Describes how major projects are secured and financed. Explains activities of the multilateral development banks in and other aid-funded projects.
Selling to the Government
The Austrian government’s national procurement agency (Bundesbeschaffung GmbH - BBG) was established in June 2001 and operates in compliance with EU legislation. The agency is run as a limited liability company, independent of the federal budget, but owned by the Austrian Ministry of Finance. Some of the best opportunities for U.S. suppliers are in procurements of IT equipment and services, healthcare devices and equipment, and rail and transit vehicles.
Federal Ministries are required to use the BBG for procurements above a value threshold of €100,000 (approximately $118,000). Other government-owned or regional entities can use the service voluntarily. Procurements often take the form of a framework agreement, whereby a particular product is made available for purchase at a negotiated price in a fashion that is compliant with EU regulations, but there is no requirement that a certain amount of product be purchased.
Procurements valued under €100,000 (approximately $118,000) are not subject to tendering regulations and can be purchased directly. The purchase of items valued between €100,000 (approx. $118,000) and €414,000 (approx. $488,500) are subject to Austrian procurement regulations. In addition to the BBG website, tenders are listed on the public tender portal ANKÖ (by subscription) and E-Beschaffung.at (free) and others. More information is available online at the BBG website (https://www.bbg.gv.at/en/).
Purchases of goods or services worth more than €414,000 (approximately $488,500) must be procured through the EU, with tenders published on the TED database. For detailed information governing the public procurement market in the EU please see the EU single market public procurement website and the U.S. Commercial Service European Union Country Commercial Guide.
Though government procurement regulations are generally transparent and carefully followed, tender specifications are often developed in cooperation with long-time consultants or trusted vendors and as a result tend to be custom-tailored to describe a particular product. Further, procurements often include service agreements. For these reasons, U.S. firms interested in government tenders in Austria are well-advised to establish a local presence, either directly or through a local partner, to build the necessary relationships of trust with potential clients.
The U.S. and the European Community are signatories to the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), which grants access to most public supplies and services and some work contracts published by national procurement authorities of the countries that are parties to the Agreement. In practice, this means that U.S.-based companies are eligible to bid on supplies and services contracts from European public contracting authorities above the agreed thresholds.
U.S. companies bidding on government tenders may qualify for U.S. Government advocacy. A unit of the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, the Advocacy Center, coordinates U.S. Government interagency advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters bidding on public sector contracts with international governments and government agencies. The Advocacy Center works closely with our network of the U.S. Commercial Service worldwide and inter-agency partners to ensure that exporters of U.S. products and services have the best possible chance of winning government contracts. Advocacy assistance can take many forms but often involves the U.S. Embassy or other U.S. Government agencies expressing support for the U.S. bidders directly to the foreign government. Consult Advocacy for Foreign Government Contracts for additional information.
Financing of Projects
Projects in Austria are financed by private-sector, public, and/or EU resources.
EU project financing may be available to businesses of any size or sector that participate in projects advancing EU interests. EU financing programs may be tapped by entities including companies, as well as public sector bodies from EU member states such as cities and regions to support local infrastructure projects.
The federal government, and to some degree provinces and municipalities, finance major infrastructure projects primarily directly with their own resources or with specially created financing vehicles. In 2021, for example, the Austrian government budgeted €6.9 billion ($8.1 billion) for road, rail, and real estate projects. Public entity financing examples include the highway financing ASFINAG company that finances most road projects through toll revenues backed by government guarantees. Infrastructure projects administered by these entities are eligible for additional EU funding, for instance, several ASFINAG-run Austrian road infrastructure projects are co-funded by the European Commission through the Connecting Europe Facility program.
Specialized financing entities such as Austria’s Kommunalkredit AG focus on sustainable infrastructure and other projects that are realized at a provincial, county or city level. Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP) are becoming an increasingly common way to finance urban projects and are often eligible for additional EU funding.