Austria

Герб
 Флаг
 
Coat of arms: the current one has been in use, in various forms, by the Republic of Austria since 1919. Between 1934 and the German annexation in 1938 Austria used a different coat of arms, which consisted of a double-headed eagle (one-party corporate state led by the clerico-right-wing Fatherland Front). The establishment of the Second Republic in 1945 saw the return of the original (First Republic) arms, with broken chains added to symbolise Austria's liberation.
Flag: has three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and red. The Austrian triband is based on the coat of arms of the Babenberg dynasty, recorded in the 13th century. It may have seen use in flags from about the 15th century, alongside the black-and-yellow colours of the House of Habsburg and other insignia of the Holy Roman Empire. It was adopted as a naval ensign in the 18th century, and as national flag in 1918.
 
  • Anthem: «Land der Berge, Land am Strome». On 22 October 1946, the song was declared Austria's official national anthem.
  • Official languages: German.
  • Geographical location: it is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The territory of Austria covers 83,879 km 2 (32,386 sq mi).
  • Administrative divisions: as a federal republic, Austria is divided into nine states (German: Bundesländer). These states are then divided into districts (Bezirke) and statutory cities (Statutarstädte). Districts are subdivided into municipalities (Gemeinden). Statutory Cities have the competencies otherwise granted to both districts and municipalities. The states are not mere administrative divisions but have some legislative authority distinct from the federal government, e.g. in matters of culture, social care, youth and nature protection, hunting, building, and zoning ordinances.
  • Capital: Vienna.
  • Governance: the head of state is the Federal President (Bundespräsident), who is directly elected by popular vote. The chairman of the Federal Government is the Federal Chancellor, who is appointed by the President. The Parliament of Austria consists of two chambers. With legislative and executive, the courts are the third column of Austrian state powers. Austria attaches great importance to participation in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and other international economic organisations, and it has played an active role in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). As an OSCE-participating State, Austria's international commitments are subject to monitoring under the mandate of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.
  • Population: 8.37 million.
  • Currency: Euro.
  • GDP: $377 billion.
  • Time zone: GMT +2.
  • Telephone code: +43.
  • Barcode: 90 — 91.

Political cooperation

Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Belarus and the Republic of Austria were established on February 5, 1992. Since 1993, the Embassy of Belarus has been operating in Austria. The Austrian Embassy in Minsk began its work on February 9, 2016.
The legal framework of the Belarusian-Austrian relations includes 15 agreements and 1 protocol to the agreement.
The political dialogue between Belarus and Austria in recent years has been characterized by steady positive dynamics. Regular meetings and negotiations are held between the official representatives of the two countries at different levels, inter-MFA consultations and meetings of the Belarusian-Austrian intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation. 
On June 28 - 29, 2018, the Federal President of the Republic of Austria A. Van der Bellen paid a working visit to the Republic of Belarus to attend the opening ceremony of the second stage of the memorial complex at the site of the former Maly Trostenets death camp.
On November 12, 2019, the first official visit of the President of the Republic of Belarus to the Republic of Austria took place in the history of Belarusian-Austrian relations. A. Lukashenko held talks with his Austrian counterpart A. Van der Bellen and Chairman of the Austrian National Council (Parliament) V. Sobotka. The President of Belarus also met with the Chairman of the Austrian People’s Party, deputy of the National Council of Austria S. Kurtz and took part in the Belarusian-Austrian Economic Forum.

 

Trade, economic and investment cooperation

In recent years, Belarusian-Austrian economic relations have been characterized by stable positive dynamics.
In order to develop them, a number of bilateral institutional mechanisms have been created and are successfully functioning, the main of which are the Belarusian-Austrian intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation and the Belarusian-Austrian business council.
Direct working contacts have been established and maintained between the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Austrian Chamber of Economics, through a number of government bodies, financial institutions and insurance organizations of the two countries.
Bilateral economic forums are regularly held in Austria and Belarus.
Deliveries of Belarusian goods to the Austrian market are characterized by relatively low volumes. This is primarily due to its inaccessibility for Belarusian manufacturers due to the high level of tariff and non-tariff protection, an unprecedentedly tough competitive environment, oversaturation in almost all segments and niches, expensive logistics for the delivery of goods and related commercial services, hidden protectionist measures.
In 2019, bilateral trade amounted to $ 186.3 million (110.7% compared to 2018), exports - $ 21.0 million (73.9%), imports - $ 165.3 million (118.2 %). The balance was negative - 144.3 million dollars. 
In 2019, Belarusian manufacturers and trading companies exported 114 commodity items (4-digit HS codes) to Austria, in 2018 - 108 items.

Dynamics of trade in goods between Belarus and Austria in 2015 — 2019 (in million US dollars)

Year

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

in 2019 as compared to 2018, %

Turnover

184,2

144.3

177.4

168.2

186.3

110.7

Exports

19.8

15.5

19.0

28.4

21.0

73.9

Imports

164.4

128.8

158.4

139.8

165.3

118.2

Balance

-144.6 -113.3 -139.4 -111.4 -144.3  

The most significant export items to Austria were:

Export of the most important goods from the Republic of Belarus to the Republic of Austria in 2019 (in thousands US dollars)

Products

Cost

Insulated wires, cables

3917.2

Other furniture and parts thereof

2387.9

Unalloyed steel wire

1833.8

Other non-alloy steel bars, hot-rolled

1 117,5

Other wooden products

865.5

Nails, buttons, staples made of ferrous metals

831.7

Soft roofing materials

768.3

Petroleum products

743.7

Potash fertilizers

591,6

Sawn timber

500.6

The largest positions of Austrian deliveries to Belarus were:

Import of essential goods from the Republic of Austria to the Republic of Belarus in 2019 (in thousands US dollars)

Products

Cost

Retail Drugs

8740.4

Rolling stock parts

8609.2

Vaccines, blood serum, blood

7821.1

Fittings, fasteners made of base metal used for furniture, doors

6637.1

Metal stamping machines

5468.7

Lathes

5048.7

Equipment for processing rubber or plastics

4735.2

Other food products

4456.3

Tissue paper

4128.2

Vehicles intended for repair, maintenance of railway or tram tracks

4038.5

The negative dynamics of exports in 2019 is mainly due to a significant reduction in the supply of metal products. The reasons for this situation were the crisis in the German automobile industry and the European automotive components industry, as well as the introduction by the European Commission of protective measures in February 2019 regarding the import of metal products from third countries. 
Austria plays the role of a springboard for individual Belarusian exporters to enter the markets of third countries. Thus, with the assistance of a number of Austrian trading companies (including those with Belarusian capital), Belarusian products are sold in third countries on a scale many times greater than the volume of purchases for Austria. Sales of Belarusian goods by these companies is 250-300 million dollars annually. We are talking about the supply of woodworking products, metal products, oil products, potash fertilizers, furniture, etc. to countries such as Germany, Italy, France, Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, Poland, the Baltic countries and Scandinavia, as well as the United States.

The main articles of import of Austria, which correspond with the export opportunities of the Republic of Belarus:

  • ferrous metal products;
  • oil products;
  • potash fertilizers;
  • nitrogen fertilizers;
  • wild mushrooms and berries;
  • furniture and other woodworking products;
  • cables and insulated wires;
  • fiberglass.

An important component of the Belarusian-Austrian economic interaction is trade in services.
In 2019, the turnover of services reached a record level of $ 193.3 million (+ 4.2%), exceeding the volume of trade in goods ($ 186.3 million) for the second year in a row. Export, having increased by 10.3%, amounted to 128.2 million dollars, import - 65.1 million dollars (94.0%). The balance was positive in the amount of 63.1 million dollars.
 

Dynamics of the turnover of services between Belarus and Austria in 2015 — 2019 (in millions US dollars)

Year

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

in 2019 as compared to 2018, %

Turnover

109.1

101.9

110.1

185.5

193.3

104.2

Exports

53.2

50.5

71.1

116.2

128.2

110.3

Imports

55.9

51.4

39.0

69.3

65.1

94.0

Surplus

-2.7

-0.9

32.1

46.9

63.1

 

In 2019, traditionally, most of the export of services accounted for transport services (71.6%). Computer, telecommunications and information services (12.0%) took the second place, having increased 1.7 times, and tourism services took the third place with a share of 10.0%. 
Austria is traditionally one of the largest investors in the Belarusian economy and plays an important role in the modernization of Belarusian enterprises in a number of industries (energy, transport infrastructure, petrochemicals, mechanical engineering, wood and metal processing, food processing, construction, environmental protection, etc.).

The volume of investment from Austria to Belarus in 2015 — 2019 (in millions US dollars)

Year

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

in 2019 as compared to 2018, %

Investments

353.4

288.0

296.2

296.7

 437.8

147,5

Direct investments

71.9

159.6

111.8

75.0

89.2

118.8

Among the largest Austrian investors working in the Belarusian market are Kronospan (woodworking), Kapsch (creating a national electronic toll payment system BelToll), Raiffeisen Bank (banking), “A1 Telekom Austria Group ”(telecommunication services and energy),“Vienna Insurance Group” (insurance services).
82 enterprises with Austrian capital (48 joint ventures and 34 foreign enterprises), as well as 20 representative offices of Austrian companies, are registered in Belarus.
Three trading companies of Belarusian business entities are registered in Austria: BELMET Handelsgeselshaft and RMZ Fertribsgesellschaft — joint ventures with the participation of the Belarusian Metallurgical Plant, SolTrade with the participation of Belaruskali, and a representative office of Belavia Airlines.
An important event of recent years in bilateral credit and investment cooperation was the placement in 2017-2019. with the assistance of the Austrian Raiffeisen Bank International AG, Belarusian Eurobonds totaling $ 2.5 billion and 210 million Belarusian rubles.

 

This article has been prepared on the basis of information provided by the National Centre for Marketing and Price Study of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in the Republic of Austria, and taken from public sources. The information presented herein is for informative purposes only. In this regard, it may be useful for the companies, which have been working in Austria for a long time, as well as for those, which are going to enter this market. Any questions, feedbacks and comments concerning this article are welcome. All of them will be fully considered and taken into account, if possible. If you have any information that may be interesting and useful for the visitors of this page, please write to us.

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