Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, the U.S. market share, the political situation if relevant, the top reasons why U.S. companies should consider exporting to this country, and other issues that affect trade, e.g., terrorism, currency devaluations, trade agreements.
Last Published: 8/28/2018

This Country Commercial Guide (CCG) presents a comprehensive look at Austria’s commercial environment, including an analysis of economic, political, and market regulatory factors. Presented annually by an interagency team at the U.S. Embassy Austria, the CCG is intended as a tool for U.S. companies interested in doing business in Austria.

Key facts (2017):

  • Population: 8.8 million

  • Language: German

  • GDP (per capita): $416.8 billion ($47,290)

  • GDP growth: 2.9%

  • HICP inflation: 2.2%

  • Unemployment: 5.5%

  • Currency: Euro

  • European Union member: since 1995

​Source: International Monetary Fund

Trade

The Austrian economy is highly international. In 2017, Austria imported goods valued at $176 billion and exported goods worth $168 billion. Austria’s most important trading partners are Germany, the United States, Switzerland, and Italy. The European Union accounts for 70% of Austria’s foreign trade, and Germany accounts for over 30%. While Austria is a net exporter of technology to Germany, Switzerland and Russia, it is a net technology importer from the UK and the United States. The United States is Austria’s 4th-largest trading partner and second-largest export market after Germany. In 2017, U.S. goods exports to Austria totaled $4.3 billion, up 13% compared to 2016. Austrian goods exports to the United States were over twice that, totaling $11.7 billion, up 7% compared to 2016. Leading U.S. exports to Austria are organic chemicals, pharmaceutical products, aircraft/spacecraft and parts, machines/engines/pumps, medical and technical equipment, electronic equipment, and vehicles/parts.  

U.S. Exports to Austria 2017

$4.3 billion

Organic chemicals

29.49%

Pharmaceutical products

16.75%

Aircraft, Spacecraft, and Parts

8.17%

Nuclear Reactors, Boilers, Machinery

7.63%

Beverages, Spirits, Vinegar

5.62%

Optic, Photo, Medical, Surgical Instruments

5.13%

Electric Machinery, Sound Equipment, TVs

4.79%

Vehicles and Parts

2.38%

Other

20.04%


Strengths

Despite its small size, Austria is a rich market with the 28th largest GDP and the 14th highest per capita GDP in the world. The economy is diversified and highly international, with 63% of its manufacturing output destined for export. Unemployment rates are among the lowest in the EU and social stability is strong. Since 2013, Austria’s GDP growth rate has been steadily increasing. The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO) predicts a growth rate of 3.2% for 2018. Austria consistently receives high marks from rating agencies that evaluate sovereign credit risk.

Austria is a desirable location for U.S. companies wishing to establish regional operations due to its central location, low crime rates, and consistently high livability scores for the country’s capital city, Vienna. Austria is a safe country where democracy and the rule of law are firmly established. There is little crime, corruption is low, and transparency is high.  Austria was ranked 16th of 180 countries on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index in 2017.

Weaknesses

Austria’s economic weaknesses mirror its strengths. Though wealthy, with a population of 8.8 million, there is a natural limit to market potential. GDP growth is steady. U.S. companies face stiff competition in this very open market, both from national champions and multinational corporations. Exchange rate volatility can pose significant risk, as a change in the dollar/euro foreign-rate can quickly turn market growth into market contraction. U.S. companies considering establishing operations in Austria should keep in mind that, while livability is high, so are labor costs: the $33.67 per hour cost of labor reflects a wage premium of 30% above the EU average. Furthermore, U.S. nationals often have trouble conducting banking activities as many local banks, confronted with strict reporting requirements, are hesitant to serve clients from the United States.
 

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Austria Trade Development and Promotion