Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said open global trade and free trade are in Hungary’s interests at a conference on Tuesday in Budapest.

At the Inspiring Hungary conference organised by the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA), the Minister pointed out that the funding system for foreign investments will be changing from 1 October, and 50% of funding will be available in cash in 12 of the country’s counties, 25 percent in 3 counties and 15 percent in the remaining three.

“Job creation is no longer a prerequisite for being awarded funding, and instead eligibility may now also be gained through creating new technology. The goal is no longer job creation, but to expand technological development and research & development”, he emphasised. “The level of taxes on work must be continuously decreased in the interests of improved competitiveness and increasing wages”, he added.

Mr. Szijjártó said that in 2010 Hungary was standing on the edge of a precipice, with unemployment at 12.5 percent and sovereign debt at 85 percent. This was when the government decided to introduce a new economic policy, the key element of which is a uniform rate of personal income tax and a single digit corporation tax. The various funding systems were restructured, and in view of the country’s open economy he recommended to the Prime Minister that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs be merged with the foreign trade administration, the Minister explained. “Since then, foreign trade flow has set a new record every single year, as has the value of foreign investment”, he emphasised.

“Trade between the Visegrád Group (V4) and Germany has overtaken German-French trade flow”, he said, indicating the region’s increasing importance.

“Last year, more people came back to Hungary that left the country; it is worth coming home for attractive salaries, and net wages have increased significantly during the past nine years, by an average over 70 percent”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

“Last year, 98 major investments arrived in Hungary with a total value of 4.3 billion euros, and 17 thousand new workplaces were created. The figures are even better so far this year, with a total of 2.4 billion euros in investment arriving during the first half of 2019”, he pointed out, adding that during the first two quarters Korean companies realised the most investment in Hungary for the first time, not German enterprises.

The Minister called the automotive industry the backbone of the Hungarian economy, with an output that provides 29.9 percent of total industrial performance. “There are 175 thousand people working in the sector, and its competitiveness is indicated by the fact that 90 percent of the sector’s production goes to export”, the Minister explained.

Chairman of the supervisory board of Knorr-Bremse AG Klaus Mangold called Hungary’s achievements a success story, adding: “The introduction of new technologies has also been occurred at an amazing rate during the past 5-10 years”.