Blümel: Trade talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Success a strong sign of cohesion in times of corona
; trade relations consolidated
As part of the visit to Austria by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a working meeting was held on Friday morning at the Austrian Ministry of Finance with Finance Minister Gernot Blümel and representatives of export-focused companies. Those in attendance included successful managers such as Franz Kainersdorfer on behalf of voestalpine, Alfred Stern representing Borealis, Jürgen Rauch for beverage manufacturer Rauch, and Michael Egger on behalf of the Egger Group. Hans Michel Piëch was there to represent the interests of the automobile industry. What all these companies have in common is close business links with the United States.
"The USA is our most important trading partner outside Europe. The corona crisis has severely impacted the economy on both sides of the Atlantic. In Austria, half of our jobs depend on exports, and it is therefore important to rapidly steer trade relations back to normality. Today, we brought the US Secretary of State together at the same table with Austrian export champions in order to discuss opportunities for joint cooperation. At present, a determined fight against the virus is at the forefront. In future, most of all, there will be a continued need for an open and fair partnership between Europe and the USA in order to secure living standards and jobs," remarked Finance Minister Gernot Blümel on the state visit.
USA a key business partner
The USA is Austria's second-largest export partner, and half of jobs in Austria have a close connection with the export trade. The coronavirus crisis has generated a slump in Austrian export business, with exports contracting in May by 25.5% on an annual basis. The industry most affected is the machinery and automotive industry, which has suffered a slump of over one third. Indeed, exports to the United States have fallen by 34%. Overall, since 2018, Austrian firms have invested EUR 11 billion in the USA, and 650 firms and 200 production facilities owned by Austrian enterprises are established in the USA, employing around 30,000 people. Conversely, US firms have invested around 14.5 billion in Austria, creating and securing around 25,000 jobs nationwide.