“The ‘Brexit clock’ is ticking and an unregulated exit from the EU of the British on 29 March 2019 can no longer be ruled out. It is about time for Austrian companies to start preparing for this,” emphasises Mariana Kühnel, Deputy Secretary General of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ). The Chamber of Commerce provides information, advice and service, and is now enhancing its offer by adding a dedicated Brexit information point for companies.
Even though Austria is far less affected by Brexit compared to other countries, the UK is still Austria’s ninth most important export market and the top 5 market for Austrian products. Last year, the worth of the goods exported amounted to almost EUR 4 billion; almost half of it were machines and vehicles.
Services exported amounted to EUR 1.9 billion. Around 250 foreign subsidiaries of domestic companies employ more than 40,000 people in the UK, and around 250 domestic companies without their own subsidiaries are exporting large volumes to the United Kingdom, while thousands of other Austrian companies are trading small volumes.
The main problem of companies is the persistent uncertainty. “With the Brexit Info Point, our experts are available to companies regarding all practical questions,” says Mariana Kühnel. Topics dealt with by the Brexit Info Point include customs and preferential origin, taxes, industrial property rights, product standardisation, corporate law, labor and social law, and transport.
The Brexit Info Point accepts requests by telephone (Tel: 0590900-5590 from Mondays to Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and by e-mail at email@example.com. Further information including a checklist for companies is available at wko.at/brexit. In addition, there is a nationwide roadshow cooperation of all Austrian chambers of commerce with customs offices as well as numerous other information events for companies.