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Canada and Austria - Bilateral Relations

Canada and Austria share many common interests and similar perspectives on global issues and challenges.  Austria is a key multilateral partner for Canada, and we work together closely on a range of issues, particularly human rights and the rule of law, in the UN and in other international bodies. We are similarly situated countries: like Canada, Austria borders on a neighbour (Germany) with a population and an economy roughly ten times its size with which it shares a language. 

Trade and investment relations are strong.  People-to-people ties are underpinned in particular through academic and youth exchanges.  Austria’s membership in the European Union and its close ties to the Central and South-Eastern European region make Austria a valuable interlocutor for Canada on a wide range of political, economic, trade, environmental and security issues in Europe. 

In 2014, Canadian merchandise exports totaled CAD 271 million to Austria, and our merchandise imports were CAD 1.7 billion.  Among the main Canadian exports to Austria are aircraft products, machinery and vehicles. 

In 2014, Austrian foreign direct investment stock in Canada totaled CAD 1 billion.  Canadian direct investment in Austria amounted to a total stock of CAD 496 million, and Canadian investors in Austria include Magna International (company founder Frank Stronach emigrated to Canada from Austria in 1954), Bombardier and Husky. BlackBerry opened an office in Vienna in August 2011.

Austrians and Canadians share a passion for winter sports, and Vancouver-Whistler’s hosting of the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in 2010 provided an opportunity to highlight some of our joint interests.  It was back in 2010 that Austria financed the construction of an "Austrian Passive House" (ultra-energy-efficient house) at Whistler. Further progress in green building technologies remains on the agenda of both Canada and Austria.  A priority for both countries is to increase cooperation in science, technology, and innovation, with a focus on energy (including energy-efficient construction), and information and communication technology.  Once the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU will enter into force, experts expect important impulses for economic growth and job creation on both sides.

Academic ties are close and growing. Austria boasts three Canadian Studies Centres founded more than 1 ½ decades ago - at the Universities of Vienna, Innsbruck and Graz - and there is a significant array of exchange programmes between Austrian and Canadian universities.  The Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies at the University of Alberta was founded in 1998 at the initiative of the Austrian Ministry of Science and the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  It is a leading centre for central European Studies in Canada and has one of the most significant collections of Austrian and Habsburg materials in North America.

Austrian academics and scholarly institutions actively take advantage of existing Austrian-Canadian partnership programs as well as selective doctoral and post-doctoral research fellowships. Through the “International Experience Canada” (IEC) programs based on annual bilateral quota, Austrian and Canadian youth can obtain a temporary work permit to gather job experience in the other country.

Austrians are interested in Canada’s immigration and integration policies, and there is scope for further bilateral dialogue in this area.

July 2015.

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