the long term. Australia has now become one of our most important trading partners in the Far East with Austrian exports to the country rising by over 11 percent last year. The big increase is due among other developments, to a major 200 million euros contract placed by the Australian Government for 600 off-road that are being produced by Magna in Styria. Another 950 vehicles are to be supplied by 2015", State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka said at the Austrian-Australian Business Forum on the occasion of the visit of General Governor Quentin Bryce and a large delegation of Australian business people.
"Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Austria's economy. Their number has more than tripled between 2000 and 2012. With their investment, innovative power and the important role they play in vocational training, SMEs provide a vital contribution to the good development that Austria has been enjoying despite the economic crisis in Europe", Lopatka said.
Australia offers good market opportunities for Austrian companies in the fields of infrastructure, energy and environmental technology. The EU and Australia are, after all, very close in matters of environmental protection and climate change.
The State Secretary also stressed Austria's central geographic location within the larger EU that he views as an asset in terms of business. "The Austrian economy has certainly profited from its neighbours in Eastern and Central Europe joining the EU in 2004 and 2007. The enlargement by 10 new partners in 2004 alone brought about an annual increase of added value of 0.4% in Austria. Since then, 9000 new jobs have been created each year. At the same time, Austria started to expand its business relations with Central and Southeast Europe at an early stage and is one of the most important investors in the region today. Its location makes Austria a gateway and bridge to the markets of Central Europe and the Western Balkans. Numerous international groups benefit from the advantage and have the headquarters for their business operations in (South) and Eastern Europe in Vienna. And Australian companies also find attractive options here", Lopatka concluded.
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