Mr Hans-Jörg Hörtnagl, Commercial Counsellor & Trade Commissioner, Austrian Embassy and Head of Advantage Austria responded to questions from Diplomatic and Business Editor Yogesh Sood on a number of questions.

By Yogesh Sood

Who are the major Indian players in the Austrian economy at present, and do you see the contribution of Indian businesses in your economy going up in the future?

Major Indian players in the Austrian economy include Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys, and Wipro, primarily in the IT and software services sector. Additionally, Indian pharmaceutical companies like Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories also had a presence in Austria.

The contribution of Indian businesses in the Austrian economy has the potential to grow in the future, especially in sectors like information technology, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing. 

Likewise, who are the major Austrian players in the Indian economy at present, and do you see the contribution of Austrian businesses in the Indian economy going up, going forward?

In India, Austrian investments have been particularly successful in the railway, smart city and automotive sectors. Examples of which can be found all across the country. One of these leading firms is Plasser India. Plasser manufactures the most up-to-date high performance and highly sophisticated machines for track maintenance, track laying as well as track renewal for the railways sector. India is one of their strongest markets around the globe and through new production capacities they also export from India to other countries.

Generally speaking, once companies have been able to establish themselves within the Indian market they have a very positive outlook on their growth prospects here. 

How would you view the role played by Indian and Austrian chambers of commerce, and tourism companies, in enhancing business ties between the two nations?

Indian and Austrian chambers of commerce play a crucial role in enhancing business ties between the two nations, and we have worked with the biggest ones for many years. They serve as platforms for networking, knowledge exchange, and collaboration between businesses from both countries. These chambers often organize trade missions, business forums, and seminars that promote bilateral trade and investment. On many occasions, we were able to help our members by organizing high-level dialogue between leaders in business between our countries.

Tourism companies also contribute significantly to fostering economic ties. By promoting tourism between India and Austria, these companies not only boost the hospitality and travel sectors but also facilitate cross-cultural interactions, which can lead to business opportunities. Tourists often become potential investors or partners in various business ventures.

Overall, both chambers of commerce and tourism companies play a pivotal role in bridging the gap and facilitating business interactions, ultimately enhancing the economic relationship between India and Austria. 

How critical is the role of the media in promoting relations between the two countries?

The role of the media is critical in promoting relations between Austria and India. Media outlets, including newspapers, television, radio, and digital platforms, serve as important channels for disseminating information about each other’s cultures, economies, and developments. Certainly, when it comes to current developments, like the FTA negotiations with the European Union, media coverage can play a pivotal role in informing important stakeholders, including society, of the many benefits of intensified cooperation between our countries. 

As Head of Advantage Austria, what is your vision for Austria-India commercial and trade relations as we move forward together?

As the Head of Advantage Austria, my vision for Austria-India commercial and trade relations is one of strategic collaboration and mutual growth. Ongoing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between the European Union and India are a promising endeavor that will hopefully strengthen our trade environment and bring further prosperity to our nations.

Recognizing India’s huge infrastructure projects, I would encourage Austrian companies to further invest in and contribute their expertise to India’s infrastructure development. Austria’s technological prowess presents opportunities for collaborative ventures in areas like sustainable urban planning, transportation, and green technologies, aligning with India’s sustainability goals.

Additionally, fostering innovation would be a priority. I’d promote startup exchanges, facilitating connections between Austrian and Indian innovators. This would drive the development of innovative solutions tailored to the unique needs of both countries and strengthen our ties in the digital age.

Lastly, by nurturing cultural and educational exchanges alongside economic collaboration, we can create a dynamic and enduring partnership that benefits Austria, e.g., around skilled labor, and India in a rapidly evolving global landscape.