With thanks to the Austrian export industry, “the crown jewel of our economy”, the President of the Chamber of Commerce, Harald Mahrer, opened this year's Export Day on June 25th. Around 3.000 interested people came to the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, 70 economic delegates were available for consultations. Mahrer recalled that thanks to the continued performance of Austrian companies in the previous year, another record had been achieved with an export volume of 150 billion euros, and mentioned the next goals: "We have set ourselves the goal of achieving 2020 billion euros for 160." 

Mahrer relies heavily on new markets. This is about "pushing forward" to Southeast Asia, where a foreign trade office was recently opened in Vietnam, and Africa offers great potential. Also with the innovations one wants to set priorities, "the trump-ace" is thereby the climate and environmental technology. Here Austria is internationally regarded as a role model, nine out of ten foreign delegations were just interested in this area, according to Mahr.

support program

Minister of Economic Affairs Elisabeth Udolf-Strobl was convinced that a continuation of the success story is possible. In order to strengthen the competitiveness of Austrian companies abroad, her ministry is working on the implementation of strategies such as the foreign trade strategy. In addition, Udolf-Strobl announced the continuation of Go-International, the joint export initiative of the Federal Government and the Chamber of Commerce. Go-International has been offering tailor-made support to Austrian export companies since 2003 and is now expected to attract 2021 new exporters by 1.700 and open up new markets for more than 3.000 companies.

New chance

On the occasion of Export Day in June 2019, Minister of Economic Affairs Elisabeth Udolf-Strobl signed a letter of intent with Chamber of Commerce President Harald Mahrer to extend the Go-International export offensive by a further two years. The funding will amount to 31 million euros until March 2021, 25,6, with a focus on securing the location, growth markets and future industries as well as digitization, innovation and technology. According to Wilhelm Nest, the head of the internationalization offensive, the sector focus - technology, mobility, health, food, construction, energy, mechanical engineering, export of services and creative industries - as well as direct funding form the heart of the program. The latter will cover up to 50 percent of the market entry, digital presence and training and consultancy related to the international project business. "The strongest demand is generally for all direct subsidies, in addition to the seats at Austrian stands at leading international trade fairs and in general our networking events abroad, where we network Austrian companies targeted locally," says Nest from experience.

The numerous info sessions of the Export Day focused on future trends in the fields of medicine, trade, workplace, marketing, shared economy and data security. The impulse for this was laid by Canadian futurologist and consultant Jesse Hirsh in his keynote address on the possibilities and limitations of artificial intelligence.

In front of the curtain

On the eve of Export Day, the excellent international commitment of Austrian companies was recognized as part of the so-called Exporters' Nite. 20 companies were awarded this year's export prize (details in the box below), around 270 companies applied for it. "We award new approaches that stimulate Austria's foreign trade - from extraordinary marketing strategies to undiscovered niche providers," explained Michael Otter, head of the Außenwirtschaft Austria, Gold, silver and bronze were awarded in six divisions, as well as special awards for global players and, for the first time, the Global EcoVision Award, which honors outstanding ecological innovations. The expat award went to Sieglinde Kaiser from the plastics processing company Polytech.

Export price 2019

Six gold and two special prizes went to the following companies:

FACC: lightweight construction for the flight
Category crafts and crafts

The FACC AG based in Ried im Innkreis has been producing lightweight components and systems for the aerospace industry for 30 years. The export quota is 100 percent, sales have already reached 750 million euros. FACC employs 3.500 people in 13 countries. Production takes place in Austria as well as in China, India and the UAE.

Pessl: Remote monitoring on the field
Pessl: Remote monitoring on the field
Category Trade

Launched in Weiz before 35 years ago Pessl instruments develops and distributes electronic weather stations as well as measuring and crop protection warning devices for agriculture in 80 countries under the label iMetos. Pessl is present with 125 employees and eight sales offices in Europe, the USA, Brazil, South Africa, Ukraine and Turkey.

Miba: components for electric motors
Category industry

Miba, Which originated from a locksmith's shop in Laakirchen in 1927, is a strategic partner of the international engine and vehicle industry with its products. The group has 26 production sites in Europe, Asia, North and South America and employs more than 7.400 people. The turnover is already close to one billion euros.

Inteco: high-tech for the steel industry
Category information & advice

Inteco melting and casting technologies, founded in 1973 in Bruck an der Mur, is the only producer worldwide to supply systems and technologies for the entire process chain of steel production. The export quota is 90 percent, the turnover is 380 million euros. 200 employees work in Austria, Brazil, China, India, Italy and the USA.

Cineplexx: Cinema to Thessaloniki
Category Tourism & Leisure

Cineplexx movie theaters, Founded in 1993 by Constantin Film and now family-owned, international business started with Cineplexx International in 2000 - from South Tyrol to the Balkans, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece. Today, Cineplexx has 1.500 employees and 44 cinemas in eleven countries and has a turnover of 140 million euros.

GKB: freight transport to northern China
Category Transport & Traffic

The Graz-Köflacher train and bus operation Immediately after the liberalization of the railways in Europe, 1991 entered into international freight transport with joint ventures. Today, he works with his subsidiaries LTE-Logistik und Transport and Adria Transport (founded 2000 or 2005) in almost all of Europe. Currently, business activities extend to China.

Voestalpine: Hydrogen Project
Special Award Global Ecovision

Under the title H2FUTURE drives the Voestalpine AG a European flagship project to decarbonise energy-intensive industries. For this purpose, the world's largest pilot plant for CO2-free production of hydrogen built. The goal is to replace coke and coal with "green" hydrogen.

Greiner: Plastic for every need
Special Award Global Player

The Greiner AG based in Kremsmünster is active with four divisions in plastics processing and foam production. The family company with 150 years of history employs almost 140 people in more than 11.000 locations and has a turnover of 1,6 billion euros. The export quota is 87 percent.

Photos: Frank Helmrich / WKO, FACC / Bartsch, Miba, Inteco, 2 Wikimedia, H2 Future, Greiner AG