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Austrian mission to seek bilateral trade expansion

An 18-member multi-sectoral Austrian trade mission will be visiting major cities of the Kingdom next week to boost bilateral trade, according to Pierre Prunis, commercial counselor at the Embassy of Austria in Riyadh.
The commercial section of the Austrian embassy and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (AFEC) are organizing the trade mission from March 23 to 26 and “18 companies have shown their strong interest in the Saudi market,” Prunis told Arab News on Thursday.
The group of companies will be headed by Ulrike Straka, regional manager for Africa and the Middle East in AFEC.
The visiting delegation will first visit Riyadh for 2 days and will then be for a day each in Jeddah and the Eastern Province, especially Dammam, where world-class industries are based and which represent around 50 percent of the Kingdom’s total industries.
The firms from various sectors will hold over 400 B2B talks with their major Saudi counterparts in all the three major cities, Prunis added.
In terms of quality and know-how, Austria has an excellent reputation all over the world and especially in the Middle East. Many small and medium sized companies are specialized on niche products and solutions for the unusual projects, Prunis said.
The delegates offer know-how in warehouse automation, aerial survey with drones, software for automation technology, timber, food, health care, egg packaging, glass packaging, wire and cable, railway, etc., he added.
According to Prunis, Saudi Arabia is the most important market for Austria in the Middle East. “In 2013 once again a new record high in exports to Saudi Arabia could be reached — 684 million euros from 578 million euros in 2012, a plus of 18.3 percent,” he stated.
“The trade volume between the two countries remained stable, above the one billion euro barrier,” he added.
While Austrian exports consist of many products, such as pharmaceuticals, energy drinks, fruit juice, timber, paper, special vehicles, machines for various sectors, steel and plastic products, railway tracks and furniture, the imports from Saudi Arabia mainly comprise crude oil.