Austria Offers Engineering Technology

by Shmasul Huda | Apr 16, 2014
A high-level trade delegation from Austria visited the Eastern Province last month offering a range of products and services. They mainly included engineering technology for railway and transportation, oil and gas, timber, foodstuffs, packaging, logistics systems, warehousing management and consultancy services.

Representatives of the 18-member Austrian delegation led by Ms. Ulrike Straka, Regional Director, Africa & Middle East of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (AFEC) during their visit to the region held B-to-B meetings with their Saudi counterparts.

Ms. Straka met with the Asharqia Chamber’s Secretary General Mr. Abdulrahman A. Al Wabel and discussed possible ways and means to strengthen bilateral trade relations between Saudi Arabia and Austria. Mr. Pierre Prunis, Commercial Counselor of the Austrian Embassy in Riyadh, was present on the occasion.

Ms. Straka focused on potential cooperation between the two countries in the fields of healthcare, water treatment, environment and alternative energy. “We have much to offer to the Kingdom in the development of renewable energy,” she said adding that Austrian renewables represent over 40 percent of its total energy consumption.    

There are huge prospects for alternative energy sources in Saudi Arabia, where the sun emits about 7,000 watts of energy per square meter over an average of 12 hours. The Kingdom needs to develop solar energy for the cooling systems of its houses and factories. She offered Austrian expertise and technology in the field of developing solar energy in Saudi Arabia.  

Ms. Straka highlighted activities of AFEC saying that it initiates and facilitates regional, national and global economic partnerships for the benefit of the Austrian economy. It has more than 450,000 member companies. It offers modern services and provides fast expert advice on topics from labor laws to customs information. AFEC contributes to improving the competitive ability of domestic companies, she noted.

AFEC has a section namely ‘Women in Business’. Since 1983, it has been the contact point within the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber for 100,000 female entrepreneurs. Around 33 percent of the Austrian companies are led by women. When asked, Ms. Straka pointed out that there is possibility of cooperation between AFEC and Asharqia Chamber in grooming women entrepreneurship. ‘Women in Business’ offers information on current topics and organizes seminars for women in the domains of training and advanced education.

With renewed promotional activities, Austrian products are increasingly becoming popular in the Saudi market. In 2013, its exports to the Kingdom amounted to 684 million euro, representing an 18 percent increase over the previous year. Austria mainly exports vehicles, pharmaceuticals, lightings, paper, foodstuffs and beverages to Saudi Arabia. Last year, Saudi exports to Austria accounted for 372 million euro.  


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