“The Hungarian economy could never had moved onto a growth trajectory without the automotive industry, the sector has achieved a 25-.year success story in Hungary since the regime change, but we cannot only rely on the success achieved thus far”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said at an automotive industry conference in Budapest organised by the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA).

“Hungary would like to become an ideal location for research & development and would like to offer the most attractive and most favourable investment environment in Europe. This requires the most rapid possible linking of digitalisation and production and a transition from Made in Hungary to Invented in Hungary, meaning companies should not only think about investing in Hungary with relation to production and manufacturing, but also when it comes to research c development”, Mr. Szijjártó explained.

The Minister also said that the foundation stone of the Zalaegerszeg test track, where the first tests will be carried our in the first half of 2018, would be laid in May.

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Mr. Szijjártó pointed out that last year the automotive industry realised a total production volume of 7874 billion forints (EUR 25.2bn), which is an amazing record, and that the international competitiveness of the Hungarian automotive industry is proven by the fact that 92-2 percent of the vehicles manufactured here were distributed on export markets. The sector provided 30.1 percent of Hungary’s total processing industry production and employed over 154 thousand people at the end of 2016, he added.

The Hungarian Foreign Minister also pointed out that 15 of the world’s 20 largest first-tier automotive industry suppliers are present in Hungary.

“In the new era of global competition for investments, Hungary can only be successful in the field of electromobility and self-driven cars if it has a suitable tax and financial environment and possesses a suitable workforce and a digital environments that corresponds to the requirements of the age”, Mr. Szijjártó said, listing among the measured introduced by the Government to facilitate these the reduction of corporation tax to 9 percent, tax benefits for companies involved in research & development, reduced employer contributions, supplier and investment promotion programmes, the dual vocational training system and digital development programmes.

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Mr. Szijjártó recalled that 2016 was a record year for foreign trade, with exports reaching 93 billion euros and the foreign trade surplus exceeding 10 billion euros. The HIPA also helped to successfully negotiate more investments than ever before, with 71 new projects leading to a total investment of 1000 billion forints (EUR 3.2bn). “There is also a good chance of last year’s record being broken again this year, decisions on 18 new investment were made during the first quarter and 32 negotiations are in progress with relation to total investments of some 370 billion forints.

Director of the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency Róbert Ésik told reporters that the automotive industry is one of the flagship sectors of the Hungarian economy and 25 of the 71 new investments successfully negotiated last year were automotive industry projects that will be bringing some 2 billion euros in investments to Hungary within the upcoming years and are creating 7700 new jobs. He stressed that one of the most important factors with relation to the future of the sector in Hungary is whether the results of Industry 4-0-related technologies will be successfully utilised, and whether the role of Hungarian suppliers is successfully increased.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI)