Catalonia and Upper Austria sign an agreement to promote economic development and collaboration

Catalan Economy · International Events

09 Oct 2023

The agreement sets out the mutual commitment of both territories to actively support and enhance trade relations, facilitate foreign direct investment, and promote the development of dual education programs.

The Catalan Government, through Catalonia Trade & Investment -the agency for business competitiveness of the Department of Business and Labour- has signed a letter of intent with the state of Upper Austria through the Business Upper Austria agency. This agreement aims to promote economic development and dual training programs and strengthen relations between the two territories.

The Catalan Minister of Business and Labour, Roger Torrent, and the Minister of Economy of Upper Austria, Markus Achleitner, signed the document at Catalonia Trade & Investment headquarters as part of a visit by a delegation of around thirty institutional representatives of the Austrian state in Barcelona. The Delegate of the Government of Catalonia for Central Europe, Krystyna Schreiber, the General Director for Industry, Oriol Alcoba, and the Delegate of Economy of the Chamber of Commerce Austria, also participated in the event.

“Catalonia shares several similarities with Upper Austria, a diverse economy and an important role in key industrial sectors such as the automotive sector and advanced manufacturing”

Roger Torrent, Minister of Business and Labour of Catalonia

Minister Torrent said, "We are very pleased to sign this letter of intentions with Upper Austria today. Catalonia shares several similarities with this territory, such as a diverse economy and an important role in key industrial sectors such as the automotive sector and advanced manufacturing". "We look forward to strengthening bilateral trade relations and boosting foreign direct investment between both territories, as well as cooperating and sharing our expertise and knowledge to promote competitiveness in both areas", he added.

Minister Achleitner said, "I am pleased that it has been possible to conclude a cooperation agreement between Upper Austria and Catalonia. The agreement aims to deepen relations between the two regions further". He added that "there is great potential, especially regarding research cooperation. On the one hand, this includes the automotive industry, where we in Upper Austria are bundling numerous projects on sustainable vehicle concepts in the Future Mobility Region initiative. Closely linked to this is the manufacturing industry, which is also one of Upper Austria's strengths". Achleitner emphasized that "the transition to automation and intelligent production presents both regions with equal challenges, which we want to overcome through mutual exchange. Furthermore, energy, especially hydrogen, is an important topic for cross-border cooperation".

Specifically, the agreement recognizes the willingness of both territories to promote economic growth and diversification of each of them. Therefore, they aim to facilitate trade, bilateral investments, and the exchange of good practices to stimulate sustainable innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation in each territory. The document states that particular emphasis will be placed on key industries for Catalonia and Upper Austria, such as advanced manufacturing, automotive, life sciences, chemistry, and renewable energies.

In this sense, they also agree to share knowledge, as well as to promote market research and the organization of joint trade missions, exchange information on investment incentives, and explore joint initiatives to attract foreign direct investment, in addition to sharing export opportunities for local companies and specific regulations that impact different sectors. They also intend to link educational institutions to collaborate on research and development projects to promote innovation and competitiveness.

The agreement also emphasizes the importance of cultural exchange between the two regions. Thus, the letter of intent also highlights the willingness of Catalonia and Upper Austria to organize delegation visits and cultural events to promote cooperation and the exchange of ideas, in addition to collaboration in the field of cluster policy.

As part of the institutional visit of the Austrian delegation to Catalonia, working meetings, networking sessions, and a visit to the facilities of different technology and research centers and Catalan companies have been organized.

Trade between Catalonia and Austria

Catalan exports to Austria increased by 11.6% in 2022 compared to the previous year, reaching 976 million euros. In addition, more than a thousand Catalan companies regularly export to the Austrian market. Regarding foreign investment, Austria has allocated 58.3 million euros to Catalonia since 2018.

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