Major upswing in UAE-Austria commerce



Austria has emerged as an important business partner of the UAE with exports to the European Union country doubling in 2006 compared to a year earlier and imports growing by 48.5 per cent in the same period, according to the latest report by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The UAE’s exports to Austria stood at €53.1 million (Dh308m) in 2006, up from €25.3m a year earlier, with Dubai contributing a fair share to the country’s total trade with Austria.

In 2002, Dubai’s total trade with Austria – import and export combined – was about €91m, increasing to €261.9m in 2006 for a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30.1 per cent.

Austria is classified by the World Bank as belonging to the high-income economies within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

In 2006, Austria’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased by €12.6 billion or 5.1 per cent at current prices, to reach €257.9bn. GDP per capita was €31,140.

The services sector dominated the Austrian economy by contributing 68 per cent to the total GDP of the country, followed by the manufacturing sector with 30 per cent, while the agricultural sector contributed just two per cent. In 2007, Austria’s population was estimated at 8.2 million, with 43.4 per cent of its people engaged in the labour force.

During the period 2002 to 2006, Austria increased both its exports and imports at almost the same CAGR of 15 per cent, indicating the rapid growth of the country as an international market.

In 2006, the total merchandise trade of Austria with the world reached €378.9bn, of which imports amounted to €188.9bn.

However, Austria’s total trade with Arab countries accounted for less than one per cent of its total foreign trade in 2006, totalling €2.1bn.
Imports from Arab countries made up 44 per cent of this total, while exports to the Arab states accounted for the remaining 56 per cent, which demonstrates that the balance of trade is in favour of Austria.

While Arab exports to Austria had been on the decline from 2003 to 2005, they doubled in value in 2006. Conversely, imports into the Arab countries from Austria, which had been almost constant until 2004, rose steadily in 2005 and 2006, registering values of €1.35bn in 2005 and €1.77bn in 2006.

Austria could become a potentially favoured market for the Arab countries, especially the UAE, according to experts in foreign trade.
Since Austria is a member of the European Union, investors in the UAE can benefit from an impending Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU that is under negotiation. Austria can be a port of entry for the UAE’s exports to the EU.

The UAE could also benefit from a stable and liberal investment climate and trade opportunities available in Austria. Similarly, Austrian investors can take advantage of investment incentives available in the UAE.

In 2006, Austria’s major imports from the region originated from Saudi Arabia, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco and Syria. The country’s major exports destinations were Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Algeria, Egypt and Kuwait.

Austria’s major exports to Arab countries are machinery and industrial equipment, iron and steel, lumber, manufactured goods, food and livestock and chemicals. The country’s major imports from the Arab world are petroleum, textiles, clothing, pharmaceuticals, vehicles, foodstuffs, machinery and chemicals.

The numbers

€53.1m: The UAE’s exports to Austria in 2006, up from €25.3m in 2005

1%: Austria’s trade with Arab countries out of its total foreign trade