Guest Article: Bilateral trade between Austria and South Africa

Bilateral trade between Austria and South Africa has traditionally involved a diverse range of products and services. The two countries have nurtured a favourable economic alliance, encouraging transactions and investment in several sectors. Exports in 2022 represented a volume of EUR 678 million, while imports totaled EUR 753 million. The key export areas are machinery, transport equipment, manufactured goods, and chemical products. The importation of crude materials is of great significance (accounting for 4% of Austria’s total global raw material imports), and the significance of importing machinery and transportation equipment should not be underestimated.

Exports to South Africa (0.35% of total Austrian exports) saw a 12.6% rise in 2022, in comparison to 2021. The largest export sector was machinery and transport equipment, with exports worth EUR 374 million. This was followed by manufactured goods at a total of EUR 115 million, chemical products at EUR 72 million, and beverages at EUR 60 million. The largest increases were observed in the crude materials sector, with a growth rate of 142.2%, and in the export of mineral fuels, which rose by more than 87%.

Imports from South Africa (0.35% of total Austrian imports) decreased by -10.4% in 2022 compared to the previous year. The highest import volumes were observed in crude materials with EUR 397 million, followed by machinery and transport vehicles with EUR 161 million. Remarkable import increases were recorded above all in the manufactured goods sector at 53.7% and in the chemical products sector at 39.5%, while imports of the South African key sectors crude materials and mineral fuel fell sharply by -25% and -38.6%, respectively. It should be noted that, based on quarter 1 data for 2023, imports have once again increased compared to the previous period. This indicates a further increase in imports.

Despite occasional challenges, such as fluctuations in commodity prices, regulatory changes, and political and social issues in South Africa, the economic partnership between Austria and South Africa remains stable. Furthermore, bilateral trade has displayed remarkable resilience and rapid growth. This has been especially evident after the COVID-19 pandemic, as exports have significantly increased by more than 31% in 2021 and 12.6% in 2022.

This article was sponsored by the Austrian Trade Commission in Johannesburg

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