The event was co-organised by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Austrian Embassy.
The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) has taken effect, bringing about opportunities for both Vietnam and Austria to diversify their markets and enrich consumers' choices. Given such context, the forum presented a chance for their distributors, importers, and firms to meet, exchange information, and form partnerships.
In his remarks, Vice President of the VCCI Nguyen Quang Vinh said the countries share a sound traditional friendship and multifaceted cooperation, with Austria among the first European nations establishing diplomatic relations with Vietnam. This year marks the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic ties.
Through its development and international integration process, Vietnam always attaches importance to boosting cooperation with traditional friends, including Austria, Vinh stated.
From the Austrian side, Barbara Eibinger-Miedl, Regional Minister for Economy, Tourism, Europe, Science and Research at the State Government of Styria, introduced her southeastern state which is taking the lead in Austria in terms of research and development.
According to her, Styria stands out for its innovative products and services. It is one of Austria's five states that enjoy trade surplus, with its exports worth 26 billion EUR (25.58 billion USD) and imports valued at 19.5 billion EUR in 2019. The state's overseas shipments accounted for 17% of the total national exports, ranking second after Upper Austria.
Austria and Styria highly value the cooperation between Vietnamese and Australian firms, the official affirmed.
As heard at the event, along with the good development of political relations in the past years, economic - trade cooperation between Vietnam and Austria has made remarkable progress. Bilateral trade turnover neared 3.5 billion USD in 2021. Currently, Austria is among the top 10 trading partners of Vietnam in the EU. Their collaboration has also recorded positive growth in the fields of science-technology, culture, and development cooperation.
Vocational training is now in great demand from both nations. A survey by the Embassy of Vietnam in Austria reveals that the European country is in need of workhands right now, especially in the service sector serving restaurants, hotels, and resorts, among others.
With a population of only 1.25 million people, Styria is the second largest among the nine Austrian states and has great potential for cooperation with Vietnam, especially in the automotive, mechanical and electronic industries. Many large enterprises from the state have successfully cooperated with the Vietnamese side in the fields of energy and industry. For example, Andritz Group has participated in many key hydropower projects in Vietnam. Meanwhile, Magna Steyr and AVL List joined the design of cars by VinFast, the automotive arm of Vietnam's conglomerate Vingroup.
Taking advantage of the EVFTA, Styria’s enterprises have many opportunities to strengthen and expand joint works with Vietnam, while the state can step up its cooperation with the country in such areas as training and research, tourism, and culture.
An article recently published in Austria's Kronen Zeitung newspaper said the Vietnamese economy is booming with the presence of more and more foreign firms and investors, a trend that firms in Styria do not want to miss.
It quoted Minister Eibinger-Miedl as saying that there are ample opportunities for Austrian firms to invest in Vietnam in energy technology and environment, design and construction, as well as green technologies.
Chief Executive of the Internationalisation Centre Styria Robert Brugger said after 2 years of closure due to COVID-19 pandemic, now is the right time for Styria to rise again while Vietnam has also returned to its growth trajectory in a spectacular way.
Data from the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO) showed that in 2021, Styria exported 28 million EUR worth of goods to Vietnam while spending 147 million EUR on imports from the country.