Market Update in Western Europe
23 March 2011
Duration: 3 min. 16 sec.
Speaker: Nicola Watkinson, Senior Trade Commissioner, Austrade Frankfurt
Germany is certainly on the mend and we’re noticing that in the office with a large increase in enquiries that are coming through from the German marketplace. We’re seeing the largest level of business confidence in over 20 years, the lowest unemployment rates since reunification, investment is up to pre-recession levels and generally the marketplace is much more active and there’s a lot of opportunity starting to be created.
The nice thing about Germany is it’s also the largest economy in Europe, so it’s pulling a lot of its neighbours with it; so we’re seeing markets such as the Nordic region, the Netherlands and Austria all coming back on line. In addition to that, of course, we’ve got the Eastern European markets like Poland that are showing that some of those new economies are continuing to have strong growth opportunities.
So what we’ve been doing in Austrade is to work with the major corporations around Europe to understand what they’re looking for in order to fill their development pipeline, and then we’ve been coming back to Australia to talk to technology companies and to universities and research institutes to see where we can find a match for that.
One of the initiatives has been the Investing into Research Mission which is working with nine different major corporates from around Germany, the UK and France to identify what they’re looking for in their pipeline and then work with about 13 or 14 of the major research universities in Australia to match up those needs with projects that are happening in Australia.
Just one or two of those examples is in the innovative fibres area. Australia has world class research and technology in the area around wool, around cotton but also in areas such as polymer fibres as well, and we’ve identified strong interest from Germany and from Sweden in areas such as high performance sportswear and these kinds of fibre technologies for medical and automotive applications.
So as part of this initiative we’re running webinars that are taking place at the end of March and in April to showcase Australian capability to the major players in Europe with the view to then holding a mission to bring over these companies to the marketplace in June.
Other areas of focus include biotech, where we’re working with the major pharmaceutical companies in Europe to understand what they’re looking for in their pipeline and then we’re targeting an event in November around bio-Europe to introduce Australian capability to them.
And of course, ICT is a famous area of Australian know-how and just in the last couple of weeks Germany has been announced as the partner country for CeBIT Australia. So we’re working with major German companies to bring them over as part of a delegation to CeBIT Australia and take the opportunity then to work with Australian ICT companies who are looking to develop the export market to business match and help them to find new opportunities over in Europe.