Big potential for increased trade with India, says Austrian envoy

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on October 08, 2014 Published on October 08, 2014

Bernhard Wrabetz

Opportunities in public infrastructure, transport and energy

Austrian Ambassador to India Bernhard Wrabetz thinks the potential to strengthen economic ties between India and Austria is endless.

Though trade relations between Austria and India are strong, and trade volumes peaked at €1.4 billion in 2011, Austrian exports to India fell dramatically in 2012.

Trade recovered in 2013, and Wrabetz is optimistic that economic relations between the countries will get a fillip this year. Adding that the focus should be on economic relations, Wrabetz said: “We see a lot of opportunities here, especially in public infrastructure, transport, energy, and waste management, where Austria has developed technologies for specific situations that are fully applicable in India.

”Cross-border trade accounts for €6 in every €10 generated in Austria, making foreign trade its primary source of wealth creation. Having arrived in the Maximum City to announce the upcoming Austrian Cultural Week to be held in Mumbai between October 24 and November 2, Wrabetz said: “The time is right for Austria and India not only to explore the huge potential that exists between the two countries, but also implement it,” he said, adding that despite more than 40 Austrian companies being located in Mumbai and across India, there was room for many more to enhance trade.

Destination of choice

“Mumbai is the financial and economical hub of India and it has been so for many decades. The proof of this is a lot of Austrian companies have chosen to have Mumbai, and Maharashtra, as their first destination in India. We hope to build on that strong foundation,” added the Ambassador.

The Austrian Cultural Week will showcase “Austria’s cultural, economic and intellectual splendour,” Wrabetz said. From a traditional Viennese Ball, and an Austrian food and film festival, the highlight of the week will be a concert by the Salzburg Chamber Youth Orchestra.

The Honorary Vice-Consul of Austria and CEO of the Jasubhai Group, Maulik Jasubhai said: “The Viennese Ball would be a perfect opportunity for business networking at the highest levels. Mumbai witnessed the last Viennese Ball in 2009.”

Wolfram Moritz, the Austrian Trade Commissioner, touched upon Austrian corporates in India. “We have more that 130 Austrian companies established in India. All the big names are here,” he said.

Speaking about Indian ventures in Austria, he pointed out how Bajaj had bought motorcycle-maker KTM.

“The Cafe Coffee Day chain has also been established in Austria. Austrian hotels are being acquired by Indian companies as well. Wabag Hotels, an Austrian hospitality group, had a subsidiary in India, which then took over the parent company. They both exist, and each brings key components from Austria and India. This is an example of how things can develop between the two nations,” he said.

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Published on October 08, 2014
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