“Several encouraging agreements have already been concluded at the first session of the Hungarian-Iranian Joint Economic Committee”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said at a press conference following the meeting on Tuesday.

Eximbank has established an 85 million euro credit line to facilitate cooperation between Hungarian and Iranian businesses, and to finance export-import transactions and the founding of joint ventures.

“Now that the European Union has authorised negotiations, we can immediately begin talks on an investment protection agreement, Eximbank will begin developing direct, inter-bank cooperation and we also agreed that the Iranian import licencing authority will be paying special attention to Hungarian products and technologies”, the Minister told the press.

According to Mr. Szijjártó, the economic potential between Hungary and Iran is indicated by the fact that annual trade flow between the two countries used to be some 350 million dollars, but fell back to roughly a tenth of that during the period of sanctions and currently stands at some 30 million dollars.

“An agreement was also concluded on the fact that Ikarus Global Cls. will be shipping hundreds of buses to Tehran, which will also be financed by Hungary’s Eximbank. There are advanced negotiations underway with the municipalities of two large Hungarian cities on enabling Hungarian companies to modernise their waste management systems and water management technologies”, the Minister announced. “Since Iran relies heavily on food imports, the road is also open to Hungarian food industry technologies”, Mr. Szijjártó added.

“The two countries will also be tightening their cooperation on energy, creating the opportunity for Hungarian enterprises to also become involved in the development of Iran’s energy infrastructure. “The fact that Iran would like to appear on the European energy market is in harmony with Hungary’s interests. Experience within the field with relation to Iran, which has the world’s second most significant natural gas reserves and fourth largest oil reserves, are positive; last year, Hungarian oil company MOL purchased 140 thousand tons of crude oil from the country”, the Hungarian Foreign Minister highlighted. Mr. Szijjártó also spoke about Hungarian-Iranian cooperation in science and education, explaining that some 1200 Iranian students are currently studying in Hungary, with Hungary providing scholarships for 100 young Iranians, while in June Hungary will begin training 150 Iranian air traffic controllers.

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Mr. Ali Tayebnia welcomed the agreements and said he thought the joint economic committee had set important guidelines during its very first meeting. Mr. Tayebnia stressed that Hungary is at the heart of Europe and accordingly represents a gateway to the countries of the European Union.

Following the meeting, Mr. Tayebnia and Mr. Szijjártó signed a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of human Capacities and Iran’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, as well as an action plan of tourism cooperation between the Ministry of National Development and the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organisation (ICHHTO).

Hungarian national trading House Cls. is organising a Hungarian-Iranian business forum on Tuesday evening with the participation of the two Ministers, where some one hundred Hungarian enterprises will receive detailed information on the Iranian market and Iranian business opportunities.

(MTI/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)