Austrian trade rep: ‘Coming back to Taiwan an easy choice’

wolframFirst published as part of Trista di Genova’s “Know Your Trade Rep” series, on the Foreign Community Page of The China Post, Feb. 9, 2009. NB: The current envoy is Dr. Walter Höfle

Before coming to Taiwan as Austrian trade delegate in August 2002, Wolfram Moritz had a previous assignment in Taiwan: deputy Austrian trade delegate (1989 -1992).

“I really enjoyed my posting and the interesting tasks, so it was an easy choice to come back 10 years later,” he told The China Post in an interview.

“I knew what to expect. The best experience was to see that the Taiwanese people had not changed over the years since 2002. They are still friendly, curious and very warm-hearted.”

In his free time, he says, “I like traveling, reading and sports. During summer, I like hiking on Yang Ming Shan. My favorite place is Ali Shan in Central Taiwan. I also like very much the off-shore islands of Penghu, Kinmen or Matsu, as well as the fantastic East coast on Taiwan proper.” And of course, local cuisine is a highlight: “I like any local foods, preferring not the fancy, but the very simple things like dumplings, guo tie, or local delicacies from the South, e.g dan cai mien.”

When he comes to Taiwan, “I always bring some CDs with Austrian classical music (since my hometown is Salzburg, I prefer Mozart-music), as well as Austrian chocolates.” And when he visits Austria, “I usually buy the wonderful Taiwanese tea to have a very special and much appreciated gift.”

As for his office’s future plans, “For 2009 we are focusing on Austrian consumer goods, and we plan to participate in the International Food Fair in June 2009 in Taipei. Austria has a pavilion every year with some 10 Austrian participants, offering a wide variety of Austrian food products like wines, cheese, jams, fruit juices or chocolates.”

On the industry side, his office is introducing the Taiwanese market for wood — timber, and wood products, such as floors and furniture, to Austrian exporters. “We are undertaking a study on this subject right now, and will introduce it to Austrian companies this coming spring,” he says. “And hopefully we can organize a field trip for interested Austrian entrepreneurs to come to Taiwan and see for themselves what this market has to offer.”

The Austrian Trade Delegation is also responsible for the tourism promotion. “We try to make Austria more popular as a tourism destination for Taiwanese travelers,” he explains. “We’ll organize a tourism workshop with 10 Austrian tourism specialists who will visit Taipei beginning of March, introducing new destinations and tourism products to the local tourism industry.

For the general public, he suggests the International Travel Fair in Taipei. “Austria will be present with a big booth and everybody will be welcome to get first-hand information on Austria and its attractions.”

Perhaps best known locally for Swarovski crystals, wines and chocolates, Austria is also important for providing Taiwan with machinery used in producing semiconductors, heavy industry equipment for steel making, tunnel construction or public buildings. Even the MRT trains in Kaohsiung are “Made in Austria,” he noted.

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