In the past few years, Austria’s enterprises have had remarkable success on international markets. However, success in the past is no guarantee for continued success in the future. This is why, within the scope of the internationalisation initiative, the BMWFJ has decided, along with all interested institutions, interest groups, researchers and enterprises, to survey the factors that will determine the international competitiveness of both Austria’s businesses and Austria as a business location over the next few years.
The aim was to come up with a general policy statement for Austria’s external trade that provides the basis for a shared understanding of the (geopolitical, technological, demographical, etc.) developments Austria's external trade is going to be confronted with in the near future, while at the same time outlining the measures that need to be taken to benefit the most from potential opportunities. Involving diverse stakeholders in the discussion process, which was open to all interested parties, was the path taken to ensure an interdisciplinary approach and broaden the range of ideas.
The project kick-off was a one-day workshop entitled “Globalisation as an opportunity – challenges for Austria’s economy”. This event, which took place on 24 September 2007 at Schönbrunn Palace, featured a high-profile panel discussion as well as interactive sessions at which the first elements of the new vision for Austria’s external trade policy statement were conceived.
On 26 November 2007, a workshop on the subject of “Austria’s external trade relations – vision and reality” was organised at the Siemens Forum in Vienna..
It involved compiling a survey of the status quo (SWOT analysis) and establishing working groups that addressed the following eight topics:
- Trade policy
- Financial matters
- Sustainable development
- Human resources
The outcome of this in-depth discussion process, which took several months to complete, was summarised to form the Austrian external trade policy statement and presented to the general public on 24 April 2008. On 12 August 2008, the Austrian external trade policy statement was finally submitted to the Council of Ministers.
Its title – “Shaping globalisation – success through openness and innovation” – indicates a commitment to actively addressing both the threats and opportunities of progressing internationalisation, while at the same time identifying the key success factors: an optimistic and open-minded outlook and a focus on education, research, innovation and infrastructure as investments in the future. Sustainable development and corporate social responsibility also count among the criteria based on which Austria can define its position in international competition.
The comprehensive external trade policy statement furnishes an excellent basis from which to derive, develop and implement concrete actions, thus making a major contribution to perpetuating Austria’s international success story.
Further information (only available in German):