Economic cooperation between Hungary and Vietnam could increase in several sectors: on Thursday, some eighty Hungarian and Vietnamese enterprises engaged in negotiations at an event in Budapest organised by the Hungarian National Trading House Cls. (HNTH), and on Friday the tow agreements are expected to be signed at the meeting of the Hungary-Vietnam Joint Economic Committee.

At the Hungary-Vietnam business forum on Thursday, CEO of NHTH Zsanett Oláh told reporters that the Forum is primarily being attended by enterprises that operate within the fields of agriculture, the food industry, the automotive industry, the environment industry, infocommunications, infrastructure development, energy and the health industry. She expressed her hope that the event would provide an opportunity for as many Hungarian companies as possible to appear on one of the most promising Southeast Asian export markets, adding that bilateral trade flow in goods had expanded promisingly in recent year, by some 10 million dollars between 2015 and 2016, for instance.

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The HNTH has been operating a local office in Vietnam since 2014, but will soon be opening another representation which will provide further impetus to strengthening bilateral economic relations. Amongst others, the Trading House’s offices help Hungarian enterprises expand their export opportunities by providing information, actively recommending Hungarian businesses and export partners, and brokering business opportunities.

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Parliamentary State Secretary László Szabó from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that Hungary has had diplomatic relations with Vietnams for 64 years, but these relations are only now becoming truly intensive. Of the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Vietnam is Hungary’s 4th most important export partner and 5th largest import partner. In 2016, bilateral trade flow increased by some 40 percent to 200.3 million dollars, with Hungarian exports increasing by 13.2 percent to 76.1 million dollars.

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The State Secretary indicated that several agreements would be signed at Friday’s session of the Hungary-Vietnam Joint Economic Committee, one between the two countries’ chambers of industry, as well as within the fields of food safety and agriculture sciences. “Hungary has already completed several projects in Vietnam, for instance aid credit cooperation was realised in 2008 and 2009 at a value of 35 million euros and 60 million euros, respectively, within the framework of which a waterworks project in Central Vietnam and a population census project were successfully completed, in addition to which the construction of an oncological hospital is also currently in progress. In 2017, representatives of the two countries concluded a framework agreement on the development of a 440 million euro framework agreement on financial cooperation”, he added.

With relation to the free trade negotiations between the EU and Vietnam that were launched in 2012, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade told the press: The legal review of the text of the agreement is currently taking place and is expected to finish in April 2017. The free trade agreement, which is expected to come into force in 2018, will encourage a Vietnamese business presence in EU countries with regard to several export products that are important to Vietnam, such as textiles, shoes, food products, etc., as well as certain services.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)