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Strengthening the Crisis Resilience of the Austrian Economy: Global Economic Campaign ReFocus Austria to Continue

AUSTRIA, September 7 - With a total of 300 events completed in the past year, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and Minister of Labour and Economy Martin Kocher announced the extension of the ReFocus Austria campaign.

On 8 September 2022, at this year’s Ambassadors’ Conference of the Foreign Ministry, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and Minister of Labour and Economy Martin Kocher looked back at the first, successful year of the globally implemented economic campaign ReFocus Austria. The more than 100 Austrian representations working as Team Austria – in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Economy and other federal ministries, “Aussenwirtschaft Austria” (Foreign Trade Austria) of the Austrian Economic Chamber (WKO), and the Austrian National Tourist Board – have organised more than 300 custom-tailored events in over 80 countries since the initiative’s launch on 7 September 2021. The campaign to strengthen Austria’s export economy will now be continued.

The success of this initiative demonstrated that more than 2,200 export companies and their local branches could be supported through ReFocus. We want to keep that momentum going by continuing the economic diplomacy initiative ReFocus Austria. The Foreign Ministry will continue to provide support as a door-opener, network-builder, and advocate to help develop our prosperity, maintain Austria’s strength as an economic location, and secure our labour market in the long term,

said Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg during the annual review of ReFocus Austria.

ReFocus Austria started as a central part of the Austrian government’s Comeback Plan for economic recovery during and after the pandemic. More recently, the global effects of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and the associated collapse of traditional markets are once again challenging Austria's economic resilience to crises, strategic foresight and social resilience. Inflation, the energy crisis, and supply chain shortages have led to massive delays, with tangible effects on everyday life and the labour market.

Austria is an export-oriented country; it exports hundreds of billions of euros in goods annually. The pandemic and the worldwide recession created a serious slump in global trade. Austria’s foreign trade recovered quickly from this slump and is now well above the pre-crisis level again. Our active trade policy and the efforts surrounding ReFocus are making Austrian companies and their products known worldwide. These international trade relations are securing hundreds of thousands of jobs in Austria and strengthening the domestic corporate landscape,

said Minister of Labour and Economy Martin Kocher.

Through strategic diplomatic visits with trade delegations, networking meetings, company tours, and meetings with local decision-makers, ReFocus Austria presents Austria to other countries as an attractive business location and tourism destination, and promotes the expertise of leading domestic companies. The Austrian diplomats’ direct access to political leadership in the host countries is very helpful here. The ReFocus Austria events and activities primarily take place within seven future-oriented fields: renewable energy, e-mobility, sustainability, the recycling economy, digital transformation, infrastructure, urban technology, and tourism.

Austria is an export country. More than half of our wealth comes from what companies successfully generate in the international markets. That makes it all the more important for politics and business to continue to pull together in order to strengthen our export economy. Initiatives like ReFocus Austria can supplement and support the functioning structures and existing synergies,

explained Mariana Kühnel, the responsible Secretary-General of the WKO, referring to the worldwide network of Aussenwirtschaft Austria. In the past year alone, with support from Aussenwirtschaft Austria, more than 300 events were held to support the Austrian export business.

Team Austria’s hard work over the past year was met with great acclaim from Austrian companies, as Rosenbauer CSO Andreas Zeller and Starlinger CEO Angelika Huemer confirmed during ReFocus Austria’s annual review. During a panel discussion with Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and Minister of Labour and Economy Martin Kocher, the executives of the two top-tier Austrian companies reported on their experiences with ReFocus Austria and the current challenges of the domestic export economy.

Team Austria will continue to use ReFocus Austria in order to open doors for the Austrian economy worldwide and to draw attention to its interests.