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For a sustainable recovery after the COVID-19 stagnation with a strategic economic policy course
Ernest Gnan, OeNB, Christoph Schneider, WKÖ

2020 has dramatically shown how quickly the international and domestic environment, in which Austria’s foreign trade operates, and the assessment of future developments can change. In the first quarter of 2020 the corona epidemic that originated in China also reached Europe. Many countries reacted with far-reaching lockdowns to contain the spread of the disease, which was still largely unresearched at the time. The economic slumps induced by the virus were dramatic. After an initial period of shock, world  trade subsequently recovered surprisingly quickly. However, from 2021 onward, supply bottlenecks for intermediate goods and sensitive price increases for transportation costs, raw materials and some strategically important intermediate goods became increasingly
noticeable. From the second half of 2021 there were clear signs of an economic recovery because of the full ramp-up of the vaccination programs and because of massive government stimulus programs – above all in the USA.
This issue focuses on selected aspects of the COVID-19 crisis and its successful management:
• How did the pandemic affect world trade and global value chains?
• What effects has the COVID-19 crisis had on foreign direct investment? Has it reinforced
existing tendencies toward strategically motivated restrictions on foreign direct
• What role has economic policy played in addressing the crisis? How has the crisis
acted as a catalyst for a common EU economic policy? And how is the EU positioning
itself in the post-crisis international trade policy arena?
• How best to shape the economic recovery after the crisis? What sectoral shifts and
structural adjustments toward sustainable economic activity and a more crisis-robust
industry structure could come from the crisis?

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