Economic delegate Friedl cautiously optimistic about punitive tariffs – the free trade agreement TTIP could also experience a rebirth.
The opportunities for domestic companies in the USA, Austria's second most important export market, are quite intact. Products and technology in the rail and infrastructure, environment and industry sectors remain in demand. And could also benefit from the announced $ 1.9 trillion economic stimulus program of the new US President Joe Biden.
Michael Friedl, delegate of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce in New York, said this in a Skype conversation with Austrian journalists. “We've long since got our foot in the door,” says Friedl about the position of domestic companies in the USA.
The economic delegate is also “cautiously optimistic” that there could be movement in the punitive tariffs, which have also affected domestic companies such as Voest. Overall, Friedl expects that Biden will make a “friendlier face” towards Europe than his predecessor Donald Trump.
America is still primarily concerned with itself. Biden has to overcome the rifts that opened up after the presidential election and the storming of the Capitol. He must pacify the wing battles in his own party and he must get Corona under control.
US economy shrunk by four percent
Biden wants to vaccinate 100 million people in his first 100 days in office. This is a challenge, but there seems to be no alternative. There are now more than 400,000 people in the USA who have died of or with Corona. Only in the US Civil War were there more victims to mourn.
In economic terms, it looks like this: in 2020 the US economy shrank by four percent (Austria: minus 7.5 percent). This year it should go up again by four percent, if there are no corona setbacks and Biden's vaccination plan works. In the previous year (until October) Austrian exports to the USA had slumped by eleven percent.
This year Friedl hopes that the export volume from Austria to the USA will again reach the level of 2018/2019, i.e. around ten billion euros.
Friedl is convinced that Biden will not take a cuddle course with Europe. “But the trade door is sure to open a little.” The new US administration might seek a partnership on climate protection with China, but will remain tough on the rest of the sanctions policy.
From Egger to Do & Co
Friedl mentions the 500 million dollar investment made by chipboard specialist Egger from Tyrol, who invested in North Carolina in the south-east of the United States, of red-white-red projects in the USA that are already under wraps. Or the major order for luxury caterers Do & Co from Delta at the flight hub in Detroit.
As far as economic policy is concerned, even under Biden there could not be a complete departure from Trump's course, Friedl said. Even the democrat must first and foremost create jobs or rebuild the industry that has partly migrated or is ailing.
As far as foreign trade is concerned, Biden, unlike Trump, has “much less panic” of a trade deficit with another country and will not immediately impose sanctions on it. That does not mean that there will be new negotiations on the free trade agreement TTIP very quickly, but at least it is now easy to breathe easy again in the agreement with the EU that was buried under Trump. Jobs and growth from more free trade would also be sorely needed in Europe.