Austrian exports soaring after some hard years

By: trademagazin Date: 2007. 05. 30. 08:00

Austrian food producers do not complain about being in a small market. Instead, they successfully look for possibilities to export their goods. Josef Domschitz (45), the officer responsible for competitiveness and development in the Trade Association of Austrian Food Manufacturers explained why and how this is. The three year Austrian export campaign targeting the 10 new EU states is over now. Their new targets are Romania, Bulgaria, the Western Balkan states, Russia and the USA. In May, hey held a two day Austrian food exhibition in Belgrade, sponsored jointly by the Austrian Chamber of Business and Agrar Marketing Austria (AMA). Last year they exported more food than was imported, for the first time ever. Success did not come cheap however. Only a few years ago, the Austrian food industry was described as “intimidated” by exceptionally concentrated trade. Then came the shock resulting from accession to the EU. Austrian food is generally expensive, but of high quality. All major companies in the sweets sector for example, sell more of their products abroad than in the domestic market. After accession to the EU, duties were lifted and foreign food products flooded the Austrian market. At the same time, possibilities for exporting also opened up. The main reason behind development was necessity. The great pressure exerted on production for a long time by the very concentrated retail trade also made production flexible and .open to development.“Tourism plays an important part in promoting our special foods. A lot of Germans started to look for our products in German stores after coming to Austria” – Josef Domschitz says. Millions of skiers from neighbouring countries get acquainted with Austrian flavours each year. This is a base to be built on. People in Romania and Bulgaria are also curious. If the packaging is attractive, they will buy Austrian products. 90 per cent of food made in Austria is produced by small to medium enterprises. This is important because many people find it hard to understand the EU system of subsidies. Export subsidies are available and EUR 600 million worth of these have been found by Josef Domschitz and his organisations for Austrian companies over the years. The main objective of Austrian companies is to identify the market gaps where there is demand for their specialities. Sweets and drinks like Manner wafers, Mozart balls and coins, and Red Bull are typically Austrian products, which are the main engines of exports.

Related news