Businesses act when the major powers are at loggerheads

How a small step over the border guaranteed access to a huge US market

Trade disputes between the USA and the EU aren't new to the current US government. At the turn of the millennium, US authorities piled dramatic punitive tariffs on more and more EU products, including fruit concentrate. Those obviously affected Rauch too, although to a somewhat lesser degree. Many US customers who had taken deliveries in the 1980s had since switched to cheap concentrate from China.

Red Bull was much more critical of this transatlantic conflict. A close partner of Rauch, the company was just about to spread its wings in America. A penalty tariff spelled doom. But what could be done about it? At the time there was no way for Rauch to bottle in the USA itself.

So Rauch came up with the idea of relocating the Nüzider bottle plant to a ‘neutral island’ in the middle of the EU ocean: Only a few kilometres west - in Switzerland. A new industry park was established at the time in Widnau, directly beyond the Rhine According to Roman Rauch, the estate agents managing the property were “really delighted to receive our enquiry”.

After the community of Widnau had agreed to the development of a new, neighbourhood-friendly access road, construction of the new plant began in autumn 2004 on the 60,000 square metre area of land. It took only a year for the plant’s 80 employees to commence operations on the first two can lines in the new halls.  

The Rauch plant in Widnau, Switzerland. Just over the border but outside of the EU and therefore neutral in any customs disputes.