Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó called Hungary one of Europe’s most competitive investment environments on Friday in Debrecen.

At the foundation stone laying ceremony of NI Hungary Limited’s new building, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted: “Today, Hungary has the lowest taxes in Europe, the only single digit corporation tax and the lowest flat rate personal income tax, and the rate of economic growth is stable at over 4 percent, while unemployment has fallen to only 3.8 percent”.

The Minister said there was “cutthroat competition” these days for the major investment projects of large international companies. “A modern-day industrial revolution is underway”, he said, adding that: “In this new type of competition arguments must be put forward on an almost daily basis to ensure that investments are brought to Hungary”. “Hungary has stood its ground in this stiff competition”, Mr. Szijjártó underlined.

The Hungarian Foreign Minister welcomed the new investment on the part of National Instruments (NI) which will create 210 new workplaces for predominantly college graduates who speak two languages. “The Government is contributing a 2.55 billion forint non-returnable loan towards the investment project to construct the new electronics production plant”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

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He also told reporters that there are currently 1700 American companies operating in Hungary, providing jobs to over 100 thousand people.

“In recent years, as a result of the cooperation between the City of Debrecen and the Ministry’s investment promotion organisation, 24 investment projects worth a total of 140 billion forints (EUR ) have been brought to Debrecen, creating 3791 jobs”, the Minister listed.

According to Minister without Portfolio for the Development of Cities with County Rights Lajos Kósa, “the Hungarian economy is undergoing a fundamental change of structure”. “The number of enterprises that represent a high level of added value, digitalisation, jobs requiring highly trained employees, and efficiency are all improving at a promising rate”, he indicated, noting that regulations do not always succeed in keeping pace with these rapid changes.

He recalled that when NI Hungary Ltd. began operating in Debrecen in 2001, the local tax system was restructured and made more investor-friendly, a move which at the time also had to be defended at the Constitutional Court.

Mr. Kósa praised Hungarian foreign policy, which is concentrating on economic expansion, and voiced his firm belief that Hungary will reach 70 percent of the European Union’s average level of development by 2030 and fully catch up by 2050.

According to Mayor of Debrecen László Papp (Fides-KDNP), “During its 17-year presence in the city, Nationals Instruments has become a symbol of a modern, innovative and dynamically developing Debrecen”.

He recalled that when NI began operating in Debrecen, the local economy and traditional sectors of industry such as agriculture and the processing industry were in an extremely difficult position, and it as the appearance of the American company that drew the attention of city leaders to the great opportunities inherent in the knowledge-based economy given the city’s university traditions.

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“NI laid the economic foundation for 21st century modern Debrecen by constructing the first overseas production plant in the city in 2001”, the Mayor indicated, adding that: “Thanks to job-creating investments, the related government funding and the Economic Development and Innovation Operational Programme (GINOP) funding aimed at reinforcing the SME sector, 230 billion forints (EUR 738 million) of working capital has flowed and is continuing to flow into the city between 2014 and 2018, creating 4700 new jobs as a result”.

President and CEO of National Instruments Corporation Alex Davern highlighted: “Hungary regards the promotion of innovation in Hungary as an important mission, and according in harmony with the Hungarian Government’s strategic goals and while taking into account the favourable investment environment offered by Hungary, the company decided to make further investments in Debrecen”.

He reminded the press that in 2016 NI had announced its intention to realise a 5.5 billion forint development project that would create 210 high added value workplaces and facilitate the capacity expansion of NI’s global services centre. One of the important elements in the project is the establishment of the Debrecen subsidiary’s fourth building.

The building will create outstanding quality workplaces for 250 people, and is expected to be officially opened at the end of 2019. The recruitment of employees for the 210 new high added value workplaces is in progress, and thanks to the development project 180 new employees have already been hired by NI Hungary Limited. The new employees will be working in engineering, IT research c development and other high added value positions within the fields of human resources, sales and services, and almost 95 percent of them have higher education diplomas and speak English and another foreign language, it was stated at the official foundation stone laying ceremony.

Texas-based National Instruments employs about 1500 people in Hungary, and the corporation’s Debrecen subsidiary is the third largest employer in Hajdú-Bihar County. Thanks to the development projects realised over the past 17 years, a major proportion of the company’s total hardware production occurs in Debrecen, and the vast majority of its high added value products are exported.

The corporation’s Debrecen subsidiary also operates global and regional service centres including an IT development division, legal and accounting divisions, and a unit that is involved in processing customer orders. Production is supported by trained engineers, and through the activities of the research & development engineering unit, the Debrecen subsidiary has grown to become one of the region’s most important knowledge-bases.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)