HC Deb 17 October 1994 vol 248 cc51-2W
Sir Dudley Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the United Kingdom's relationship with Austria; what ministerial visits have taken place there in the past 12 months; what bilateral trade initiatives and contracts the United Kingdom has with that country; and how many official Austrian visits have been made to the United Kingdom in the past year.

Mr. David Davis

The United Kingdom enjoys very good relations with Austria.

Since October 1993 my right hon. Friend the Lord Chancellor, Lord Mackay, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence, my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for National Heritage, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food have paid ministerial visits to Austria.

Sectors in which the Department of Industry has planned trade initiatives include clothing, processed food, security equipment, medical equipment and the whole area of public purchasing.

Austria is the United Kingdom's 25th largest market and our visible exports to Austria in 1993 amounted to £912 million, a 14.7 per cent. increase over 1992. UK exports rose by 16 per cent. during the first six months of 1994 and are set to exceed £1 billion over the year. The UK is Austria's ninth largest supplier. In 1993 Austrian exports to the UK totalled £971 million, but on the evidence of the first six months of this year the UK is enjoying a surplus on its trade with Austria for the first time in over 20 years.

Since October 1993 the following Austrian Ministers have visited the United Kingdom: Mrs. Rauch-Kallat, Minister for the Environment; Dr. Franz Vranitzky, Federal Chancellor. Other Austrian official visits to the UK have comprised Dr. Franz Ceska, Secretary-General of the Federation of Austrian Industrialists; Dr. Bernhard Gorg, Head of Vienna OVP Parliamentary Group; Dr. Heinrich Neisser, Leader of the Austrian OVP.

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