The export of Austrian goods and services to Hungary is increasing and some Austrian companies are committed to expansion. There are also Hungarian entrepreneurs attempting to find their fortune in Austria.
"I want to make even stronger commercial links between our countries as I am convinced there is room for that", says Commercial Counselor of the Austrian embassy Jürgen Schreder. Although he has just taken office, he has a profound knowledge of the latest trends in bilateral trade. He seems to have good ground to rely on as the value of bilateral trade is increasing steadily.
Hungary remains among the top ten Austrian export destinations. Overall, more than 3 per cent of Austrian export goes to Hungary and this is a big share. Austrian companies exported goods were valued at EUR 4.3 bn in 2014 which was an increase about 11 per cent compared to the figure in 2013; positive news for both parties. The import of goods from Hungary reached EUR 3.2 bn, an increase of 2.7 per cent last year.
Most Austrian companies, established in Hungary, remain very active and reinvest. Some even extend their facilities to increase production or boost exports from Hungary to other countries. Currently there are 460 Austrian companies here employing more than 85,000 people. Interestingly, some 300 Hungarian enterprises are registered in Austria with an annual overall turnover of EUR 2.6 Bn. A growing number of Hungarian entrepreneurs prefer to start their business in Austria, travelers may come across Hungarian owners of guest houses or cafes, restaurants or small shops. In Vienna and other big cities one may find Hungarian lawyers and engineers living and working.
"We do not have any information on the number of Hungarian companies in Austria. What we know is that a growing number of foreign companies are settling down in Austria because of the business friendly environment, the stability, the well educated and open minded workforce and the incentives provided. Many foreign companies consider our country a gateway to other Central and East European markets as the location and the infrastructure is perfect for that." - he argues.
Asked about how the Commercial Section promotes bilateral trade Jürgen Schreder explained: in a unique structure, the Commercial Section represents the Federal Chamber of Commerce of Austria (FCCA) which means it is responsible for the promotion of Austrian enterprises. Utilizing all professional contacts of the FCCA and good business ties with local Hungarian chambers of Commerce, the Commercial Section prepares regular workshops and business presentations where Austrian companies from different sectors meet their potential business partners.
There is a new website, advantageaustria.org which provides detailed information on how to do business in Austria. It showcases Austrian companies that specialize in export and import and generates significant business opportunities. The website also provides comprehensive and useful knowledge on targeted countries, including Hungary and often assists in locating a supplier or a potential buyer.
"The internet is a very useful tool in business but personal contacts and meetings remain the best way to find reliable partners. Therefore we recommend that Austrian companies participate in these workshops and regional matchmaking events. Due to the neighboring position of Hungary, it is easier to persuade or motivate Austrian firms to attend these events", he added.
The counselor noted also that many Austrian companies and experts are regularly invited to international trade shows, fairs and conferences. At least three such events are recommended in Budapest in the last quarter of the year: an agricultural fair in Budapest (OMÉK), the showcase of the automotive sector (Automotive Hungary) and a conference on European railway developments (InnoRail).
One main task of the Commercial Section is to explain to Austrian companies moving into the Hungarian market the local rules and habits and suggest how they can adjust their business to the local circumstances. If an Austrian company is not pleased with restrictions or extra burdens put on them by the Hungarian government, the Commercial Section makes every effort to influence on a given issue.
"We do not make surveys on the business sentiment as the German-Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry does every year but we cooperate with them. Austrian firms are involved in theses surveys, which provides a good chance for them to make their suggestions", the counselor emphasized.
Some large Austrian firms (Leier, Schwarzmüller, Agrana, Prinzhorn Group) signed a so called Strategic Partnership agreement with the Hungarian government. "It was not their initiative to become a formal partner of the government, but they accepted the invitation as they think in the long term. They see the long term potential of the Hungarian market and the strategic location of Hungary which helps them to make more profits in exports and they simply want to capitalize on that. I do not exclude others from joining later as such a partnership may bring benefits to all parties", Jürgen Schreder pointed out.
The state owned ASFINAG company plans, constructs, maintains, operates and runs tolls across the entire Austrian motorway and expressway network, comprising 2,183 km of roads. The company introduced a new service to keep drivers informed on road works and delays. The free "On the way" app is continuously improved. The majority of the app is available offline and compatible with tablets.
Happy Austrian tourists
Dispite the weak euro, Austrian tourists gain the best value for their money in the Eastern European EU countries. This was confirmed by Statistics Austria's latest calculations of purchasing power parities and price level indices: EUR 100 spent in Hungary and Czech Republic worth about EUR 170. In Croatia – also an important tourist destination – Austrian travelers gain on average EUR 151 for an equivalent basket of goods. For tourists, the best value for money among a set of 28 analysed countries can be realised in Bulgaria and Romania (EUR 207 and EUR 183). At the opposite end of the scale, Switzerland and Denmark are still the two most expensive countries in the sample: Austrian travelers gain purchasing power amounting to only EUR 65 and EUR 67 respectively.
October 7, Vienna
This is an exclusive opportunity for food and drink buyers to meet suppliers and producers. The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber is presenting an international cooperation forum for Austrian food producers, retailers and wholesalers. Participants can visit companies and tour their production sites.
October 14-16, Budapest
The EU wants to create a more lucrative European railway network.There are numerous endeavours and measures focusing on innovation and efficiency. These objectives are also served by the fact that the European funds available for infrastructure investments in the 2014-2020 programing period have been trebled and 80% of these will be spent on railways. This international conference on railway development provides a good chance to meet professionals from all over Europe. (end)