In April 1946, the first liaison office was established abroad

Shortly after the end of WWII, those in charge realized that establishing international relations would be increasingly important for Austria’s economy since a growing export economy would result in economic boom, growth and job opportunities. Therefore, the first liaison office opened its doors in Paris on April 1, 1946. This marked the beginning of the Foreign Trade Commission Austria (“Außenwirtschaft Austria”) as we know it today. President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, Julius Raab, appointed Eugen Fritz, an Austrian who was living in France, to be the first representative. First and foremost, his tasks included the organization of vital imports for Austria who was still struck heavily from war.

A milestone for the Austrian economy

The establishment of the first office in the United States (1954 in Chicago) and the continuous expansion under Rudolf Sallinger (President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber 1964-1990) contributed significantly to the role of the Austrian Foreign Trade Commission as a global network of over 110 liaison offices today. During the term of President Leopold Maderthaner, the opportunities for an internationalization of Austria resulting from the approximation between Eastern and Western Europe, the expansion of the European Union, and Austria’s EU-membership were identified early on. Moreover, Christoph Leitl, the current president, has always been a passionate advocate of increased internationalization of the Austrian economy ever since he was appointed in 2000. Together with the ministry of economics, he managed to receive additional funding for the internationalization of domestic companies in 2003 (Internationalization initiative go - international). Ever since it was launched, more than 140 million Euro have been invested in this initiative in total.

Solving problems in all areas of internationalization

The Foreign Trade Commission Austria is THE internationalization agency of the Austrian economy. Its headquarters are located at the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber in Vienna with additional departments at all the state chambers. This enables the Foreign Trade Commission Austria to be a reliable problem solver in all aspects of internationalization. Every year, 800 experts in Austria and at over 110 liaison offices worldwide support over 25,000 Austrian customers. They provide companies with knowledge, platforms and partners in order to open up endless opportunities with regard to goods and services.

The Foreign Trade Commission supports companies with its service in Austria and abroad. This ranges from planning and consulting to supporting the implementation of business deals. Eventually, all of this aims at finding the right partners for Austrian companies because good partners abroad are almost as important as the products themselves.

Enhancing Competitiveness

Furthermore, enhancing the domestic competitiveness of companies that are not or only indirectly export-oriented has become another important task for the Foreign Trade Commission. With its worldwide network, the Foreign Trade Commission functions as an international trend scout and importer of knowledge with regard to newly-developing business models, new channels of distribution, innovative educational concepts, and trends in technology. Under the motto “We connect you to the world, ” global trends are identified early on, and Austrian companies are familiarized with and connected to these latest developments.

The fact that the Foreign Trade Commission Austria was labelled “Best Foreign Trade Organization in the World” by the International Trade Center, a joint organization of the WTO and UN, further underlines how the Foreign Trade Commission Austria is always one step ahead compared to international standards.


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