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GDP (2002): $204 billion.
Real GDP growth rate (2001): 0.7%.
Per capita income (2001): $24,580.
Natural resources: Iron ore, crude oil, natural gas, timber, tungsten, magnesite, lignite, cement.
Agriculture (2% of 2001 GDP): Products--livestock, forest products, grains, sugarbeets, potatoes.
Industry (29% of 2001 GDP): Types--iron and steel, chemicals, capital equipment, consumer goods.
Services: 69% of 2001 GDP.
Trade (2002): Exports--$72 billion: iron and steel products, timber, paper, textiles, electrotechnical machinery, chemical products.
Imports--$72 billion: machinery, vehicles, chemicals, iron and steel, metal goods, fuels, raw materials, foodstuffs. Principal trade partners--European Union, U.S., Hungary, and Switzerland.
Austria has a well-developed social market economy with a high standard of living in which the government has played an important role. Many of the country's largest firms were nationalized in the early post-war period to protect them from Soviet takeover as war reparations. For many years, the government and its state-owned industries conglomerate played a very important role in the Austrian economy. However, starting in the early 1990s, the group was broken apart, state-owned firms started to operate largely as private businesses, and a great number of these firms were wholly or partially privatized. Although the government's privatization work in past years has been very successful, it still operates some firms, state monopolies, utilities, and services. The new government has presented an ambitious privatization program, which, if implemented, will considerably reduce government participation in the economy. Austria enjoys well-developed industry, banking, transportation, services, and commercial facilities.
Although some industries, such as several iron and steel works and chemical plants, are large industrial enterprises employing thousands of people, most industrial and commercial enterprises in Austria are relatively small on an international scale.
Austria has a strong labor movement. The Austrian Trade Union Federation (OGB) comprises constituent unions with a total membership of about 1.5 million--more than half the country's wage and salary earners. Since 1945, the OGB has pursued a moderate, consensus-oriented wage policy, cooperating with industry, agriculture, and the government on a broad range of social and economic issues in what is known as Austria's "social partnership." The OGB has announced tough opposition against the new government's program for budget consolidation, social reform, and improving the business climate, and indications are rising that Austria's peaceful social climate could become more confrontational.
Austrian farms, like those of other west European mountainous countries, are small and fragmented, and production is relatively expensive. Since Austria's becoming a member of the EU in 1995, the Austrian agricultural sector has been undergoing substantial reform under the EU's common agricultural policy (CAP). Although Austrian farmers provide about 80% of domestic food requirements, the agricultural contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) has declined since 1950 to about 2%.
Austria has achieved sustained economic growth. During the second half of the 1970s, the annual average growth rate was 3% in real terms, though it averaged only about 1.5% through the first half of the 1980s before rebounding to an average of 3.2% in the second half of the 1980s. At 2%, growth was weaker again in the first half of the 1990s, but averaged 2.5% again in the period 1997 to 2001. After real GDP growth of only 0.7% in 2002, the economy is predicted to grow 1.7% in 2003, 2.3% in 2004, 2.5% in 2005, and 2.3% in 2006, for an average rate of 1.9% in the period 2002 to 2006.
Austria became a member of the EU on January 1, 1995. Membership brought economic benefits and challenges and has drawn an influx of foreign investors attracted by Austria's access to the single European market. Austria also has made progress in generally increasing its international competitiveness. As a member of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), Austria's economy is closely integrated with other EU member countries, especially with Germany. On January 1, 1999, Austria introduced the new Euro currency for accounting purposes.
In January 2002, Euro notes and coins were introduced and substituted for the Austrian schilling. Economists agree that the economic effects in Austria of using a common currency with the rest of the members of the Euro-zone have been positive.
Trade with other EU countries accounts for about 63% of Austrian imports and exports. Expanding trade and investment in the emerging markets of central and eastern Europe is a major element of Austrian economic activity. Trade with these countries accounts for almost 15% of Austrian imports and exports, and Austrian firms have sizable investments in and continue to move labor-intensive, low-tech production to these countries. Although the big investment boom has waned, Austria still has the potential to attract EU firms seeking convenient access to these developing markets.
Total trade with the United States in 2001 reached $7.7 billion. Imports from the United States amounted to $4.0 billion, constituting a U.S. market share in Austria of 5.3%. Austrian exports to the United States in 2001 were $3.7 billion or 5.3% of total Austrian exports.