Austria. For many around the world, the very name still evokes romantic images of Lippizaners and The Sound of Music. But the reality beyond this powerful and persistent clich‚ is that Austria's economic "horsepower" comes not from stallions but from automotive leaders such as Opel, BMW and AVL-List with world-class operations here. And that sound you hear isn't floating from the hills, but from Sony CDs "made in Austria."

In fact, Austria is emerging as one of the leading industrial nations of the world. Over the last two decades, productivity growth has outpaced industrial powers such as Japan, the USA and Germany. And exports of goods - which have increased eightfold per worker in the last 15 years - now bring in three times the revenues of the tourist trade which is so ingrained in the world's consciousness.

Austria's surprising emergence as a center of excellence is the result of a highly favorable environment for business - including an extraordinarily qualified, dedicated and reliable workforce, social and political stability, one of the lowest strike rates in the world and a rock-solid currency linked for more than 20 years to the German mark.

Moreover, Austria has moved front and center when it comes to access to key European markets. From a fringe position, the fall of the Iron Curtain instantly positioned Austria in the very center of the new Europe - an advantage further enhanced by the nation's entry into the European Union on January 1, 1995.

Yet in the face of dramatically intensified international competition for new investment, we recognize that this is no time to let up. Labor and trade regulations have been liberalized and business hours have been expanded for individual retailers. Further reforms are on the way.

Find out for yourself in this edition of the Austrian Business Monitor how dramatically improving conditions are making Austria EUROpportunity. And of course, for your more specific questions about your own investment interests, your business consultants at the Austrian Business Agency stand at the ready.

Visit Austrian Business Agency's website at or enter a text search 'Austrian Business Agency' and 'Business Monitor'.

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c. Business Monitor 1997 - +44 (0) 171 820 7733