Foreign Trade of the EU: A New Reference System for Austria's Foreign Trade Sector
Austria's accession to the European Community has created a new framework against which to evaluate Austria's foreign trade sector. The EU 15 is the world's largest exporter. In 1994, exports of the EU, including trade within the EU, accounted for two fifths of world trade, twice as much as the trade share of the USA (11.8 percent) and of Japan (9.7 percent) taken together. Even excluding intra-EU trade, which in 1994 amounted to one fourth of world trade, the EU is the world's largest exporter with a share of 20 percent. In the 1990s though, the EU suffered market losses. Foreign trade of the EU is heavily concentrated: the three largest countries (Germany, France, United Kingdom) account for more than half of total exports; the largest six countries account for more than four fifths (81 percent) of EU exports. About one fourth of EU exports originate in Germany alone. The EU countries conduct the major part of their foreign trade with each other. Intra-EU exports total 63 percent of total exports of the EU; intra-EU imports total 61 percent of total imports of the EU. With a share of 65 percent, Austria's integration into the EU is slightly above average. Even though Austria is one of the smaller EU countries, countries which as a rule are intensively engaged in trade, the relation of exports to GDP was only 22.7 percent, slightly above the EU average (22.3 percent). The EU's exports to countries outside the EU (extra-EU exports) amounted to 8.4 percent of GDP. This figure was lower than that for Japan (8.6 percent) and slightly higher than that for the USA Thus, foreign trade plays approximately the same role in all the regions of the triad. 75 percent of Austria's intra-EU imports originate in those seven EU countries which are considered likely candidates for the EMU. In both France and Germany, this figure is only 55 percent. These two countries, therefore, have the utmost interest in maintaining strict exchange rate discipline in the envisaged "EMS II". Austria is mainly concerned with Italy's participation in the EMU, because in that case the share of EU trade not jeopardized by exchange rate fluctuations would rise above 90 percent. The importance of the developing countries as a market for EU exports rose substantially during the early 1990s. Sales to the non-OPEC countries advanced very rapidly, while OPEC's share in exports declined. 17.7 percent of total extra-EU exports or almost half of the exports to the developing countries go to the Far East; the corresponding figures are 7.5 percent for the Middle East, 8.1 percent for Africa, and 5.7 percent for Latin America. In Austria, 22 percent of extra-EU exports were destined for the developing countries; Austria also had a relatively strong position in the OPEC (6 percent). Manufactured products dominate foreign trade of the EU: this group accounts for 84.1 percent of total exports, and 78.8 percent of total imports, with machinery and transport equipment constituting the most important items. The share of semi-manufactures (mostly low-grade goods used in manufacturing) in exports is substantially smaller in the EU (18.2 percent) than in Austria (28.9 percent); steel accounted for only 3.5 percent of total EU exports (Austria 5.3 percent); the figures for textiles are 3.1 percent (4.1 percent). As far as intermediary products are concerned, agricultural products with a share of 10 percent are the most important export items.
Außenhandel der EU. Neues Bezugssystem für Österreichs Außenwirtschaft; Foreign Trade of the EU: A New Reference System for Austria's Foreign Trade Sector
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