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Austria

Basic Information

Area: 83,872 km²

Calling code: +43

Population: 8,316,487

Official Language: German, Hungarian, Slovenian and Croatian

Time zone: CET (UTC+1), Local time: 13:03

Overview

The Republic of Austria is situated in Central Europe. The country borders Germany and the Czech Republic to the north, Slovenia and Italy to the south and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west.

According to the CIA Factbook, Austria covers a total area of 83,871 square kilometres and is the 113th largest country in the world. Estimates in 2010 put the population at 8,214,160 with 91% Austrian, former Yugoslavs 4%, Turks 1%, German 1%. The official language of Austria is German, with a small proportion of people speaking Turkish, Serbian and Croatian.

The country has a population density of 99/km2, ranking it 92nd versus other countries across the globe.

Austria is regarded as one of the world’s richest countries, and its largest city and capital is Vienna. Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising of nine federal states. The county entered the EU Economic and Monetary Union in 1999, adopting the Euro as its official currency.

Austria participates in a number of international organisations including The EU, United Nations, UNESCO IMF and WTO. In 2009 Austria assumed a non permanent seat on the UN Security council.

Economy

The CIA estimated Austria’s GDP in 2009 at $378.8 billion and a GDP (PPP) $323.1 billion. The IMF in 2009 estimated Austria’s GDP per capita at $45,989 ranking it the 10th richest country in the world.

Austria has a well developed market economy and a high standard of living, is closely aligned with other European economies, especially that of Germany. The country has a large services sector that generates 69% of the national GDP and a strong industry sector accounts for around 30% of GDP.

Austria’s main industries include construction, machinery, automobiles, food, metals, chemicals, wood processing, paper, communication and tourism.

Austria also benefits from a small but dynamic agricultural sector that produces 80% of domestic food requirements. Food stuffs produced include grains, potatoes, sugar beets, wine, fruit, dairy products and meats.

Trade with other EU countries accounts for over 60% of Austria’s imports and exports. Austria’s commodities are exported primarily to Germany 29%, Italy 8%, USA 4% and Switzerland 4%. Recently a major proportion of the country’s economic activity has been focused on expanding trade and investment to the emerging markets of central and Eastern Europe.

Austria also imports a number of products, primarily machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, metal goods, oil and oil products and foodstuffs with 43% coming from Germany, Italy 7%, Switzerland 5% and Netherlands 4%.

Infrastructure

Austria has an excellent infrastructure that includes a well developed transportation system. Its location makes it a major transportation route between leading business centres in Central and Eastern Europe.

The country is connected by a large road system that stretches 107,262 kilometres, 1,677 kilometres of which are expressways. Statistics Austria reported that in 2009 the road network delivered 336.6 million tons of goods across Austria.

The national railway company of Austria is called ÖBB - Austrian Federal Railways Österreichische Bundesbahnen. The company operates a dense network of train stations that link Austrian and International cities. The CIA Factbook estimates that the railways throughout the country stretch over 6,390 kilometres. Statistics Austria estimated that the railways transported a total of 98.9 million tons of freight (2009) and a total of 239 million passengers (2008).

Most large Austrian cities operate an extensive public transport network consisting primarily of trolleybuses, trams, buses and subway systems. Cycling is also very popular in Austria, with major cities offering good networks of bike lanes and paths.

Austria has several international airports, with Vienna and Salzburg being the largest. Other significant points of entry by air are Innsbruck, Graz, Klagenfurt and Linz. Statistics Austria reported that in 2009 commercial aviation in the country transported almost 22.7 million air passengers (including transit).

About one third of Austria’s energy consumption is covered by the national energy industry, with 70% coming from renewable sources.

Workforce

The CIA Factbook in 2009 estimated Austria’s labour force at 3.68 million. 67% of the labour force work in services sector which is comprised of banking, tourism, real estate, education, transportation and communication.

27% work in the industrial sector which is dominated by the iron and steel industry, but also includes petroleum products, power generation, chemicals and food processing. At 5.5%, the smallest proportion of the work force work in agriculture producing grain, vegetables, dairy products, wine and beef.

The labour force is predominantly Austrian with a small proportion being made up of Turks, Germans and Former Yugoslav’s.

The Austrian government spends an estimated 5.4% of GDP (2005) on education, its focus results in a skilled work force and a high literacy rate of 98%. Austria has established an education system that is similar to those of Germany and Switzerland. School attendance is compulsory for nine years and kindergarten education in most states is free. Secondary education consists of two main types of school Gymnasium’s that are geared toward university entrance and Hauptschule’s that are vocational schools. For students that are Austrian citizens and complete their studies in the minimum time, University fees are waived.

In 2009 the CIA Factbook estimated Austria’s unemployment rate at 4.8%

Business Costs

Austria’s individual income tax rates work on a progressive scale of 0%-50%, with four tax bands.

The Austrian government recently reduced its corporate tax rate to 25%, making it an attractive place for companies and investors. Capital gains of companies were set at 25% and corporations are also expected to pay municipal tax (non profit related) and property tax.

The standard VAT rate in Austria is 20%, whilst a reduced VAT of 10% can be applied to tourism, food and agriculture sectors.

In 2009 Austria set a minimum wage of €1,000 per month for those in full time work that covers most of the private sector. In 2008 Statistics Austria recorded the national average wage at €39 314, with the highest average wages being found in Vienna’s first district.

Research carried out by Cushman and Wakefield in 2009 revealed that Austria offered competitive location cost versus other European cities. The average cost of office rental in Vienna was €22.50 and Graz CBD €10.00.
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