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The Trade Act

The Austrian Trade Act is one of the most important regulatory instruments with respect to trades and business. Entrepreneurs also need to consider various supplementary legal provisions, such as the Goods Transport Act (Güterbeförderungsgesetz) or the Opening Hours Act (Öffnungszeitengesetz). The currently applicable Trade Act (Gewerbeordnung – GewO) dates from 1994 (Federal Law Gazette No 194/1994) and is constantly adapted to new requirements.

Not only start-ups, but existing enterprises too, benefit from up-to-date business legislation. By means of numerous amendments, the Trade Act is heading towards a modern business and economic law, less bureaucracy and more entrepreneurial freedom.

To which entrepreneurial activities does the Trade Act apply?

The Trade Act applies to all business activities carried out in a 

  • regular,
  • independent and
  • profit-making way,

unless they are forbidden by law, such as drug dealing, or expressly exempted.

Expressly exempted are for example mining, agriculture and forestry or independent professions like physicians, pharmacists, public notaries, which are regulated by other legal provisions.

More information on the following trade-pages:


Division for Trade Law: