Austria is keen to involve more of its companies with their counterparts in Saudi Arabia, which it considers to be the most important market in the region.
“Austrian companies are already working with Saudi partners and business is growing, and we want to ride on the wave,” Ulrike Straka, regional director Africa/Middle East of Advantage Austria, Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, told Arab News.
“In fact, Austria is willing to take part in Saudi Arabia’s vocational training programs,” she said. “Also, Saudi Arabia is working on renewable energy and Austria can participate in it,” Straka added.
Straka heads an 18-member trade delegation organized by the Austrian Embassy’s commercial section and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber exploring new business opportunities across the Kingdom.
Accompanied by Riyadh-based Austrian Embassy Commercial Counselor Pierre Prunis, Straka and her delegation visited the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) on Monday, the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) on Tuesday and Asharqia Chamber in the Eastern Province on Wednesday.
The visiting company representatives from various sectors held B2B talks with major Saudi companies in the three major cities.
Straka stated that some of the companies have signed agreements with their Saudi counterparts. Some of the companies, which are already engaged with Saudi companies, are here to expand their business further.
According to her, the trade volume between the two countries remained stable above the 1 billion-euro mark. In 2013, Austria exported 684 million euros worth of goods to Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom’s exports to Austria reached the 370 million-euro mark. There was an 18 percent increase in trade in 2013 compared to 2012.
Austria’s global exports reached 125 billion euros in 2013 and imports totaled 130 billion euros. There was 1.5 percent growth in global exports from Austria in 2013.
Straka said: “We encourage Saudi delegations to visit Austria and are ready to work with them in cooperation with local chambers.” She added that a Saudi delegation of 9 companies visited Austria in February, which was jointly organized by the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and the Saudi-Austrian Business Council.
Straka said Austria has an excellent reputation for its quality and know-how worldwide and especially in the Middle East.
The visiting delegation focuses on niche market. Many companies are world market leaders in their specific fields.
According to her, Austria is well known for water treatment and renewable energy; the country satisfies 40 percent of its energy needs with renewable energy.
Austrian exports consist of many products such as special vehicles, lighting, chandeliers, pharmaceuticals, wood mainly for construction purposes, and food and beverages.
The companies represented in the delegation are various sectors such as wood, engineering, logistics, railway, packaging, plastic and glass packaging for pharmaceuticals, machinery for the cable production, consumer products, foodstuffs, school equipment and food additives.
The Austrian delegation included companies such as Alfred Vesely Timber-Export, Bogensberger Vermessung, Eplan Software & Service GmbH, Esarom GmbH, LTW Intralogistics GmbH, Ovotherm International Handels GesmbH, Stölzle-Oberglas GmbH, Teufelberger Seil Ges.m.b.H., Voestalpine VAE GmbH, VOS BürohandelsgesmbH.