Economic cooperation between Hungary and the United States is a real success story within our bilateral relations and the Hungarian Government is doing everything in its power to provide the most attractive investment environment in Europe – Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó announced to leaders of large U.S. companies on Tuesday in Washington.

The Minister stated following meetings with the leaders of General Motors (GM) – the automotive industry giant which operates its most state-of-the-art engine plant in Hungary through its subsidiary Opel – had confirmed that they were extremely pleased with the business environment in Hungary.

DownloadPhoto: Tamás Szémann

Péter Szijjártó said to his negotiating partners that the European car market had taken a positive turn; indeed, the output of Hungary’s automotive sector expanded by 29 % during the first seven months of this year. “In other words, the automotive industry is still the flagship of Hungarian industry and Hungary continues to be one Europe’s automotive strongholds – the minister emphasised. Mr. Szijjártó reassured the GM leaders that the Hungarian Government would carry on adopting measures to improve operational conditions for the company in Hungary.

The Minister also referred to a variety of on-going infrastructure development and road construction projects which were launched upon the request of GM’s European leaders to significantly improve road accessibility of Szentgotthárd, thus convincing the car manufacturer to further invest in the town. The minister then talked about the launching of trainings for engineers in Szombathely to ensure an adequate supply of highly qualified workforce for industrial companies operating in region, including Opel.

Péter Szijjártó also held a discussion with GE leaders. With its 13,500-strong workforce General Electric is Hungary's biggest employer. The parties discussed every sector in Hungary where GE is engaged: the company will continue to work in close cooperation with the National Investment Agency in terms of the on-going development of its service centre and the operation of its manufacturing divisions in Hungary.

Péter Szijjártó presented the Middle Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit to GE’s Senior Vice President Skip Warner for his invaluable contribution to turning GE into Hungary's largest employer and to developing bilateral economic cooperation between the two countries.

DownloadPhoto: Tamás Szémann

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade informed leaders of NBC Universal and Comcast on changes introduced by the Hungarian Government to further develop the Hungarian film industry. He pointed out that members of the film industry – who clearly appear to be interested in Hungary – can now expect to find even more favourable conditions here.

The Minister gave a brief report to 15 company managers at a business breakfast with the “Business Council for International Understanding” (BCIU), including the leaders of Hungary’s strategic partners, such as Coca-Cola, Alcoa, IBM, Oracle and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. The minister talked about how economic cooperation between Hungary and the US has become a real success story within bilateral relations, as Hungary’s foreign trade turnover increased by 23% last year, and Hungary's exports to the U.S. expanded by 41% during the first seven months of this year.

Mr. Szijjártó added that the total value of U.S. investments in Hungary had exceeded USD 9 million, employing more than 83,000 people. “The Hungarian government was planning to take further measures to make sure that Hungary offers one of the most competitive and attractive investment environments in Europe. One of our key objectives is to make sure that Hungary has the lowest energy prices for industrial production” - Péter Szijjártó said.

The minister also informed the leaders of the companies Owens-Illinois and Delphi about ways the Government could contribute to the expansion of their operations in Hungary. Péter Szijjártó also met with former NATO ambassador Kurt Walker, now leader of the McCain Institute.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)