“The Hungarian Government’s Eastern Opening strategy is gaining in importance, and is not only aimed at acquiring export markets, but also at attracting capital”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said at the annual general meeting of the Hungarian Foreign Affairs Association.

“The increase in Chinese investments throughout Europe is an unstoppable process, and the goal of the Hungarian Government is to bring the largest possible amount of Chinese capital destined for Europe to Hungary”, he highlighted.

The Minister said it was a success that the most Chinese investments in Central Europe, totalling 4.1 billion euros, had been made in Hungary. Hungarian enterprises export the most to China from the region, in addition to which Hungarian companies are in possession of the most licences for exporting food to China and Hungary also enjoys the closest financial cooperation with China.

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Mr. Szijjártó recalled that during the Hungarian Prime Minister’s recent visit to China it had been agreed that Hungary’s cooperation with China would be increased to the level of comprehensive strategic partnership, the highest category in China.

At the meeting, the Minister also spoke about the fact that the newly developing world order is continuously changing the environment; new political and economic strategies and new technologies are also changing the criteria for competitiveness and success.

“The old model for globalisation, which was characterised by a flow of capital from West to East, has lost steam, and in the new model the background for providing economic impetus is in the East. Much of the word’s investable capital has accumulated in the East, in Asia, and strong far-eastern companies are gaining an increasing share of the market worldwide”, he explained.

As an example, the Minister cited the major company acquisitions realised by Chinese corporations throughout the world, and the fact that the 5 largest Chinese enterprises operating in Hungary also came about through the acquisition of existing companies.

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Mr. Szijjártó stressed that in the new globalisation model the enforcement of national interests and patriotic economies are coming to the fore, and one of the tasks of Hungarian foreign policy is to represents the interests of the Hungarian national economy.

The Hungarian Minister of Foreign Trade also spoke about the fact that last year the United States became Hungary’s number one export market outside the European Union, and that American enterprises are now the second most important investors in Hungary following Germany.

“It is in Hungary’s interests for American companies to continue to view Hungary as an attractive investment destination” the Minister highlighted, explaining that the 1700 American enterprises currently operating in Hungary have invested a total of 9 billion dollars and employ 100 thousand Hungarians.

Mr. Szijjártó pointed out that Hungary is committed to helping the United States in the fight against terrorism.

He expressed his hope that Hungarian Parliament would authorise a boost in Hungary’s efforts to combat the Islamic State and enable an increase in the number of Hungarian troops stationed in Iraq from 150 to 200.

In his speech, the Minister also spoke about the fact that illegal immigration represents a risk to the economy, in addition to which it is endangering the Schengen Area, which is built on the consensus that the external border must be protected to assure free movement within the continent’s interior.

“Brexit will also determine the Hungarian foreign economy in future”, pointed out the Minister, according to whom Great Britain’s exit from the European Union represents not only a significant political loss, but also a major economic loss. “During exit negotiations European institutions must protect the rights of EU citizens working and studying in Great Britain, and must conclude the most wide-ranging possible trade, economic and investment agreement”, he stressed.

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Mr. Szijjártó spoke about the fact that this year the Hungarian Government had introduced an intensive budget funding category for technology to its investment promotion system, in addition to which it has launched a supplier development programme for Hungarian SMEs and is expanding Eximbank’s loan activities aimed at facilitating the success of SMEs on export markets.

According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the foreign trade figures for the first three months of the year indicate that the Hungarian foreign economy will once again break all previous records this year, after having already done so last year and the year before.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI)